Denel, Having shown a mock-up of its 'Bateleur' Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time in late 2004, Denel opted for the Dubai International airshow to display it abroad for the first time. A scale model of the 'Bateleur' is to be seen at the airshow starting today (20 November).
According to Mr Jan Wessels, Denel Aerospace Systems General Manager, the initial development rationale with the 'Bateleur' was to meet the anticipated South African Navy and South African Air Force's Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) requirement.
“Since then several clients, notably also in the Middle East, have shown keen interest in our 'Bateleur' MALE UAV. With around 20 years' experience in operating UAVs, Denel is well-positioned to complement its existing capabilities with a MALE version,” Jan Wessels said.
Denel sees the identified roles and missions of the design as:
– Real-time day and night surveillance
– Maritime, coastal and border patrol
– Battlefield surveillance
– Search and rescue operations
– Military and paramilitary multi-sensor reconnaissance
The UAV was designed to cover South Africa's vast search and rescue area of approximately 5-million square miles. The country's 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone lies along approximately 3 000 kilometres of coastline.
Moreover, South Africa's island dependencies, like Marion Island in the southern Indian Ocean, lies approximately 1 775 kilometres away.
For long-range operations, Denel's existing ground control station (used for the Seeker 2 UAV, which is operational in several countries) plus a tactical ground station provides line-of-sight deployment of the 'Bateleur' MALE UAV with an action radius of 750 kilometres and 12 to 18 hours over the target area.
Making use of the Ku-band satellite, the UAV will undertake over the horizon operations (OTH) to a range of around 3 500 kilometres.
Other products on display at the Dubai Airshow are Denel's impressive range of missiles and precision-guided weapons, as well as optronic systems. These include the Ingwe and Mokopa anti-armour missiles, the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile, destined for the South African Navy's new Meko-class corvettes and Finland's Navy Squadron 2000 project, and the Umbani precision-guided modular bomb kit.
In August 2005 Denel held a client evaluation of its Ingwe anti-armour missile in the Gulf Region.
According to Mr Jan Wessels, the results once again confirmed the outstanding performance of Denel's Ingwe missile that won the company the “Best Live Demonstration” award at the IDEX 2003 exhibition in the United Arab Emirates where it destroyed targets at ranges of around 5 000m.
The Ingwe is in full production and is being exported.
Denel's optronic systems have also found ready export markets around the world. The latest success was the Belgian Federal Police (BFP) who awarded Denel a contract earlier this year for the supply of the widely used and proven LEO II-A3 Airborne Observation System.
The LEO product family has a proud tradition of supporting law enforcement operations in some twenty countries around the world. It is now successfully used on five continents – from South America to Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
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