Japan's Space Entertainment Laboratory Unveils Next-Gen Uncrewed Flying-Boat


The next-generation Hamadori flying-boat uncrewed aircraft has a twin-hull design.

Credit: Space Entertainment Laboratory

Japanese drone manufacturer Space Entertainment Laboratory has unveiled its concept for a next-generation flying-boat uncrewed aircraft at the Paris Air Show. The design is a development of the company’s Hamadori family of seaplane drones.

The current Hamadori 3000 is a 19-kg (42-lb.), 3.1-m-span (10.2 ft.) electric-powered drone designed to take off and land automatically on water and fly for up to 2 hr. carrying an electro-optical/infrared sensor payload.

The larger Hamadori 6000 is a 100-kg, 6-m-span, gasoline-powered flying-boat drone able to fly for 8 hr. or 740 km (400 nm) carrying a 10-kg payload, including sonar, a hydrophone, water sampling sensors and acoustic underwater communications.

The next-generation concept is a twin-hull, multi-role design powered by a turboprop engine and able to carry up to 300 kg of payload and fly up to 500 nm. Payload pods attach to the center of the main wing and can include an autonomous underwater vehicle or sensor, cargo or winch pods.

The aircraft is capable of automatic navigation on the water, functioning as both an uncrewed air and surface vehicle, and is designed to operate in wave heights up to 3 m. Space Entertainment Laboratory has tested scale models and is aiming to have the vehicle on the market this decade.

Describing the Hamadori series as " a very unique unmanned aerial vehicle system,” the company is targeting markets including ocean observation, transportation and security as well as search and rescue.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.