Republic of Korea UCAV programs


Multiuniversal creator
13 February 2006
Reaction score
South Korea plans to acquire a variety of unmanned air vehicles across all spectrums in the coming years, with local and international companies vying for what industry observers say is one of the most lucrative markets in Asia.

State-owned Korea Aerospace Industries is keen to get ahead of the competition, and displayed a concept for a new unmanned combat air vehicle and an upgraded medium-altitude UAV at the Seoul air show in late October.

Studies into the K-UCAV began in 2008 and are at an "advanced conceptual design" stage, says a KAI official. Discussions with the South Korean defence ministry are "at an early stage and ongoing", the source adds....


  • KAI_UCAV.gif
    121.7 KB · Views: 998
Its good to see the asian market come alive with UCAV sales. Perhaps they will inspire some truely inventive designs. :)


  • kuav1.jpg
    495 KB · Views: 803
  • kuav2.jpg
    499.5 KB · Views: 674
  • kuav3.jpg
    464.6 KB · Views: 635
Farnborough 2010, KAI stand (dialogue is not exact, I don't remember every word, but the essence is there):

Q: Hi, what is the current status of the K-UCAV demonstrator?
A: What project?
Q: UCAV demonstrator, shown in the model form last months. What was done, what is the current status in its development?
A: (to the second stuff) Do you know what it is? Yes, probably he means that UCAV demonstrator. Aha, well, we don't have the customer.
Q: Okay, there is not any formal request now, but how far went the work on that?
A: Well, we made some model, but we don't have the customer.
Q: So everything what you did is that you made a model?
A: Sorry, I don't know anything more about.
The K-UCAV makes an appearance at 3:44


Trimble, Stephen "VIDEO: Meet KAI's UAV line-up" The DEW Line November 2, 2009
I somehow missed that before. The K-UCAV model is in fact RC 20% scaled demonstrator that already flew in 2008 - 2009 timeframe. The proposed full scale variant should be in the 4 tons TOW, wingspan 9,1 m and lenght 8,4 m. Endurance is expected to be the 5 hours in max. altitude 12 km and max. speed Mach 0,85.


  • IMG_1741.JPG
    178.9 KB · Views: 588
  • ucav landing.jpg
    ucav landing.jpg
    10.4 KB · Views: 140
Some official data.


  • 20091106214650.JPG
    481 KB · Views: 119
Same old model on display at the 2015 Paris Air Show.


  • 20150615-KAI-UCAV-Par-Airs_Show-002.jpg
    133.8 KB · Views: 95
  • 20150615-KAI-UCAV-Par-Airs_Show-001.jpg
    115.9 KB · Views: 89
Hi cleaning up / dusting off some archives…
Picture of an "old" 2 page KAI K-UCAV Paris Air Show brochure, with specs.



  • KAI-UCAV-leaflet-ParisAirShow_01.jpg
    707.4 KB · Views: 92
  • KAI-UCAV-leaflet-ParisAirShow_02.jpg
    733.2 KB · Views: 124

Believe its the "400mm-class Air-to-Ship Guided Missile-II"


Believe its the "400mm-class Air-to-Ship Guided Missile-II"

yeah right and it is still in proposal statua


  • KUS-FC-5.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 67
  • KUS-FC-4.jpeg
    1.5 MB · Views: 59
  • KUS-FC-3.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 59
  • KUS-FC-2.jpeg
    2.4 MB · Views: 73
We totally did not copy these somewhat totally but potentially we did but not totally.
Presentation regarding current progress of Multi-Role Stealth UAS programme, formerly known as Low-Observable Reconaissance UAS programme. This programme was started back in 2010 and is better known as KUS-X (probably an acronym for KAL Unmanned System - eXperimental), although I should clarify that KUS-X is the older KAL Aerospace internal designation of the aircraft. Current KAL internal designation is known to be KUS-FC (probably KAL Unmanned System - Fixed wing Combat) The official ADD designation of this family of demonstrator aicrafts are KAORI-X (meaning Stingray-X). Last iteration was KAORI-X2 and currently they are developing the last iteration of demonstrator aircraft (I guess it will be named KAORI-X3?) before transitioning into system development phase.

The small-scale flight demonstrator developed by 2016 had a wingspan of 7m, which is quite a bit smaller than other flying-wing LO UCAV demonstrators before it, such as Taranis or nEUROn. Full-scale aircraft is envisioned to have a wingspan wider than that of KAORI-X2, which is 15m wide.

Other component of future ROKAF aerial system of systems is the Low-Obeservable Wingman Drone. This programme was introduced in 2021 and development started in 2022 after KAL Aerospace was chosen as the prime contractor. KAL internal designation is known to be KUS-LW. Maiden flight of demonstrator aircraft is planned for 2025 and demonstration of autonomous formation flight by 2027.


  • kus-x1.png
    4.1 MB · Views: 43
  • kus-x2.png
    4.1 MB · Views: 41
  • kus-x3.png
    4.3 MB · Views: 40
  • kus-x4.png
    3.8 MB · Views: 41
  • 4455_10303_3554.jpg
    135.7 KB · Views: 44
  • 4455_10304_3652.jpg
    160 KB · Views: 42
  • kus-lw.jpg
    39.7 KB · Views: 45
Last edited:
I've posted about exhaust nozzle development programme a few months ago on the KF-21 thread for those who are interested :

Also, apart from these publicly funded ADD-KAL Aerospace programmes, KAI are planning to develop MUM-T UCAV and attritable drones on their own via private funding, again as mentioned on the KF-21 thread :
I'll post more about the KAI UCAV projects once more are revealed.
Last edited:
At the lower end of the specturm, there's another UCAV in development nearing its completion called the Tactical Stealth Loitering Strike System. It's a relatively small UAS weighing around 200kg, with an operational altitude of 4km and 5 hours playtime on station with 6 paragliding guided submunitions each weighing around 5.5kg, mounted on a rotary magazine internally. It has a BWB design with frontal aspect average RCS of around -10dbsm (@ 9GHz).

The task of this UAS is similar to those kamikaze drones that we are now all very familiar of like Harpy, Harop, Switchblade, Lancet, etc, i.e. reconaissance and strike on tactical level, albeit this thing is quite a bit heavier than any of those drones mentioned above. Also unlike Harpy and Harop, which are mainly SEAD drones, this drone is meant to strike North Korean artilleries deplyoed close to the MDL.

It will be deployed and operated by the soon to be inagurated Army Drone Operations Command. I personally think that there's a major need for an upgrade to its data link system and increase its operational range considering how North Korean artillery threats have evolved over the years. Since this programme was first introduced in 2015, the focus of North Korean artillery shifted from long-range guns to large diameter MRLs and this drone is rather too short-legged to take care of those newer threats.

(from left to right, pilot study model, full-scale model with vertical stabilizers on wingtips and smaller scale model)


  • 17716-38928-sampleM.jpg
    24.9 KB · Views: 42
  • slms.png
    3.7 MB · Views: 36
  • slms2.png
    1.6 MB · Views: 57

Similar threads

Top Bottom