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The Drone Index: Denel Seeker 400

May 4, 2015
South African Seeker 400 UAV

Via Denel.

Is the Denel Dynamics Seeker 400 the most advanced UAV in Africa? A solid case can be made that it is.

The Seeker 400 is a twin-boom propeller-driven MALE drone that meets the optimum requirements of potential customers from the developing world. This explains why the Seeker 200, an earlier model, easily found customers in the Middle East and North Africa in the late 1990s. Denel Dynamics’ appear keen to repeat their successes with their enthusiasm for Latin American clients.

The Seeker 400’s origins dates to 2010 when a mock-up was prepared for defense exhibitions and arms shows. The Seeker 400 didn’t even begin flight testing until 2014. By early 2015 the Seeker 400 finished its last trials and was cleared for production.

South African Seeker 400 UAV 01

The Seeker 200. Via Denel.

In its current form, the Seeker 400 is well-suited for ISR work with either the military, police, maritime, or government. The Seeker 400 can deploy with a 220 pound payload. This includes a daylight camera, an infra-red thermal imager, a day/night spotter camera, laser designator, and an integrated synthetic aperture radar.

While it qualifies as a MALE UAV, its actual performance specifications are modest. By Denel Dynamics’ own assessment, the Seeker 400 is a platform that is only beginning to mature. Depending on the mission, it can fly uninterrupted for 16 hours, capable of lingering over a target for more than 10 hours, and its maximum ceiling is 18,000 feet. Cruising speed is 150 kilometers per hour.

The Seeker 400’s engine type hasn’t been revealed. Judging by its top speed on paper, it’s probably a 900 or 1,000 horsepower turbo diesel model imported from Europe.

Designed for operation in a less than ideal environment, logistics and maintenance for the Seeker 400 is very basic. Aside from being air-transportable in a disassembled state, the Seeker 400 only requires a combination of portable mission and tracking control units for flight. No spacious ground control station required!

Denel Dynamics is preparing the Seeker 400 to carry anti-tank missiles. This variant will be called the Snyper.

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