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By ARIE EGOZI
This process is based on very basic psychological principles- individuals and groups do not like to lose control on something that has been only theirs for a long time.
Until recently, the Israeli unmanned air vehicles (UAV’s) made by Israeli companies, were operated only by the Israeli Air Force (IAF).The fighter pilots saw some of their missions going to the flying robots but had to accept the change.
This held for awhile but the circumstances, in this case the operational demands have brought the big change and now it is getting bigger.
The IAF is no longer the unique operator of UAV’s.The ground forces have them in different shapes and sizes, some highly classified. The navy is in line to use the UAV’s on its ships.
At this stage, the Israeli defence forces (IDF), mainly the artillery units, are using the upgraded version of the Elbit systems SkyLark 1 LE (Sky Rider) hand launched UAV.
This evolution, or rather this revolution, is accelerated by new designs.
Elbit systems has recently unveiled the Skylark 3, a new autonomous mini-Unmanned UAV. The new member of the Israeli company’s Skylark family is aimed for use by brigades and divisions. According to Elbit, the new system has already been selected by an undisclosed customer.
Based on the technology developed for the existing Skylark versions the Skylark – 3 has a range of over 100 km, flight endurance of up to 6 hours) and payload capacity of up to 10 kg.
The Skylark-3 is launched by a pneumatic launcher, mounted either on the ground or on a vehicle.
Elbit says that the new version will be offered with improved payloads with better target detection, classification and surveillance capabilities.
The Skylark-3 is powered by an electric motor which reduces sound signature and enables operating over long distances and at high altitudes, has a 4.8 m wingspan and a maximum takeoff weight of 45 kg. It has a service ceiling of 15,000 ft.
The Ground Forces’ vision is for every battalion to have an attached Skylark UAV is on track to being achieved.
The IAF is not the sole operator of UAV’s and this process will continue. Almost every soldier has a personal weapon. Many of them in the field or at sea will have some kind of UAV at hand. The change is dramatic and has not reached even an intermediate peak.