Singapore-based aerospace company Kelley Aerospace has officially launched its supersonic unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) concept, and has reportedly secured over 100 orders from undisclosed customers.
The arrow is said to be the “world’s first supersonic UAV that pushes the boundary with state-of-the-art swarm and autonomous aerial flight logic — making it a formidable UAV. The Arrow is designed to complement manned aircraft and be a force multiplier in the aerial battlefield”
The aircraft features a monocoque (literally single-shell) built from carbon fiber. This makes it lightweight enough to fly more than 2,600 Nm (4,800 km) with a maximum weight of 37,038 lbs (16,800 kg). It won’t cost more than $16 million, but the base version can eventually drop to $9 million.
“It is designed for a reduced radar cross-section and infra-red signature. The carbon fiber and monocoque design endows the Arrow with outstanding strength and stiffness,” said the company in a statement.
Indeed, the Arrow has been specifically developed to fit various scenarios and be ready for multiple types of operations. For example, it can either be controlled by someone from the ground or just take off autonomously. Furthermore, it can be part of a fleet of aircraft controlled by one manned airplane or just fly solo to conduct an operation from one end to another.
Back in December, Kelley said it was looking to create no less than 250 new jobs specifically for the production of this new aircraft, explaining that its five-year goal is to get some 500 pilots ready to control its combat drones as part of a general aviation pilot academy.
No specifics have been provided on the customers who pre-ordered the supersonic drones. According to the cited source, the company is already testing two more prototypes in the United States and Sweden
Sources: Auto Evolution; Website
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