21 Maret 2016
Thales' España's Fulmar UAV system. The platform has been selected for the MMEA's six new patrol vessels on order from Malaysian shipbuilder Destination Marine Services. (photo : Thales Group)
Thales España has won a contract to supply six Fulmar unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) units to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
An official confirmed to IHS Jane's on 21 March that the UAVs will be operated from its six new 44 m coastal patrol vessels. These ships were ordered under a MYR380 million (USD93.3 million) contract signed with local shipbuilder Destination Marine Services (DMS) in 2015. The MMEA has always intended for these patrol vessels to embark a UAV capability.
A Thales España spokesperson IHS Jane's spoke to on 17 March declined to give further details on the contract, but acknowledged that the UAV has been going through a series of tests. The system is due for delivery by the end of 2016.
The Fulmar UAV has a 3 m wingspan and a length of 1.2 m, and is made from carbon fibre materials. Designed primarily to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) roles, it has an endurance of up to 12 hours, can be flown at altitudes of up to 4,000 m (13,123 ft), has a cruising speed of 100 kph, and can carry a payload of up to 8 kg. The UAS is fitted also with a heavy fuel motor that is understood to help reduce generated noise and enables it to fly at low level (thus reducing risk to the system). It can be operated via a ground control system (GCS) that supports the operation of up to three UAVs in tandem and allows control of the UAVs to switch from one ground station to another, enabling simultaneous use in land and sea environments.