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Korean Air Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV)

South Korea (2020)
Picture of Korean Air Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV) Multrirole Drone Aircraft

The indigenous Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle is currently under development for the military forces of South Korea.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Korean Air Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV) Multrirole Drone Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Development of military capabilities for the nation of South Korea is an ongoing priority with potential enemies seen in both North Korea and China. As such, the country has unveiled a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the form of the Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV) by Korean Air. The project saw a technology demonstrator flown back in 2012 and full-scale development begin in 2013. Development delays have, however, pushed the arrival of this new product into operational service by several years - perhaps 2019 or 2020.

The MUAV sees a conventional design arrangement used: the fuselage, housing pertinent mission and operational equipment, is slender and rounded with a bulbous nose section. At the aft-end of the structure is the engine installation noted by the dorsal intake opening. The engine drives a multi-bladed propeller unit at rear in "pusher" configuration (as in the classic General Atomics "Predator" line). The wing mainplanes are straight in their general shape (with clipped tips) and situated at midships while being low-mounted along the fuselage sides. The tailplanes consist of a pair of outward-cranked vertical surfaces with a sole, downward reaching vertical plane. Along the underside of the fuselage are three blister-type protrusions holding optical sets and sensors - the chin position mounts a ball turret-type unit and ahead of the mainplanes is an oblong fairing, aft of this is a shorter oblong protrusion. The wheeled undercarriage is retractable and consists of a nose leg and a pair of main landing gear legs.

Structurally, what is known of the MUAV is an overall wingspan of 82 feet and a length of 43 feet, making it slightly larger than the General Atomics MQ-9 "Reaper" class UCAV (detailed elsewhere on this site). Endurance is estimated to be around twenty-four hours and a service ceiling of up to 39,000 feet is being reported. Internally, the MUAV is set to carry a Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) in the midships fairing. The chin-mounted turret will manage the Electro-Optical (EO) / InfraRed (IR) camera set.

Due to the presence of four underwing pylons (two per wing underside), the air vehicle has a suspected Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) capability meaning that it has the inherent potential to carry and release guided air-to-surface missiles or precision-guided drop bombs. Up to six of either would be fitted across the four hardpoints - perhaps two on each inboard station and single missiles/bombs on each outboard station.

Sources state that two distinct versions of the MUAV will be made for the South Korean military - one whose mission revolves strictly around Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) and the other will full combat capability. The type could therefore be used to support ongoing ground troop actions by scanning and tracking potential threats and enemy movement. Armed forms will have the ability to attack designated targets. Still more is the potential for the MUAV to be used in humanitarian-minded relief efforts and in border control operations. Of note is that the Republic of Korea Air Force is set to also receive the proven Northrop Grumman RQ-4 "Global Hawks" (Block 30) ISR drones in the near future and will most likely pair the American design with their new indigenous MUAV family.

Any available statistics for the Korean Air Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV) Multrirole Drone Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Origin: South Korea
Year: 2020
Type: Multrirole Drone Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Korean Air - South Korea
Production: 1
Status: In-Development
Global Operators:
South Korea (probable)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Korean Air Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
42.65 ft


Meters
13 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
82.02 ft


Meters
25 m


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
9,039 lb


Kilograms
4,100 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Conventional engine driving a three-bladed propeller in pusher configuration.

Performance
CEILING


Feet
39,009 ft


Meters
11,890 m


Miles
7.39 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

Typically sensors and camera fits but speculation is that a combat capability is being worked in from the start. Presumed munitions would be air-to-surface missiles as well as precision-guided drop bombers.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Mid-altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV) - Base Series Name.