Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Israel unveils Flying Elephant, other UAVs
by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Oct 15, 2012

The Flying Elephant (Urbanaero AirMule) during early test flight (Credit: urbanaero)

Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems have unveiled the upgraded Shoval unmanned aerial vehicle for maritime surveillance and the Flying Elephant, which can carry a payload of 1 ton of supplies for frontline combat troops.

These UAVs, along with an upgraded version of the giant Eitan, or Steadfast, surveillance UAV also built by IAI that was launched Aug. 14, underline Israel's growing strength in the unmanned aircraft field amid advances in Iran's drive to develop robotic forces.

An Israeli air force F-16I shot down an Iranian-built Hezbollah UAV Oct. 6 over the Negev Desert near the Dimona nuclear reactor after it penetrated 25 miles inside the Jewish state.

The incident jolted Israel and was widely seen as a warning from Iran, via Hezbollah, that it has the technological and operational capabilities to threaten the Jewish state.

Israeli concerns were heightened after Iran's air defense commander, Big. Gen. Farzad Esmaili, announced the development of a new long-range bomb-carrying drone, the Hazem, Sunday.

He didn't specify whether the UAV can reach Israel.

The first long-range UAV built by Iran, the Karrar, or Striker, unveiled in August 2010, can supposedly carry four cruise missiles, two 250-pound bombs or one 500-pound precision-guided munition.

It has a reported range of 620 miles -- not enough to target the Jewish state.

The Shoval was rolled out by state-owned IAI Sunday while the prototype of the Flying Elephant, considered a technological breakthrough for supplying ground forces in the battlefield, was first shown a few days earlier in central Israel by Elbit Systems.

The new and improved version of the Shoval carries four surveillance cameras instead of one.

That makes it a key development in Israel's unfolding plans to protect its rich, and highly strategic, natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean that will make the state self-sufficient in energy for decades to come.

The production platforms and other infrastructure are seen as key targets for Iranian missiles or suicide attacks by Hezbollah, Iran's prize proxy based in Lebanon, within easy strike range of the gas fields.

This comes hard on the heels of IAI's recent relaunch of the Israeli air force's most advanced UAV, the Heron TP, known as the Eitan, capable of reaching Iran and staying in the air for 35 hours.

The Eitan program was grounded for seven months after one of the 5-ton drones, the largest UAV in the air force inventory, crashed during a flight testing new payloads in late January.

Much has been made of the Eitan's ability to reach Iran, although the Israelis have divulged almost nothing about what its missions might be over the Islamic Republic beyond surveillance.

That in itself is a major achievement. The Eitan would be able to widen Israel's surveillance capabilities, which currently are provided by the Ofek series of spy satellites concentrated on Iran's nuclear program.

The latest, Ofek 9, was launched June 22, 2010, from Palmachim air force base south of Tel Aviv. Like its predecessors, Ofek 9 was built by IAI, with Elbit Systems' El-Op division providing the optical payload.

However, the $5 million state-of-the-art Eitan, as the long arm of the Israeli air force, is widely believed to have been used in early 2011 to carry out missile attacks on convoys carrying Iranian arms across Sudan bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Israel is a world leader in developing advanced UAV, along with the United States, and is now the largest exporter of unmanned systems.

The Globes business daily observed that "the air force has been expanding its UAV fleet and missions for years, which now carry out a quarter of all missions -- a proportion that's likely to grow."

Eitan became operational with the air force in 2010 and three squadrons are now reported to be equipped with it.

The Flying Elephant's still under development. The system, silent and guided by a GPS system, is due to be operational within 4-5 years.

"Logistics UAVs are intended as a response to the rising threat faced by pilots ferrying and parachuting supplies to combat troops as well as a response to the difficulty in opening ground routes for trucks carrying supplies to the forces in the field," Globes reported.


Related Links
UAV News - Suppliers and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Israel's IAI 'wins $958M India drone deal'
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Oct 12, 2012
Israel Aerospace Industries, flagship of the Jewish state's defense sector, is reported to have secured a $958 million contract from India's military to upgrade its IAI-built Heron and Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles. UAVs are one of the biggest money-spinners for Israel's defense industry and India, which is engaged in a massive multiyear rearmament program, is a key customer. ... read more

University of Tennessee study confirms solar wind as source for moon water

Russia to launch lunar mission in 2015

Moon water could have solar source: study

Solar wind particles likely source of water locked inside lunar soils

NMSU Graduate Student Looks For Indications Of Life On Mars In Possible Trace Methane Gas

Rover's Second Scoop Discarded, Third Scoop Commanded

Robotic Arm Tools Get To Work On Rock Outcrop

Curiosity Preparing for Second Scoop

Austrian space diver no stranger to danger

Baumgartner feat boosts hopes for imperilled astronauts

Austrian breaks sound barrier in record space jump

Austrian daredevil to make new space jump bid

China launches civilian technology satellites

ChangE-2 Mission To Lagrange L2 Point

Meeting of heads of ESA and China Manned Space Agency

China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

Crew Unloads Dragon, Finds Treats

Station Crew Opens Dragon Hatch

NASA and International Partners Approve Year Long ISS Stay

Year on ISS planned ahead of manned Mars mission

AFSPC commander convenes AIB

Proton Lofts Intelsat 23 For Americas, Europe and Africa Markets

India to launch 58 space missions in next 5 years

SpaceX Dragon Successfully Attaches To Space Station

Ultra-Compact Planetary System Is A Touchstone For Understanding New Planet Population

Nearest Star Has Earth Mass Planet

Distant planet found circling with 4 stars

Nearby Super-Earth Likely a Diamond Planet

ESA deploys first orbital debris test radar in Spain

Boeing Proposes Gas Clouds to Remove Space Debris

Microsoft to price new tablet near same as iPad

UNH scientists provide window on space radiation hazards

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement