Royal Thai Army developping D-Eyes 04 MALE UAV


As reported by Defense Studies, images and information were released on November 3, showing the D-eyes 04 medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicle system research and development project carried on jointly between the Office of Military Research and Development of the Royal Thai Army, and the National Defense Technology Institute of Thailand that is part of the Royal Thai Army News, No.3, November 3, 2021.

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Royal Thai Army developping D Eyes 04 MALE UAV 1

DTI and Army Research and Development Office (ARDO) released picture of MALE UAV based on Chinese Beihang UAS Technology Co. (Picture source: Royal Thai Army News)


On June 22, 2021, the prototype of a medium-sized reconnaissance and surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle system based on a Chinese UAV has been completed by personnel of the Royal Thai Army Aviation Center. From the published images, it appears that at least one D-eyes prototype was assembled at a location that is not identified as being in Thailand or China.

DTI Thailand implements cooperation with Chinese company Beihang UAS Technology to design the D-eyes 04 based on Beihang's CY-9 UAS medium-sized UAV. However, from the set of images, it can be seen that the model of the actual DTI D-eyes 04 UAS prototype differs from the Beihang CY-9 that was displayed at the DTI-Military MOU signing ceremony in 2020. It is similar to the Wing Loong family of UAVs of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the CH-4 family of UAVs of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), two of China's successful UAVs already exported.

As previously disclosed details, it is understood that the D-eyes 04 UAS will be supplied for RTA artillery regiments to search for targets, as a replacement of old systems such as the Israeli Searcher II UAV is sought. But from the latest details obtained by Defense Studies, the future user unit of the D-eyes 04 UAS is expected to be a UAV battalion of the Air Force – the 21st Aviation Battalion, Aviation Regiment –, together with Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 UAV.

D-eyes 04 UAS prototypes will likely be used primarily for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions, as the pictures show no indication of an armed capability. However, the ability to use air-to-ground missile systems is already known. So, the D-eyes 04 will likely be fitted with weapon systems during its development and testing. This is the first unmanned aerial vehicle of the Royal Thai Army with a combat capability. One may anticipate that these weapons systems are those that China developed for its UAVs delivered to foreign countries, such as the AR-1 air-to-surface missile and the AR-2 guided missile with the Semi-Active Laser (SAL), etc.

Defense Studies also points out that the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) also has a project to purchase UAVs for coastal bases at a cost of $122,479,690 for UAVs. They would be of the same level as the US MQ-1 Predator, the Chinese CH-4B and Wing Loong II, or the Israeli Hermes 900


Royal Thai Army developping D Eyes 04 MALE UAV 2

DTI and Army Research and Development Office (ARDO) released picture of MALE UAV based on Chinese Beihang UAS Technology Co. (Picture source: Royal Thai Army News)


 

Royal Thai Army developping D Eyes 04 MALE UAV 3

MALE UAV based on Chinese Beihang UAS Technology Co. (Picture source: Royal Thai Army News)


 

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