IAI unveils latest unmanned aerial vehicles

Defense minister praises quality of IAI's products, mentions need for Israel to retain its military superiority amid regional unrest.

By
February 22, 2011 21:03
2 minute read.
Ehud Barak at IAI with 'Ghost' UAV

Barak at IAI with Ghost UAV drone 311. (photo credit: GIDEON MARKOWICZ)

 
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At first sight it looks like a toy model of a Chinook helicopter, the twin engine, tandem rotor helicopter used by the United States Army. It is however something completely different.

Called the “Ghost”, this Chinook-looking aircraft is Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unveiled on Tuesday during a visit Defense Minister Ehud Barak made to the Israeli defense giant.

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During his visit, Barak praised the quality of IAI’s products and said that the company was making a significant contribution to Israel’s standing around the world as a leader in the development of military platforms.

IAI Chairman Yair Shamir and CEO Itzhak Nissan gave Barak a tour of the facility and presented him some of the company’s new inventions. One platform which they unveiled especially for Barak was the “Ghost” a new tiltrotor UAV which has the ability to land and take off vertically from the field.

The new UAV was developed by IAI’s Malat Division, which has manufactured the company’s long list of drones including the Heron TP, a squadron of which was declared operational by the Israel Air Force (IAF) in February.

The Ghost weighs just four kilograms and is intended for operations in urban settings for reconnaissance missions. It has a quiet propulsion system and has a range of about four kilometers with the ability to fly at speeds up to 35 knots.

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Referring to the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, Barak said that Israel needed to retain its military superiority to ensure its continued survival in the region.

“These are major changes that will impact the Middle East for years to come,” Barak said. “Our security is in our hands and we need to retain military superiority, readiness and a high level of alert as well as out special relationship with the United States.”

The Ghost is the second tiltrotor UAV to be developed by IAI. In October the Malat Division unveiled the Panther, which can also takeoff and land vertically.

Larger than the Ghost, the Panther has a take-off weight of about 60 kg and the ability to remain airborne for about 6 hours with a variety of payloads. It has a wingspan of 8 m.

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