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Korean Air KUS-FS

ISR MALE UAV / Drone [ 2028 ]

Korean Air is developing its KUS-FS drone in the hopes that there is a good portion of the reconnaissance-minded MALE UAV market waiting for it.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/10/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

To satisfy a standing Republic of Korean Air Force requirement, Korean Air is working on an unmanned reconnaissance drone through the KUS-FC technology demonstrator project. Its model was initially displayed to the public in 2011 and has evolved since through at a slow pace - the service intending to have something airborne before a self-imposed 2030 target deadline. Korean Air is currently looking to seek the necessary funding required to bring a flyable technology demonstrator about. A more evolved, combat-capable form with an internal weapons bay is also being planned by the company.

The KUS-FC (now KUS-FS) was earlier known by the project name of "KUS-X" when the South Korea air service was deeply interested in an indigenous combat-capable UAV. For simplicity's sake, the service has now centered its focus on a traditional Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) drone.

In its current form, the KUS-FC utilizes a blended "wing-body" tailless planform common to military UAVs today. This results in a triangular-shaped aircraft with elegant contours and swept-back wing mainplanes while also lacking traditional vertical surfaces. The design is most likely to be powered by a single turbofan engine which, at this stage, remains of unknown make, model, and thrust output power. The engine will be buried in the body of the design and aspirated through a nose-mounted intake and exhausted through a shielded port at the extreme rear of the fuselage. A retractable tricycle undercarriage would make up the ground-running gear of the aircraft. Construction will be primarily of carbon-fiber-plastic skinning over an aluminum framework. At present, the design showcases a length of 10 meters with a wingspan measuring 16 meters.

While engine makeup is unknown at this time (2020), Korean industry is working on possible in-house solutions. The American non-afterburning Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220U is also a proven candidate that may come under consideration to expedite the project. Endurance is estimated for the six hour range giving the KUS-FC relatively good "legs" in the air.

A full-scale demonstrator is currently (2020) planned if funding is secured from the South Korean government.©MilitaryFactory.com
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August 2022 - The KUS-FS nears its production stage according to KAL-ASD.



Service Year

South Korea national flag graphic
South Korea

Program in Progress.

Korean Air / KAL-ASD - South Korea
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of South Korea South Korea (planned)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Unmanned Capability
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.

32.8 ft
(10.00 m)
52.5 ft
(16.00 m)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Korean Air KUS-FS production variant)
Installed: 1 x Non-afterburning turbofan engine of unknown make, model, and thrust output.
Max Speed
575 mph
(925 kph | 499 kts)
32,005 ft
(9,755 m | 6 mi)
1,988 mi
(3,200 km | 5,926 nm)

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

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Korean Air KUS-FS production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Initially none though the South Korean Air Force will eventually introduce a combat-capable UAV form.

Supported Types

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
KUS-FS - Base Project Designation.
KUS-FC - Original project designation of 2020.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Korean Air KUS-FS
Image from KAL-ASD press release; showcased with a more traditional UAV form.


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