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Unmanned Vehicles

Denel’s Seeker 400 UAV completes first flights

27th February 2014 - 15:14 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Seeker 400 unmanned aircraft system in development with Denel has completed its first flight tests at the Alkantpan range in the Northern Cape, South Africa. The flights are the culmination of a three-year development process for the UAV.

The flights focused on testing performance parameters. A second round of tests will commence in March to determine whether the UAV is ready to enter production. If so, production will commence in the second half of 2014.

The Seeker 400 UAS is being developed to meet a range of military and civilian missions, including disaster response and maritime surveillance. The aircraft can fly at altitudes of up to 18,000ft for 16 hours, with a cruising speed of 150km/h and payload capacity of 100kg. It has a wingspan of 10 metres and can be launched from conventional airfields.

Tsepo Monaheng, CEO, Denel Dynamics, said:  ‘This is a remarkable achievement for Denel and again confirms our global leadership position in the design and manufacturing of UAVS.’
 
 The Seeker 400 has the ability to simultaneously carry two different payloads such as an electro-optical payload and synthetic aperture radar and a completely digital video system. These payloads can be changed over in the field, allowing the Seeker to be tailored for different tactical situations.
 
The 250km line-of-sight range can be doubled through the deployment of a tactical ground station. This enables the Seeker 400 to relay data to ground stations and field commanders over extended distances.
 
The forerunner to the Seeker 400, the Seeker 2, has been deployed in operational service by international clients, including in Afghanistan. The Seeker 2 has undergone further developments by Denel Dynamics, and has since rebranded as the Seeker 200, and offered to clients who require medium endurance and dual payload capability offered by the latest version.

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