from apperspective.net: Vietnam flight tested six indigenously made Unmanned Aerials Vehicles (UAVs) over the weekend, Xinhua News Agency reported.
“After three days of tests, from May 17-19, in Da Lat city and Lac
Duong district of Lam Dong province, six vehicles made by the Vietnam
Space Technology Institute, under the Vietnam Academy of Science and
Technology (VAST), successfully made 37 flights,” Xinhua News reported, citing local media outlets.
The tests reflect an effort by Vietnam to penetrate the UAV market,
with many of its neighbors, including China and Japan, beefing up their own UAV forces in recent years.
Earlier this month the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology
(VAST) had announced that it had built five indigenous UAVs, the first
of their kind for Vietnam. The first of the drones—AV.UAV.MS1,
AV.UAV.S1, AV.UAV.S2, AV.UAV.S3 and AV.UAV.S4— was initially tested in
early May. The Vietnamese scientists who built the drones began
researching them back in 2008, and the project was picked up by the
state in 2011.
According to Vietnamese news media,
the drones have a weight of 4 kg to 170 kg and wingspans ranging from
1.2 to 5 meters. The smallest of these “can fly at 70 kph [kilometers
per hour] within a radius of 2 km and at a maximum altitude of 200 m,”
while the biggest one “can fly at 180 kph, within a radius of 100 km and
at an elevation of 3,000 meters. It can continuously fly for 6 hours in
both daytime and nighttime.”
The unmanned aircraft are equipped with cameras, spectrometers and
other devices and will be “used for [the] supervision of environmental
natural resources in difficult direct approach territories; observation,
communication and seashore rescue; exploration of natural resources,
control of forest fire[s], and to follow the situation of national
electricity system and transport,” VAST’s website has said.
It was not the only scientific breakthrough Hanoi achieved this
month, with the country also launching its first remote sensing
satellite, the VNRED Sat-1. The satellite was built largely with French
funds, Xinhua reported
at the time of the launch. Vietnam had previously launched two
telecommunication satellites, the first in 2008 and another one last
The flight range of some of the drones tested this month can be extended using guiding satellites, according to local media reports.
Although the UAVs are ostensibly only for civilian purposes, their
tests were monitored by leaders from the Ministry of Public Security and
the Ministry of National Defense.
Alongside the domestic effort to build UAVs, Vietnam is looking to purchase them abroad. Last week it was announced
that Vietnam would purchase UAVs from Belarus during Prime Minister
Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to that country. Few details were provided about
the type of drones involved in the deal.