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German Navy orders additional Sea Falcon UAS for K130 corvettes

V-200 UAS operating with a German K130 corvette
Photo: UMS Skledar

The German defense procurement agency BAAINBw has awarded ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH a contract for the delivery of an additional three Sea Falcon unmanned aerial systems.

ESG is the prime contractor on a project to enhance the imaging reconnaissance capabilities of the German K130, or Braunschweig-class, corvettes with the V-200 (referred to as the Sea Falcon in German service) UAS developed by Sweden’s UMS Skeldar.

One UAS consists of two Skeldar V-200 unmanned aerial vehicles, a ground control station integrated on the corvette from which the aircraft is controlled, and equipment with tools and spare parts.

The Sea Falcon can operate for up to 5 hours with a maximum take-off weight of 235kg, a maximum speed of 75 knots and a payload of up to 40kg. It can take off and land automatically on the deck of the corvette in up to 20 knots of wind speed and “sea state 3”. An integrated sensor transmits real time optical and infrared images to the ground control station.

Photo: German Navy

The order for the three additional systems comes after Germany ordered the first two in August 2018. Shipborne trials of the heavy fuel VTOL UAS began in August 2020.

The subsequent contract for the AImEG project will span a period of four years and two phases. The pilot phase will include the development and certification with regard to the adaptation requirements of the German armed forces, the delivery of one UAS including integration into a corvette, and initial training of the German armed forces personnel.

The series production phase will cover the delivery of two further systems, one of which will also be integrated into a corvette and the other used for land-based training. In addition, three armament sets will be delivered for the future pre-fitting of further corvettes to accommodate a UAS.

In addition to the German Navy, the V-200 is being acquired by the Royal Canadian Navy, and Belgium and the Netherlands, who will operate the systems as part of their joint mine countermeasure vessel fleet replacement program.