Milkor announces new partnership for maritime version of the Milkor 380 UAV

Milkor has established a strategic partnership with Germany’s Aerodata AG to develop a new specialised platform for maritime surveillance, the AeroForce 380, based on the Milkor 380 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

At the Paris Air Show 2023, Aerodata and Milkor solidified its commitment to cooperation with a Memorandum of Understanding. Now, the AeroForce 380 will officially be launched during the ILA Berlin Air Show 2024, which runs from 5 to 9 June.

This Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, tailored specifically for maritime surveillance and coast guard missions, is capable of reaching a service ceiling of 30 000 feet, with enhancements to the design made to effectively operate in the low altitude segment (below 10 000 feet) ideally suited for maritime surveillance operations. Additionally, the UAV boasts an endurance of up to 35 hours, ensuring extended mission coverage and increased operational efficiency, Milkor said. Payload is up to 250 kg, with sensors including AIS, side-looking airborne radar, and electro-optical/infrared gimbals.

“With a maximum take-off weight of 1 300 kg and the capability to carry mission-specific payloads, the AeroForce 380 has the potential to revolutionise surveillance aircraft fleets worldwide,” Aerodata said. “It’s worth noting that Aerodata’s contribution includes state-of-the-art mission system technology, complemented by maritime surveillance sensors from its subsidiary, Optimare Systems GmbH. This integrated approach guarantees optimal performance and support, ensuring the AeroForce 380 remains at the forefront of maritime surveillance technology.”

Harry Cassidy, Milkor’s head of Business Development in Europe, highlighted the importance of this partnership. “The Milkor 380 has garnered substantial interest from multiple entities looking to enhance their aerial surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. With the addition of Aerodata’s experience in maritime surveillance sensors, the development of the AeroForce 380 will set a new standard in global maritime by combining state of the art unmanned technologies with proven maritime surveillance sensors. The collaboration is one of the key explorations Milkor is undertaking to meet the growing demand for sophisticated UAV solutions and underscores Milkor’s role as a premier partner in the international defence sector.”

“The Milkor 380 has reached a stage where it is ready to be deployed for operations and we look forward to working with these entities to enhance their aerial surveillance capabilities. We are receiving positive feedback from many more interested parties and had to look at our production capabilities to meet their requirements. We expect that the Milkor 380 would be used for a variety of operations that will demonstrate its versatility,” said Ghaazim Rylands, CEO of Milkor Integrated Systems in Cape Town.

Milkor expects to deliver several units of the Milkor 380 within the next 12 months to undisclosed clients with manufacturing well underway of six units to be completed by end of 2024.

“This rapid production and deployment schedule underscores Milkor’s dedication to meeting market needs with cutting-edge UAV technology,” the company said, adding that “the Milkor 380 is considered one of the most versatile unmanned platforms suitable for intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations.”

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