Last updated: 17 November, 2011

UAE firm introduces armed drone at Dubai air show

Emirati group Adcom Systems introduced an armed drone at the Dubai Airshow on Thursday, developed at a time when many military powers continue to import the unmanned aircraft increasingly used in warfare.

The MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) plane should begin testing in early December and be available to customers in February, Ali al-Dhaheri, the president of the Abu Dhabi-based company, told AFP.

The device, known as United 40, can carry eight 60-kilometre (37-miles) range “Nemrod” missiles in its fuselage. Those are also developed by Adcom and are to be tested in January.

Adcom Systems, a conglomerate of 37 companies, mainly manufactures drones used for air force training.

Dhaheri stressed that the technology for the United 40 was developed by his company.

“All systems are ours. We are a leading innovator in aerodynamics,” he said.

Drones under development by European defence firms are using technology purchased from Israel.

Dassault Aviation of France and Britain’s BAE Systems are jointly working on a drone project, while the European aerospace and defence group EADS is still working on its drone Talarion.

The UAE model, which took five years to develop, has a wingspan of 17.5 metres, a maximum payload of 400 kilogrammes, and carries 300 litres of fuel, of which 260 litres are in the wings, Dhaheri said.