Singapore-based aircraft manufacturing company Kelley Aerospace has developed a combat drone capable of achieving supersonic speed. The concept of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UCAV) called the Arrow was unveiled last week. The drone has a maximum take-off weight of 16,800 kilograms, a range of 4,815 kilometers (2,600 nautical miles), and is capable of flying at speeds of 2,592 per hour, or 2.1 mach. This is pretty much the Los Angeles-Tokyo distance that the device could do in just over three hours, of course, well above the speed of sound.
The design of the drone will be a single-body aircraft and will be made of a patented carbon fiber material that is the first of its kind in the world. Radar cross section is reduced and infrared image is also minimized. “The carbon fiber and mono-body design gives Arrow outstanding strength and rigidity,” Kelly Aerospace said. The drone has already been priced, will be available for between $ 9 million and $ 16 million, and has already attracted the interest of potential buyers who have placed 100 pre-orders for it. You don’t have to be a particularly experienced military analyst to realize the drone has the ability to provide a serious and lightning-fast advantage when used on the battlefield.
“Arrow is designed to complement unmanned aerial vehicles and multiply air force capabilities on the air battlefield.”
the company explained in their prospectus. Like many drones currently in use, the Arrow is handled by a drone operator. The aircraft is able to take off on its own and can also fly in a flight of UCAVs as part of a larger mission. Two more UCAV prototypes of Kelley Aerospace are being tested in the United States and Sweden. However, their drone developments are only tiny parts of the larger trend of autonomous combat devices for military use. In the last three decades, the number of UCAVs, i.e., autonomous combat vehicles, involved in warfare has increased tremendously. At the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States still had only a few drones, but PBS International said more than 7,000 UCAVs are now being used for military purposes. Back in December last year, Kelley Aerospace announced plans to create no less than 250 new jobs specifically for the production of this new aircraft, with a five-year goal of training about 500 pilots at a flight pilot academy who will be ready to lead combat drones. as part of a general campaign.