08 Maret 2010

Maiden Flight for Micro Aircraft

8 Maret 2010

Fulmar UAV (photo : Cari)

JASIN: The Sungai Rambai Microlight Park here capped a milestone recently when it hosted the maiden test flight of the Fulmar SR08, Malaysia’s latest multi-role unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The RM1.5mil UAV, designed and built by Unmanned Systems Technology Sdn Bhd (UST), was launched from a specially built two-man launch catapult. It spent almost an hour flying some 500m above ground.

READY TO FLY: The firm’s staff members getting the SR08 Fulmar fixed on the catapult for its maiden flight at the Sungai Rambai Microlight Airstrip in Jasin recently.

Fulmar UAV was launch by catapult (photo : KLSR)

UST general manager Mohd Khalizi Mohd Razak said the Fulmar SR08 was part of the company’s ongoing effort to tap the growing international UAV market.
He said the composite-body Fulmar SR08 had a 2m wing span, a range of 50km and eight-hour flight capability.

“It can easily be fitted with sensors including night vision cameras to allow use for commercial and security surveillance purposes.

INTERESTING: Hasan (centre) taking a closer look at the ground command station.

“When one mentions UAV, most think it is used only by the military, like the model known as Predator.

“We hope to create awareness that UAVs are not used solely by the military but can be used by the commercial sector,” he said at the airstrip here.

The UAVs could be used by the agriculture sector to monitor tracts of plantation and farm land, he said, adding that it could be fitted with sensors to gauge the moisture content of an area.

“It can even be used by highway operators such as PLUS to monitor traffic flow along highways instead of relying on helicopters which are expensive,” said Mohd Khalizi.

UAVs could also be used by enforcement agencies in surveillance on smuggling or illegal logging, he said.

Besides testing the Fulmar SR08, UST showed off its smaller 3kg single-camera Aludra UAV that can cover a 15km radius on a maximum 90-minute flight duration.

Mohd Khalizi said the Fulmar SR08 and the single-camera Aludra together with their computer and ground-control systems could be deployed at a cost of RM1.3mil.

UST, a subsidiary of Composite Technology Research Malaysia, spent several years and RM10mil on research and development to produce the first fleet of UAVs in Malaysia and the Asean region, he added.

The company, in collaboration with the Defence Ministry, deployed its Aludra MKI to carry out aerial surveillance in Semporna, Sabah, under Ops Pasir.

Meanwhile, Sungai Rambai assemblyman Datuk Hasan Abd Rahman, also the deputy chairman of the Malacca Youth and Sports Committee, said he was proud that UST had chosen to use the microlight aircraft park for the Fulmar SR08’s maiden flight.

The airstrip has come a long way since its operations began in 1999.
“With the state’s support, we have been able to upgrade it to include a hangar, fencing and a watchtower,” he said.

He said he would lobby to the secretariat overseeing Sukma XIII in Malacca this June to use the UAVs to monitor sports events such as sailing and long-distance cycling and running.

He would also apply to the Youth and Sports Ministry for a RM200,000 allocation for upgrading works on the airstrip to allow light aircraft to use it during emergencies, he added.

(The Star)

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