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5 October 2018

MILKOR MA 380 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)

MA 380 is part of a family of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) designed and manufactured by Milkor Aerospace.
Milkor MA 380 is an unmanned aerial system (UAS) developed by South African firm Milkor Aerospace. Credit: Milkor.
The drone was displayed at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 held in September 2018. Credit: Milkor.
The UAS has a larger wingspan of 12m. Credit: Milkor.

MA 380 is part of the new family of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) designed and manufactured by Milkor Aerospace, a defence solutions provider based in South Africa.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was unveiled at the Defense Services Asia Exhibition and Conference (DSA) 2018 held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in April 2018.

The MA 380 UAS was also showcased with the MILKOR MN Centurion Interceptor at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 exhibition held at Air Force Base Waterkloof near Centurion, South Africa.

The unmanned aircraft is designed to perform long-endurance missions, such as maritime patrol, search-and-rescue (SAR), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

It can also be used for aerial photography and detection of illegal maritime activities, such as fishing and piracy.

MILKOR MA 380 UAS design and features

Milkor MA 380 features a fixed-wing monoplane design integrating low-wing configuration. Its larger wings offer a span of 12m, while the nose section houses payloads. The extended fuselage features a T-tail wing assembly.

The wings feature dedicated hard-points beneath them, which enable the operators to equip the UAV with the required ammunition and carry additional payloads. The low-drag design enhances the low-wing loading capability of the UAV.

The drone is fitted with a tri-cycle-type landing gear, which retracts into the airframe after take-off. The landing gear ensures safe landing and gives the much-needed reliability and performance efficiency for the UAS.

The maximum take-off weight of the UAV is 380kg and the maximum altitude is 1,8000ft, while the cruise altitude is 14,000ft.

Payloads and communication systems on board MILKOR MA 380

The payloads on board MA 380 include synthetic aperture radar (SAR), Epsilon electro-optical and infrared sensors, and Hensoldt Argos observation and reconnaissance systems.

The optronic equipment is integrated into the gyro-stabilised gimbal located under the nose section. The UAV sends real-time information, images and high-definition videos captured by the sensors to a ground control station.

The MA 380 UAS is also offered with a dedicated payload bay to house payloads such as electronic intelligence (ELINT), signal intelligence (SIGINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) systems.

The communication systems installed on board the drone include a dual redundant line of sight communication (LOSCom) and non-redundant non-LOS satellite communication (SatCom) systems.

Engine and performance

The UAV is powered by a turboprop or piston engine, which is fuelled by 110 LL Avgas, 93 UL Mogas or Jet A1 fuels.

The power plant enables it to fly at a maximum speed of 220km/h and cruise speed of approximately 150km/h.

The maximum payload-carrying capacity of the aircraft is 80kg, while the fuel storage capacity is 130l.

The Milkor MA 380 UAS is an ideal platform for long-range surveillance missions as it offers a maximum endurance of 20 hours. The maximum range offered by the UAV is more than 2,000km.

Ground control station

The operations performed by the unmanned aircraft are controlled by a portable ground control station, which ensures the relay of information between the ground mission control crew and UAS.

Missions to be performed by the UAS are planned at the control station and fed to the UAS. The station also handles mission simulation, UAS monitoring and control, and payload and communications control.

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