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The German Navy will receive three more SEA FALCON UAVs to provide reconnaissance and identification in maritime operations. Following the approval by key Bundestag committees, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) can conclude the development and procurement contract with the main contractor ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH.

Of the €80.3M for the entire project, €52.6M are earmarked for development in the period 2021 to 2023. This includes project support from IABG for €1.9M. A total of €27.7M has been budgeted for the delivery of the three systems and their integration onto the corvettes in 2024 and 2025. A further €3.2M will be kept in reserve to finance the transfer of results from the pilot phase if required.

The consortium led by ESG includes:

  • the manufacturer and supplier of the aircraft, UMS Skeldar Sweden
  • builder of the corvette, Lürssen Werft
  • aviation electronics producer CUONICS

A drone system consists of two SEA FALCON (Skeldar V-200) UAVs, a ground control station and equipment with tools and spare parts. From the ground control station, the UAVs are programmed, controlled and their sensors operated.

What SEA FALCON Brings to the K-130 Corvette

The SEA FALCON is a vertical take-off drone that weighs 235 kg (maximum take-off weight) and is powered by a 41-kW twin-cylinder engine. This allows it to reach a service ceiling of 3,000m. The operating range during up to six hours of flight is 100 km with a maximum speed of 140 km/h. The payload is specified as 40 kg. The SEA FALCON is equipped with an observation tower where electro-optical sensors for images in the optical and infrared range are integrated. These are transmitted in real time to the ground control station. The SEA FALCON also has a camera for looking ahead.

The AImEG project is the continuation of the project ” Vordringliches Marine Unmanned Aircraft System” (VorMUAS). Under this, the Navy is improving the reconnaissance capability of the BRAUNSCHWEIG corvette. This vessel is scheduled to enter service with SEA FALCON in the second half of this year.

Gerhard Heiming