KUS-FC / KUS-X unmanned combat air vehicle [UCAV]
In the long term, Korean Air has been tasked by the government to develop what the KUS-FC, an unmanned combat air vehicle [UCAV] with stealth capacities, capable of undertaking enemy air defense suppression or close air support missions for ground troops. The United States’ MQ-1 and MQ-9, the Predator and Reaper drones, have been highly effective in undertaking such tasks in combat operations in the Middle East.
Korean Air has been developing the Kus-FC since 2011, earlier known by the project name of "KUS-X". The company is preparing a design for a full-scale technology demonstrator for the proposed type. But the program lacks funding for flight testing, according to one of several sources who discussed it with Aviation Week. It is run by the defense ministry’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD), which is undertaking much of the related technology effort.
The wingspan of the blended-wing-body design, KUS-FC, is 16 m (53 ft.) and the length is 10 m. The X-47B technology demonstrator that Northrop Grumman built for the U.S. had a span of 18.9 m.
The ADD flew a subscale demonstrator, the Kaori-X, in 2015. This dealt with some of the larger developmental challenges, especially control in flight and fast taxiing, Korean Air displayed a model of the KUS-FC at the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in October 2019. But the model was the same one that the company had showed at the exhibition in 2011. Sources said sa of 2019 no money was available yet to build and fly the full-scale design.