Saab to make a maritime version of its Skeldar UAV

Sweden's Saab is looking for a naval partner to support its Skeldar flight test activities. Saab Aerosystems will exhibit a model of its developmental Skeldar vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle on the flight deck of the Swedish navy's Visby-class stealth corvette HSMS Nykoping, at the DSEi exhibition in London from 11 to 14 September.

The company said it plans to fly an enlarged maritime variant of the rotorcraft in late 2008. Scheduled to conclude early next year, development studies into the 250kg (550lb) Skeldar M are being funded by Saab, although several navies have already been briefed about the design, Saab Aerosystems UAV systems business director Anders Carp said.

Also referred to as the V-250, the new UAV will use a heavy fuel engine and offer an increased payload and extended range performance of 180km (97nm), versus the current V-150 design's maximum 100km. Potential payloads could include an electro-optical/infrared sensor or micro synthetic aperture radar, plus additional data links.

Saab is now seeking a naval partner that can provide a vessel to support flight test activities. It wants to demonstrate autonomous deck landing capabilities by providing the air vehicle with real-time data on the ship's movement.