Intra’s Samoom: the future Saudi Armed Forces MALE unmanned air system

By Paolo Valpolini

Intra Defense technologies, a Saudi Arabian company specialised in UAVs, optronics and electronic warfare, unveiled at the World Defense Show a brand new MALE.

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The company has already custmised and produced a single-engine Group 3 UAS, the Haboob, which is in service with the Royal Saudi Armed Forces, and was exhibited at the static display with a camouflage pattern. The Haboob is the Saudi version of the Karayel, a 650 kg 130 kg payload UAS designed and developed by Vestel Savunma of Turkey, and have seen extensive operational use, logging well over 20,000 hours.

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Now Intra looks at further stepping up its products dimensions, with the development of the Samoom, which half-scale model was dominating the company stand. The twin-engine UAS has a conventional architecture, with a high wing without winglets with a 24 meters wingspan, a central horizontal empennage, single rudder, and tricycle landing gear. Propulsion is provided by two ultra-light 6-cylinder turbo engines providing 220 hp each, 1,400 litres of fuel ensuring up to 50 hours endurance, depending on the payload. The engine should be the UL520T, the most recent development of the 4-stroke 6-cylinder horizontally opposed UL520, by ULPower Aero Engines of Belgium, which has a weight of 122 kg.which ensures constant output power up to 15,000 ft.

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The latter can be fitted on seven pylons, a central one and three per each wing, located externally of the engine, none of them being “wet” hence no auxiliary fuel tank can be fitted. Overall 1,050 kg of weaponry can be fitted on the Samoom, the UAS having a maximum take-off weight of 3,300 kg. The new Intra MALE can reach a maximum speed of 130 knots and has a maximum climb rate of 2,000 ft/min, operational ceiling being 45,000 ft.

Under the nose an optronic turret is fitted. This will be of a new type, Intra as said being also active in the optronics field, the new sensor package being developed together with Hensoldt of Germany. The front part of the fuselage features the typical bump that hosts the antenna of a SATCOM data-link, which allows the Samoom to overcome the limitations of the line-of-sight data link which range is of 130 km.

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The design of the Samoom has now been frozen and the prototype production should start within year end, according to company sources, who stated that it will take between one and two years to get to the first flight, and one extra year to complete flight trials.

EDR On-Line understood that the design phase has seen active participation from the military customer, possibly the Royal Saudi Air Force, and although no contract has yet been signed it is quite clear that the Samoom is destined to become the next Saudi MALE unmanned aircraft.

Photos by P. Valpolini

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