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South Korea creates speedy new UAV, gives it VTOL capabilities to boot

Michael Gorman, @Numeson
November 30, 2011
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In the never-ending quest to give our future robot overlords better tools with which to enslave us, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has built what it claims to be the fastest UAV on the planet. Checking in at five meters (16.4 feet) long with a seven meter (23 foot) wingspan, the as-yet unnamed aircraft can cruise at 400km/h (249mph). Speed's not its only standout feature either, as the Korean UAV can perform vertical takeoffs and landings (VTOL) as well. Its VTOL capability comes courtesy of dual tilt-rotors that provide helicopter-style takeoffs with fixed wing speeds once airborne. It joins the US Marines famed V-22 Osprey as the second such aircraft on earth and is the first unmanned aircraft packing the technology. The craft is still in the developmental stages, though Korean officials claim it'll be ready for primetime in March 2012, with mass production less than three years away. How much will this fast and flexible flying machine cost? Well, that depends how many are built, but it's a safe bet its considerable capabilities won't come cheap.

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