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Korean unmanned helicopter KUS-VH 500MD made its first flight

Korean Air has successfully demonstrated the first flight of its the KUS-VH 500MD unmanned helicopter, according to officials. 

Korean unmanned helicopter KUS VH 500MD made its first flight KUS-VH 500MD (Picture source: Korean Air)

The unmanned helicopter performed its maiden flight for about 30 minutes on July 30 at a research center run by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute in the southern coastal town of Goheung.

Korean Air plans to meet customer requirements by the end of 2021 for civilian and military use at home. Korean Air also targets overseas markets.

The unmanned helicopter capable of flying for six hours has a payload of 440 kilograms,  Korean Air said, adding it was installed with advanced systems such as flight control computers, a tactical-class integrated navigation system, a propulsion controller and an electric-mechanical rotor actuator.

"We expect unmanned aerial vehicles such as UH-1H and UH-60, as well as fixed-wing fighter jets such as F-5, to be possible in the future," said Kang Jong-koo, who heads Korean Air's aviation technology research institute. "We will do our best to develop unmanned helicopters that can make inroads into overseas markets as well as in South Korea, reflecting the needs of users," he said.

This unmanned platform would be used for high-risk civilian and military missions.