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Tilt-Rotor Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) [ 2018 ]

The intriguing South Korean-originated KARI TR-60 managed a take-off and landing from the deck of a moving ship in July of 2017.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/11/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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July 2017 - On July 7th, 2017, the TR-60 UAS successfully demonstrated an automated take-off and landing from a moving ship.


Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) / Korean Air - South Korea
South Korea (possible)
Operators National flag of South Korea
Service Year
South Korea
National Origin
Project Status

Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.

9.8 ft
(3.00 meters)
16.4 ft
(5.00 meters)
463 lb
(210 kilograms)
Maximum Take-Off Weight

1 x Engine developing 55 horsepower and driving a pair of three-bladed tilting engine nacelles.
155 mph
(250 kph | 135 knots)
Max Speed
14,764 ft
(4,500 m | 3 miles)
124 miles
(200 km | 108 nm)

MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

None. Mission fit to consist of optics and sensors as well as a 30 kilogram payload.

TR-60 - Base Series Designation.
TR-100 - Dimensionally larger version with 995kg MTOW, 90kg payload capability and 500 kph maximum speed; Overall length of 5 meters.

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Image of the KARI TR-60
Image from official KARI released photography.
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Image of the KARI TR-60
Image from official KARI released photography.
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Image of the KARI TR-60
Image from official KARI released photography.

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