Singapore Air Show

Skyblade IV UAV is newest and best

 - February 17, 2008, 10:36 PM

ST Aerospace’s latest UAV design–the Skyblade IV–highlights a prominent display by ST Engineering and its constituent companies that greets visitors to the show as they enter the exhibit hall here at the Changi Exhibition Centre. 

Due to fly for the first time next year, the Skyblade IV has nearly reached a final configuration only a year after engineers starting working on the design. It features a three-meter wingspan and 50-kilogram maximum takeoff weight. It can fly at up to 15,000 feet and out to a range of 100 km. Endurance is between six and 12 hours. The Skyblade IV will be gasoline-powered, and various powerplants in the 110-cc, 10- to 14-hp class are under evaluation.

The maximum payload weight of 12 kilograms allows Skyblade IV to carry a sizable electro-optical turret, and again various systems are under evaluation, including several from Israeli companies. It will launch via a bungee catapult/rail system, with recovery by parachute. Skyblade IV can be controlled using ST Aerospace’s Next Generation Control Station, also on display on the company’s stand (No. G01).

The company developed the Skyblade series in conjunction with Singapore’s Defence Science Organization. The program has resulted in one UAV type already placed in service with the Singaporean army. The vehicle, the hand-launched Skyblade II, began operations early last year.

The Skyblade II’s immediate successor–the Skyblade III–also sits on display here. Endurance is more than an hour and it can operate up to eight kilometers away from the launch site. It is a man-portable system, requiring two troops to carry the entire system, including the ground control station. A complete system, including several air vehicles, is scheduled for delivery to the Singapore armed forces by 2009.