Malaysia Acquires a New UAV

(c) K.B. Sherman, 2002

Malaysia recently unveiled its Eagle Airborne Reconnaissance Vehicle (EARV) at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition. It is being manufactured by Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Melaka, Malaysia), in partnership with Excelnet Sdn Bhd (Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia) and BAE Systems Controls (Johnson City, NY).

The EARV is based upon the two-seat Eagle 150 airplane, built by Eagle Aircraft PTY Ltd. of Australia. The Eagle 150 was chosen as the platform in part because of its lightweight composite construction and good performance-to-weight ratio. The EARV has been designed for use in military applications including incursion detection; intelligence gathering; and monitoring of troop movement, borders, and terrorist activities. Coastal and environmental law enforcement applications are said to include shipping surveillance and monitoring of open burning, illegal logging, piracy and movement of illegal immigrants.

The initial $ 12.4M project developed for the Malaysian Armed Forces consists of three Eagle aircraft, a ground control station and a remote receiving station. The aircraft is approximately the size of the popular Cessna 172 aircraft, although its fore-and-aft wing canard configuration is unusual and lends itself to enhanced performance. It is said to cruise at 120 knots and have a ten-hour flying endurance. It is equipped with a belly-mounted electro-optical surveillance camera affording an unobstructed 360-degree view. BAE Systems supplied the electronics and associated systems, while modification and systems integration were carried out jointly by Excelnet and BAE.