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Singapore Army to equip six units with mini-UAV

A Scout Trooper readying the Skyblade III for launch. Photo: Singapore MoD

SINGAPORE (BNS): Six units of Singapore Army will be equipped by indigenously built Skyblade III mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system to improve situational awareness and the flow of information while operations.

The system consist enhanced reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities.

"With the Skyblade III mini-UAV, scout teams can now better assist commanders in decision-making by providing timely information," Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Ong Chee Boon, Deputy Group Head, General Staff, said.

The system comprises a Mini Operating Console (MOC) and the mini-UAV itself, which are packed into two backpacks. These packs - which weigh roughly 20kg each - will be carried by two soldiers into the field. It is also equipped with cameras for day and night use.

The mini-UAV is a virtually foolproof launching system with easy control access. It can be launched either by hand or through bungee-assistance. The latter launch technique has the mini-UAV sitting on launching rails while connected to a slingshot-like rig.

Once triggered, the rig powers the mini-UAV into the air and mechanically disconnects when the Skyblade III is safely airborne. To land, the mini-UAV performs a deep stall and an airbag is deployed from its belly which cushions the impact from landing.

Developed in collaboration with DSO and made by ST Aerospace, the Skyblade III was developed indigenously and is a product of the cooperation between the Army and its defence industry partners.

The mini-UAV project was initiated in 2002 with the first prototype - the Skyblade I - being tested in Exercise Thunder Warrior (New Zealand) and Exercise Wallaby (Australia) a year later.

The Skyblade III is expected to be operationalised by the year end.

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