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Seventh and last article on the Israeli UAV industry
by Arie Egozi
After a period of uncertainty about IAI’s efforts in mini UAS, the company has unveiled the BirdEye 650D mini UAS with an endurance of over 20 hours. The BirdEye 650D was first unveiled in 2010 and demonstrated 2 hours endurance with a battery propulsion system. The endurance was then stretched to 3 hours. The company tested a propulsion system using fuel cells but then decided to go for a fuel engine. According to IAI’s Malat Aviation division, with the fuel engine, the BirdEye 650D has reached a 20+ hours endurance. The BirdEye 650D has a max takeoff weight of 30 kg and can carry a 5 kgs payload.
IAI’s GHOST mini hovering unmanned system (UAS) will be operational in Israel next year. By then it is expected to have a one hour endurance. According to IAI, GHOST weighs approximately 4 kg, and provides real-time intelligence to ground forces operating in urban areas. GHOST is equipped with an automatic vertical takeoff & landing system and can now loiter for up to 30 minutes. The system was designed with twin rotary electrical engines so it can be silent and support day and night special operation missions.
IAI says that the unique man-machine interface and operational concept is based on the principles of computer games and makes the system extremely intuitive to operate and requires little training. The entire system can be carried in backpacks by two soldiers and includes: two platforms, batteries, and a command and control unit with communications.
An IAI source said that the GHOST ia currently operated by batteries but the plan is to test it with a fuel cell system.