The information was first reported by local defense blog AAG_th. The UAV’s subcontractors, Siam Dry Tech (SDT) Composites, which designed and will manufacture its carbon-fiber airframe, and Pims Technologies, which developed its Tactical-Based Aerial Command Control System, were present at the trials.
The MARCUS-B is a fixed-winged unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed to meet the specific needs of naval units operating at sea. Because of its vertical takeoff and landing capability, it can operate anywhere.
The MARCUS-B UAV is based on the previous MARCUS drone, which was unveiled at the opening ceremony of an RTN naval exercise in March 2021. It is larger and heavier than the preceding model. It is 2.5 meters long and has a wingspan of 4.3 meters. It has a takeoff weight of 45 kilograms and a payload capacity of more than 10 kg. The new drone can fly at 37 knots while fully loaded within its operational range of around 160-180 kilometers.
MARCUS-B is powered by a 60 Ah battery, allowing it to fly for around two hours. It can be used on large navy ships such as frigates, amphibious assault ships, and carriers.
The cost of MARCUS-B was not specified by Thai officials, although Thai analysts believe it is a low-cost asset.
MARCUS-B is planned to begin mass production and enter service with the RTN in 2022 after the final trials are completed.
In recent years, operating drones from aircraft carriers has emerged as a cost-effective approach. Operating aircraft carriers puts a strain on navies’ budgets, as the average cost of a shipborne aircraft flight raises the expense of deploying carriers. As a result, navies that employ aircraft carriers or LHA/LHDs have been experimenting with using drones instead of planes in surveillance and small strike operations.
The Royal Navy, for example, has been working on Project Vixen, which was first presented to the public as a program to test the employment of fixed-wing UAVs from Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. While conducting operations with shipborne F35s, the initiative is projected to provide affordability and cost-effectiveness. The project prioritizes air early warning (AEW) or air refueling drones over elements that can assist F35B aircraft as an attack force.
The United States Navy and Boeing have successfully maneuvered the Boeing-owned T1 test asset on a United States Navy aircraft carrier for the first time – an important step toward guaranteeing that the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler will integrate seamlessly into carrier operations.
The Turkish Navy has been working on converting its upcoming LHD Anadolu into a drone carrier ship, using TB3 Bayraktar unmanned combat aerial vehicles to compensate for the lack of F35B jets after the US pulled out of the project.
The UAV/UCAV trend appears to be evolving throughout the next decade, and the Royal Thai Navy’s efforts seem to be a promising effort to catch up with the trend.