Milkor 380, Africa’s largest drone, takes maiden flight

By Kent Mensah in Accra October 13, 2023

The largest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Africa, the Milkor 380 drone, has undergone its first test flight, reports Military Africa.

The Milkor 380 is part of a family of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) designed and manufactured by Milkor Aerospace, a defence solutions provider based in South Africa.

The drone boasts a formidable wingspan of 18.6 metres and an impressive maximum takeoff weight of 1,300 kilograms, the report noted.

According to Daniel du Plessis, the marketing and communications director at Milkor, the first flight of the UAV signifies a remarkable achievement for both Milkor and the South African Defence Industry (SADI), adding that flight trials and sensor integration will remain at the forefront of developments throughout the year 2023.

With an impressive endurance capability of up to 35 hours, the Milkor 380 is categorised as a medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV. Its five hardpoints can accommodate a diverse range of weaponry and equipment, including synthetic aperture radar, jammers, electro-optical gimbals, and more. Notably, all avionics, communications, and payload integration capabilities have been developed in-house, solidifying Milkor’s standing in the UAV industry.

Unveiled in 2018, Military Africa adds that the Milkor 380 embarked on taxi testing earlier this year. The UAV is engineered for extended intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance missions.

Plessis stated that the public can anticipate the first public demonstrations of the Milkor 380 at the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition in September 2024.

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