Hankuk Carbon, a Korean composite manufacturer, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) to establish a Joint Venture to develop, manufacture, and sale Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV).
Both companies will co-develop and co-manufacture the next generation VTOL UAV. The Joint Venture will begin by developing up to 200~300Kg MTOW. The next generation VTOL UAV will target 90% of domestic localization and will be developed according to the ROK customer’s needs.
Furthermore, HC and IAI are considering adding ship borne take-off and landing capability to the FE-Panther. This activity will be done in the JV by end of the 2018. The companies assume based on the Teal Group forecasts that the potential market for the VTOL Naval UAVs is around $4.3billion for next 10 years from 2015 to 2024.
Hankuk Carbon’s CEO, Moonsoo Cho, said that "Hankuk Carbon has been speculating the aerospace industries for long period. Considering the aerospace industry has around 5% growth annually and the LNG industry is in downturn, we believe this is the optimal timing to enter the aerospace industry".
Shaul Shahar, executive vice-president of IAI, said that "We see the upcoming JV as a great opportunity for both companies to expand their business. We are looking forward to work with Hankuk Carbon– a well-established Korean company decisive to enter into the aerospace business. With Hankuk Carbon’s composite material production capability and with IAI’s 40-years’ of experience and know-how of UAV's, the joint venture has the potential to become a leading VTOL UAV company, and to provide the best solution to our customers in Korea and worldwide".
In October 2015, Hankuk Carbon has displayed the 67kg-Hybrid VTOL UAV, FE-Panther for the first time. The UAV powered by the lithium polymer batteries and gasoline engine has an endurance of 8 hours’ flight time with 6kg of payload which can fly over to maximum radius 130km and maximum speed of 100km/h. In addition, the displayed UAV has the automatic VTOL capability and easy in maintenance. Moreover, previously, Hankuk Carbon and IAI have been co-developing the hybrid propulsion system for VTOL UAV funded by the KORIL Foundation (Korea-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation).
IAI Ltd. is Israel’s largest aerospace and defense company and a globally recognized technology and innovation leader, specializing in developing and manufacturing advanced, state-of-the-art systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. Since 1953, the company has provided advanced technology solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide including: satellites, missiles, weapon systems and munitions, unmanned and robotic systems, radars, C4ISR and more.