The TR-60 represents another global entry into the rotary-wing world of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs). The vehicle is more precisely a tilt-rotor, neither true fixed-wing aircraft nor helicopter, and being designed for a plethora of military and civilian roles. Development is being handled by Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) along with support from Korean Air. It was debuted at DX Korea in 2016 and is based on the Institute's "smart" TR-100 UAV tilt-rotor with program origins in 2002.
Autonomy is the name of the game with the TR-60 so take-off, landing, hover and travel actions can all be accomplished automatically. Furthermore, the tilt-rotor functionality of this UAS allows it to operate from confined spaces and from the decks of moving warships -all this while retaining the performance capabilities of a comparable fixed-wing UAS.
The air vehicle is largely arranged as a conventional aircraft relying on a centralized, rounded fuselage, wing mainplanes and a T-style tail unit. The horizontal planes of the tail unit are seated high atop the vertical tail fin. The wing mainplanes are mid-mounted at the fuselage sides and each contains a swiveling engine nacelle driving a three-bladed propeller unit. An optics/sensor blister is fitted to the fuselage's "chin" position and the undercarriage has been shown in several arrangements - a three-legged wheeled version, a four-legged wheeled version (main legs inline at centerline with outboard supporting legs) and a helicopter-type skid arrangement. A payload of about 30 kilograms is listed.
Dimensions of the aircraft include an overall length of 3 meters and a wingspan of 5 meters. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is 210 kilograms.
Power to the twin propeller configuration is by way of a 55 horsepower unit with drive shafts connecting the engines through the wing mainplanes. This provides the UAS with a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour reaching altitudes of 144,500 meters. Operational range (radius) is limited to 200 kilometers.
The TR-100 was a forerunner to the TR-60, developed over the period of ten years, and provided the framework for the new model. It promoted a maximum speed of 500 kmh, a payload capability up to 90 kilograms and an MTOW of 995 kilograms. With its introduction, the TR-100 marked South Korea as the second country in the world to produce a viable tilt-rotor UAS design - following the United States.
Propose roles for the TR-60 include Search and Rescue (SAR), humanitarian support, general reconnaissance, transport of supplies and goods over distance, communications relay and surviellance.
July 2017 - On July 7th, 2017, the TR-60 UAS successfully demonstrated an automated take-off and landing from a moving ship.