Israeli, South Korean Firms Launch Joint Venture to Develop Vertical Takeoff Drones

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and South Korea’s Hankuk Carbon have announced the launch of a joint venture to produce unmanned drones, capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The announcement of the joint venture, which will be called Korea Aviation Technologies(KAT), was made at the International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition 2017, held last week in Seoul. KAT is planning to develop drones for the civilian and military markets.

“IAI is excited about the establishment of the joint company,” IAI executive vice president and general manager of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group, Shaul Shahar said in a statement. “Hankuk Carbon brings to the venture strong manufacturing capabilities and know-how. Together with IAI’s UAVs and aircraft-design capabilities, the new company will be able to meet Korean military and civilian VTOL requirements.”

The two companies have been working on developing VTOL drones for the past few years and last year they decided to start a joint venture.

KAT plans to produce next-generation drones that can handle loads ranging from 300 to 450 kilograms (660 to 990 pounds).

“Both companies have established a firm relationship within a short period of time, and the result will be passed on to the HC-IAI joint venture,” Moon-Soo Cho, CEO of Hankuk Carbon, said. “The UAV system with innovative hybrid propulsion system produced under KAT’s name will set up a new standard of the UAV industry. Also, Hankuk Carbon’s composite material and aircraft components business will create a synergistic effect with KAT.”

Hankuk Carbon produced the FE-Panther, a VTOL drone, with a range of 130 kilometers (81 miles) and capable of handing a payload of 6 kilograms (13.2 pounds). In its first flight, the FE-Panther was damaged during landing and Hankuk Carbon subsequently redesigned it.

[Photo: 이다인 / YouTube]