Israel tops UAV exporters’ list

IAI Super Heron

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IAI Super Heron
IAI Super Heron

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in the period between 1985 and 2014, 60.7% of all exported unmanned aircraft in the world were produced in Israel. The United States comes second as a manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles, as it supplied 23.9% of all (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) UAVs exported during this period. Canada came third with 6.4%, reports Oxu.Az, citing newsru.co.il.

During the period between 2010 and 2014, Israel exported a total of 165 UAVs, the US – 132 UAVs and Italy 37 units. SIPRI notes that the club of countries exporting their UAVs, is very exclusive. Between 2005 and 2009 it numbered 11 members, and between 2010 and 2014, there were only 10 members.

At the same time, the number of states importing UAVs has grown to 35. The largest importer of UAVs is the United Kingdom. During the period between 2010 and 2014, it bought 6 combat UAVs from the US and an additional 55 various modifications of UASs, (unmanned aerial systems). Israeli accounted for 33.9% of all UASs exported during this period.

The second largest importer of UAVs is India, purchasing 13.2% of all exported systems. Next are Italy, Azerbaijan, Germany, Turkey, France, Singapore and Brazil.

Israeli UAS manufacturers are investing great efforts in trying to keep the edge they have over their competitors. While some of the efforts are aimed at improving the capabilities of the UASs deployed in the IDF, others are directed at increasing sales.

Only recently has Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveiled its new Super Heron heavy fuel UAS. The Super Heron features a heavy fuel 200 horsepower engine, as well as an advanced propulsion system which enhances its capacity, its rate of climb and performance. Super Heron’s air speed exceeds one hundred and fifty KTAS (knots true airspeed).
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AUS&R2015_728x90According to IAI, Super Heron’s advanced avionics, triple redundancy and advanced computerized systems enhance its growth potential. Enhanced processing capabilities, increased electrical power and standard interface architecture, allow for the simple integration of new payloads. The system consists of multiple proven operational configurations for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition & reconnaissance missions, maritime patrol and other missions. Multi-sensor capabilities, state-of-the-art communications and proven airspace integration are among this UAS’s leading features.

The technical specifications of the Super Heron are more than a list of specifications, but rather it is the direction in which IAI is going with its heavy UAVs. Among the features are: Endurance: 45 hours, Flight ceiling: 30,000 feet, Loiter speed: 60-80 KTAS and Maximum speed: in excess of 150 KTAS. Add a 17 meters wingspan, a maximum takeoff weight of 1,450 kg including a Payload weight of 450 kg and only imagination can supply the potential use of such a system.

Shortly before the Super Heron was unveiled, IAI announced that its UAVs have accumulated over one million operational flight hours worldwide. And while IAI’s focus is on MALE (Maximum Altitude, Low Endurance) UAVs, it is also exploring the capabilities of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UASs.

Also, sources have revealed that the company has renewed its efforts to develop an unmanned helicopter. This project will be based on modifying an existing platform of a manned helicopter into an unmanned helicopter platform.