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 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.
(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.
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-FC production variant)
1 x Non-afterburning turbofan engine of unknown make, model, and thrust output.
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