Korean Air works with Boeing subsidiary to develop vertical take-off and landing UAV

By Lim Chang-won Posted : October 22, 2021, 16:42 Updated : November 12, 2021, 10:09

[Courtesy of Korean Air]

SEOUL -- South Korea's top flag carrier Korean Air joined hands with Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, to cooperate in developing a lightweight and modularized tactical vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle. Insitu manufactures unmanned aircraft systems and develops Scan Eagle, a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle used operated by the U.S. Department of Defense for reconnaissance.

Under a memorandum of understanding on October 21, Korean Air (KAL) said it would combine its expertise in UAV development and production with Insitu's UAV technologies including high-performance mission equipment, system optimization and manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operations that combine the strengths of each platform to increase situational awareness, allowing troops to conduct operations that include combat support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

Korean Air has a lineup of UAVs including five-ton high-performing strategic UAVs, tiltrotor UAVs, next-generation stealth UAVs, multipurpose unmanned helicopters and hybrid drones. The company also develops an advanced "lift & cruise" UAV called "KUS-VS" that takes advantage of independent thrusters for cruise and lift to enable vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and high cruising speeds.

The South Korean company said it would use its knowledge and proficiency in air traffic management and the transportation service industry to expedite advancements in the future of urban air mobility (UAM), which is a future ecosystem involving flying passenger vehicles in city areas. Korean Air is a member of a public-private consultative body called "Urban Air Mobility Team Korea" which aims to commercialize drone taxis in 2025.

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