Korean Air Aerospace
Gonghang-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Korean Air airlines was established in South Korea on March 1, 1969. In 2021, Korean Air services 13 domestic cities and internationally service 126 cities in 44 countries with passenger and/or cargo service. In addition in 2021, Korean Air is among the top 20 airlines in the world in terms of passengers carried and is also one of the top-ranked international cargo airlines.
Korean Air is also involved in aerospace research and manufacturing. Korean Air Aerospace began in 1975 which opened aircraft manufacturing for the first time in Korea. The aerospace division, known as the Korean Air Aerospace Division has manufactured civilian and military helicopters, military fighter jets, parts for other commercial airliner manufacturers, has a research division for launch vehicles, satellites, commercial aircraft, military aircraft, helicopters, simulation systems, UAVs and more.
Korean Air established a Urban Air Mobility (UAM) task force in 2021. The company plans on managing a UAM ecosystem which might include building electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft. The aerospace division made their first successful test flight of a UAV in 2007. Today, Korean Air Aerospace has high-performance strategic UAVs, tilt-rotor UAVs, next-generation stealth UAVs, multipurpose unmanned helicopters and hybrid-electric uncrewed VTOL aircraft.
The KUS-VS is a military uncrewed fully autonomous day/night eVTOL aircraft for tactical operations. The aircraft has one pusher propeller for forward flight, four stationary VTOL propellers, one main high wing, two booms for the VTOL propellers, a twin tail boom and fixed skid type landing gear. The UAV is scalable.
The aircraft has a cruise speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), a maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), a range of 80 km (50 miles), a flight time of over five hours and a maximum altitude of over 4.5 km (2.8 miles). The aircraft is outfitted with Electro-Optical and Infrared Sensors (EO/IR) developed with Korean Air’s proprietary technology. The aircraft is also modular allowing for easy assembly and disassembly for ground and/or air transportation.
- Hybrid-electric VTOL military tactical operations uncrewed aircraft
- High altitude and high Speeds compared to helicopters
- Capacity for 24-hour missions using multiple UAVs
- Fully Autonomous Take-off & Landing (Day/Night and On/Off Road)
- U.S. Army's Future Tactical UAV Configuration drone shape
As of December 2021, it has not been reported how many KUS-VS test flights have been made at this time; however, there are several photos of the aircraft flying on their website. There has also been no reports when the possible production of the aircraft will occur.
In addition, Korean Air has successfully made and flown a hybrid-electric tilt-rotor VTOL UAV aircraft called the KUS-FT and has made multiple flights with take offs and landings on the ground and on ships. The KUS-FT recognized as one of the “2021 Top 15 Industrial Technology Achievements,” by The National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK).
Korean Air has stated it seeks continued technological advancements and will continue to participate in the future development of VTOL UAV technology and production. Further, Korean Air plans to create a foundation for UAM in Korea by developing a suitable business model while actively establishing UAM operations, control and traffic management systems and provide integrated operation services to establish city sky ways.
- Aircraft type: Uncrewed hybrid-electric VTOL tactical operations military aircraft
- Piloting: Fully autonomous
- Capacity: Electro-Optical and Infrared Sensors (EO/IR)
- Cruise speed: 120 km/h (75 mph)
- Maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph)
- Range: 80 km (50 miles)
- Flight Time: Over five hours
- Maximum altitude: Over 4.5 km (2.8 miles)
- Propellers: 5 propellers
- Electric Motors: 5 electric motors
- Power source: Battery packs and combustion engine
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Wings: 1 high wing
- Tail: Twin boom tail
- Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
- Korean Air Aerospace website
- Korean Air website
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- Korean Air YouTube Channel
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- Korean Air LinkedIn
- Article: Korean Air to support first responders with hybrid drones, Korean Air, June 15, 2021
- Article: Korean Air to pioneer UAM with Incheon International Airport Corporation and Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Korean Air, Aug. 5, 2021
- Article: Korean Air’s UAV recognized as a top industrial technology achievement, Korean Air, Oct. 15, 2021
- Article: Korean Air showcases aerospace technology at Seoul ADEX 2021, Korean Air, Oct. 19, 2021
- Article: Korean Air partners with Boeing’s Insitu for UAV development, Korean Air, Oct. 22, 2021
- Article: Korean Air works with Boeing subsidiary to develop vertical take-off and landing UAV, Aju Business Daily, Oct. 22, 2021
- Article: Korean Air teams up with major companies to pioneer UAM in Koreak, Korean Air, Nov. 16, 2021