Warplanes: Indonesia Develops UAVs

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October 28, 2012: Indonesia is developing its own UAVs. It recently invited the media to a test flight of its Wulung UAV. This is a 120 kg (264 pound) aircraft with a 6.36 meter (19.7 foot) wingspan, a cruising speed of 111 kilometers an hour and an endurance of four hours. The engine is very noisy and currently Wulung can only operate 73 kilometers from its ground controller. All that can be improved, because very similar UAVs in other nations have done just that.

For example, there have been several commercial firms developing UAVs in Pakistan. One of these UAVs (Eagle Eye) was very similar to Wulung (similar shape, weight and performance.) The Pakistani military took this design and developed it further as the Uqab II. Last year the Pakistan Navy formed its first Uqab II UAV squadron. The Uqab II is a 190 kg (418 pound) aircraft with a 20 kg (44 pound) payload of sensors. Endurance is 4-5 hours and top speed is 150 kilometers an hour. Max altitude is 4,900 meters (15,000 feet). The flight control software allows the Uqab II to perform fully robotic missions. The UAV can take off and land automatically, and use GPS to fly to up to a thousand waypoints. Flight patterns can be changed while the aircraft is in the air. Operators can control Uqab IIs up to 150 kilometers away. Normally carried is a full color, stabilized camera that transmits back live video to the operator. The UAV is 4.15 meters (12.9 feet) long and has a 5.76 meter (17.9 foot) wingspan. The Uqab II is used for coastal patrol.

The Uqad is similar to the American RQ-7B Shadow 200, which is most widely used by the U.S. Army, plus the U.S. Marine Corps and several foreign nations. Each 159 kg (350 pound) Shadow costs $500,000, and can stay in the air 5.5 hours per sortie. A day camera and night vision camera is carried on each aircraft. Able to fly as high as 4,900 meters (15,000 feet), the Shadow can thus go into hostile territory and stay high enough (over 3,200 meters/ 10,000 feet) to be safe from hostile rifle and machine-gun fire. The Shadow UAV can carry 25.5 kg (56 pounds) of equipment, is 3.5 meters (11 feet) long and has a wingspan of 4.1 meters (12.75 feet). The Shadow has a range of about 50 kilometers from the operator. The Shadow can land and take off automatically, and use GPS to fly a preprogrammed route. The Shadow 200 entered service in 2003.

 


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