This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The Israeli navy is evaluating techniques that will enable small and medium unmanned air systems (UAS) to operate from patrol boats like the super Dvorak. The need became urgent as the scope of the task to defend the gas reservoirs in Mediterranean become clear
The Israeli navy will have to protect the pumping rigs. As they become operational ,This will require the heavy use of patrol boats equipped with means to see over the horizon. Mini UAS are an important tool and the operational use will require launch and recovery from the patrol boats
the problem is universal
About 98 percent of the world’s land area lies within 900 nautical miles of ocean coastlines. Enabling small ships to launch and retrieve long-endurance UAVs on demand would greatly expand the U.S. military’s situational awareness and ability quickly and flexibly to engage in hotspots over land or water. DARPA is seeking companies to develop these systems.
Effective twenty-first-century warfare requires the ability to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike mobile targets anywhere, around the clock. Current technologies, however, have their limitations. Helicopters are relatively limited in the distance and flight time. Fixed-wing manned and unmanned aircraft can fly farther and longer but require either aircraft carriers or large, fixed land bases with runways often longer than a mile. Moreover, establishing these bases or deploying carriers requires substantial financial, diplomatic and security commitments that are incompatible with rapid response.
DARPA is aiming high it says it is seeking proposals which would design, develop, and demonstrate a MALE UAV and an associated automated launch and recovery system. The UAV would have to carry a 600-pound payload and have an operational radius of 600 to 900 nautical miles from its host vessel. The launch and recovery system would have to fit Littoral Combat Ship 2 (LCS-2)-class ships and other surface combat vessels as feasible.