The KZO battlefield reconnaissance system
was developed to respond to NATO and specifically German Army
requirements for a rapid reaction short range UAV, able to provide
high precision targeting and damage assessment for theater operations.
The system is designed to operate in day or night and under limited
weather conditions. To enable the drone to fly through icing conditions it is
equipped with warm-air wing surface deicing system. KZO is launched by
a catapult and retrieved by parachute and airbag system. When
operating under high winds of up to 50 km/h it can be launched from a
container, with booster assist. The KZO drone operates at altitudes of
300 to 3,500 metres. ,Designed to operate under all the climatic
environments encountered in Europe, KZO is equipped with a de-icing
system, enabling deployment in virtually all weathers. Even under
conditions of heavy electromagnetic interference, it can transmit
target information back to base at ranges of over 100 kilometres. The
KZO can detect stationary and moving targets alike, including their
speed and direction of travel; it can remain aloft for over 3.5 hours.
KZO has a wingspan of 3.42 metres and a length of 2.26 metres; the
fuselage measures a mere 36 centimetres in diameter.
Stealth techniques enable KZO to operate in hostile electromagnetic
environment. Acoustic mufflers are used to attenuate engine sound and
reduce the exhaust's thermal signature. KZO operates autonomously over
a distance of 100 – 200 km. Data transmission is done via Ku band jam
resistant datalink located in a disk-shaped antenna on the tip of the
vertical tail fin. The nose mounted payload comprises of a 3x
stabilized mid-wave FLIR (8-12micron) and CCD with x8 zoom.
A similar platform, the Taifun attack drone, searches
and engages high priority targets. It destroys its target with a
hollow-charge warhead. A third configuration – the "Muecke" jamming
drone is believed to be in development.
The first of
six KZO systems ordered by the Bundeswehr was delivered on November
28, 2005. All systems are expected to be delivered by the end of 2007,
comprising sixty drones and twelve ground systems. Rheinmetall is
marketing the system under cooperation with Teledyne Brown Engineering