Taiwan's GEOSAT Aerospace and Technology has solidified a partnership with the British firm Flyby Technology for the acquisition, technology transfer, and production of 160 Jackal drones, originally manufactured in Turkey.
The memorandum of understanding, inked during the Taipei Aerospace Defense Technology Exhibition this month, outlines technology transfer to various regions, primarily focusing on the Asia-Pacific area, as detailed in GEOSAT's official press release.
This agreement calls for the development and production of a new generation of drones, specifically 160 Jackal drones.
Murat Islioglu, the General Manager of Turkish company Fly BVLOS Technology, highlighted that the Jackal drone was initially designed for civilian applications. Following their partnership agreement with Flyby Technology in the United Kingdom, the Jackal received upgrades, including the integration of Thales Lightweight Multirole Missiles (LMM), which underwent successful test-firings, demonstrating its versatile capabilities.
The research and development phase for the Jackal commenced early in 2022, entirely executed by Turkish engineers. In April 2022, a critical agreement was reached with Flyby Technologies to export five drones valued at $1.25 million. Subsequently, these drones underwent testing with the LMM weapon in October 2022.
Soon after the export agreement with the British firm, another partnership was established with Taiwan UAV Technology Center. This arrangement included knowledge sharing and the establishment of an office in Taiwan, paving the way for future collaborations, according to Islioglu.
Additionally, Flyby Technologies secured the intellectual property rights for the Jackal in July 2023. Islioglu clarified that Flyby Technology holds the complete rights to manufacture the Jackal in the United Kingdom and export it. However, some reservations were made in the export agreement, potentially related to specific customers the Turkish government may wish to exclude. Nonetheless, technical support will still be provided to their partner.
Details regarding production specifics, assembly locations, and timelines are set to be confirmed through a separate agreement, Islioglu revealed.
The Jackal is a remotely piloted air system with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. It boasts a maximum payload capacity of 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and operates within a range of 130 kilometers (81 miles). The drone can cruise at speeds of approximately 108 kph (67 mph) and reach a top speed of 160 kph (99 mph). Its operational altitude extends to 4,000 meters, with satellite communications technology enabling precise pilot control.
While the current iteration of the Jackal relies on batteries to power its two pairs of rotors and electric fans, upcoming production versions are slated to incorporate a turbogenerator. This upgrade will increase the maximum takeoff weight from 105 kilograms to 155 kilograms or more, thanks to the new propulsion system.
The Jackal's capabilities are diverse, ranging from conducting airstrikes, providing air support, intercepting helicopters in flight, targeting tanks, and executing logistics missions to disrupting the use of runways and roads. Its plug-and-play system facilitates the integration of additional equipment and technologies.