Seeker 400 is an unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance system being designed and manufactured by Denel Dynamics, South Africa. Each system will comprise four to six unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), a mission control unit (MCU), tracking and communication unit (TCU), aircraft payloads, thermal imaging camera, high resolution video camera and an optional tactical ground control station (TGCS).
The Seeker 400 is derived from its forerunner, the Seeker II aircraft. It is especially well suited to locate targets, endorse artillery fire and carry out electronic intelligence (ELINT) and electronic support measure (ESM) missions.
Flying at an altitude of up to 18,000ft, the Seeker 400 will render real time intelligence data by executing reconnaissance operations over a large area. It will capture the real time imagery of the battlefield and transmit to the TGCS through a satellite communication data link.
|A Seeker 400 drone flies over Cape Town Stadium|
|The insignia of 10 Squadron SAAF depicting the UAV, which it used in the waning days of the South African Border War|
Seeker 400 UAV design
|Seeker 400 can carry out border patrol, maritime patrol and target designation missions.|
It is designed to carry two Impi laser guided missiles or two external fuel tanks on under wing hard points. The Impi is a missile being built by Denel Dynamics for a lightweight platform. The stand-off range of the missile will be 10km.
|An electro-optic sensor can be incorporated in the Seeker 400.|
The Seeker 400 will feature all composite modular low drag airframe made up of carbon fibres to ensure maximum performance. The dual band data links will facilitate the vehicle to accommodate multiple payloads simultaneously. The aircraft will be equipped with a colour day light camera, infra-red thermal imager, black and white spotter camera, night spotter camera, Mode S transponder and very high frequency (VHF) AM air traffic control (ATC) radio for ATC interfacing.
An electro-optic camera will be incorporated beneath the front fuselage section to capture the imagery of battlefield. A directional antenna will be fitted on top of the front fuselage section to decrease jamming and facilitate communications up to 250km range from the control station. The operational range can be increased from 250km to 750km by passing the control to a forward deployed TGCS.
SensorsThe UAV can be equipped with any two payloads i.e. the Zeiss LEO III (electro-optic (EO), infra-red (IR)), electronic intelligence (ELINT) sensor, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) or an electronic surveillance payload (ESP) locating radar emitters.
The Seeker 400 will be incorporated with maritime radar, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), laser ranger finder, laser illuminator and communication intelligence (COMINT).
EnginesThe Seeker 400 will be powered by a single four stroke aircraft engine, which produces 63.4kW of output power.
Ground control stationThe MCU will act as an interface between the mission control crew and the vehicle. It will operate and monitor the aircraft as well as its payloads through commands.
The TCU is a separate unit that will keep track of the Seeker 400. It can be installed up to 200m away from the MCU to render maximum line of sight (LOS) communications.
The TGCS has the same functions as the MCU and TCU housed in one shelter. It is highly mobile and is deployed in the front line or on high ground to extend the UAV's range. It is being developed by Denel Dynamics.