A new combat drone has been created that can hit speeds of more than 1,500mph.
The drone is much bigger than the ones you’ll have seen floating around your local parks, however, and looks more like a small spaceship.
Created by Kelley Aerospace, the supersonic drone is made up of carbon fibre and is completely unmanned; it can exceed the speed of sound, hitting an astonishing Mach 2.1
Named the ‘Arrow’, the company has already received more than 100 pre-orders of the combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), despite it being priced between $9 million and $16 million, something which it believes is a ‘relatively low price’.
Not only is the drone extremely fast, it’s built for multiple combat or reconnaissance roles and ‘is designed for a reduced radar cross-section and infrared signature,’ the company explained. ‘The carbon fibre and monocoque design endows the Arrow with outstanding strength and stiffness,’ they added, MailOnline reports.
Designed at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park, Kelley Aerospace has stated that a manned version of the Arrow will be able to control multiple unmanned versions of the UCAV ‘each with a different mission, equipment [and] weapon set.’ This can be controlled autonomously as well as by two ground station controllers.
In addition to air missions, the company said the Arrow can be deployed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance tasks.
As per Flight Global, Kelley Aerospace said, ‘The Arrow is designed to complement manned aircraft and be a force multiplier in the aerial battlefield.’
The drone is able to fly almost 5,000km with a maximum take-off weight of 16,800kg (37,040lb) and still reach speeds of Mach 2.1.
Kelley Aerospace chief executive Ian Lim said:
UAVs are known for their persistence… loitering, [but] are never known for their speed. So with the Arrow supersonic UAV, you will overcome the issues of speed and reach.
The Arrow has been a long-time coming for Kelley Aerospace after its first prototype of the drone was trialled in 2014.
Despite now having created the game-changing drone, Kelley Aerospace isn’t stopping there and is also looking at developing a supersonic business jet. Two prototypes of the jet are apparently being tested in the US and Sweden.
The company have also already created another subsonic UAV programme known as the Black Eagle UAV. As of December 2020, Kelley Aerospace had 250 of the vehicle examples on order.
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