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Milkor highlights its partnership with German group regarding sea surveillance UAV

14th June 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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South African defence company Milkor on Thursday reaffirmed its partnership with German group Aerodata, to develop a maritime surveillance version of the Milkor 380 uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV). This partnership was first announced at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2024, last week.

The Milkor 380 is a medium altitude long endurance UAV. The company is currently assembling six of the aircraft, which will all be completed by the end of this year. Deliveries of “several” of the UAVs will, the company reports, take place over the next 12 months, to undisclosed customers. The new maritime version has the designation AeroForce 380, and is basically a combination of the Milkor 380 UAV with Aerodata systems and sensors.

“The Milkor 380 has garnered substantial interest from multiple entities looking to enhance their aerial surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” highlighted Milkor business development in Europe head Harry Cassidy. “With the addition of Aerodata’s experience in maritime surveillance sensors, the development of the AeroForce 380 will set a new standard in global maritime [surveillance] by combining state-of-the-art unmanned technologies with proven maritime surveillance sensors. The collaboration is one of the key explorations Milkor is undertaking to meet the growing demand for sophisticated UAV solutions and underscores Milkor’s role as a premier partner in the international defence sector.”

“With a maximum take-off weight of 1 300 kg and the capability to carry mission-specific payloads, the AeroForce 380 has the potential to revolutionise surveillance aircraft fleets worldwide,” affirmed Aerodata. “It’s worth noting that Aerodata’s contribution includes state-of-the-art mission system technology, complemented by maritime surveillance sensors from its subsidiary, Optimare Systems GmbH. This integrated approach guarantees optimal performance and support, ensuring AeroForce 380 remains at the forefront of maritime surveillance technology.”

The AeroForce 380 has a maximum service altitude of 30 000 feet (9 144 m), but the basic design has been modified to allow effective sustained operation at altitudes below 10 000 feet (3 048 m), because it is these lower altitudes that are best suited to maritime surveillance missions. The UAV has an endurance of up to 35 hours. It has a payload of 250 kg and it can carry a range of sensors, including gimbal-mounted electro-optical and infrared imagers, side-looking airborne radar, and ship Automatic Identification System receivers.   

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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