Israel developing large UAV

Monday, May 17, 2004

TEL AVIV The Israel Air Force plans to procure a large and long-range unmanned air vehicle that resembles a fighter-jet.

The UAV has been dubbed Eitan and has a wingspan of 26 meters and a takeoff weight of four tons. This weight is about four times the size of the largest UAV now in the Israel Air Force.

The state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries has developed the Eitan. The Eitan was meant for automatic takeoff and landing.

The twin-tailed UAV will be powered by a turboprop engine and meant for long flights. Details of the Eitan were published in the Israel Air Force Journal.

So far, IAI has built two prototypes of the Eitan. The air force magazine said the UAV was in the advanced stages of development.

"This aircraft, with its advanced avionics, is on a level similar to that of systems that operate on fighter-jets," Lt. Col. Boaz, responsible for UAVs in the air force, told the Journal. "The system will operate with complete autonomy and allow the operator to focus more on performing the mission and less on flying the air platform."

Industry sources said the Eitan would be a multi-purpose UAV that could carry out reconnaissance and attack missions. One of those missions, they said, was the ability to locate and destroy mobile ballistic missile launchers.

The Defense Ministry has been developing the so-called Sniper system to destroy missiles in the boost phase of launch. The Sniper would also be able to destroy static and moving targets.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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