from the October 2009 issue

Israeli firm makes UAVs for U.S.

Israel-based Aeronautics Defense Systems will build two additional demonstrators for the unmanned version of the two-engine, propeller-driven Diamond DA42 for the U.S. market, according to Flight Global.

The company's president, Avi Leumi, was quoted as saying that the decision followed a first string of test flights in July.

"We will resume the test flights in September," Leumi said. But at the same time, he added, "we will prepare a marketing effort to potential customers, mainly in the USA."

In July, the prototype of the Aeronautics Dominator-2 "Oz" unmanned air vehicle flew for the first time, according to Flight Global.

The Israeli firm had converted the DA42 into a UAV powered by two Thielert diesel engines. It can be equipped with a variety of payloads.

The Dominator-2 is built to carry a payload of 400 kilograms for 28 hours, with a line-of-sight range of 300 kilometers.

Developed in less than a year by the Yavne-based Israeli firm, the Dominator is a light commercial aircraft converted into a strategic, multi-mission UAV.

With a wingspan of 13.5 meters, it is designed to fly up to 190 knots per hour at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet.

"We are very careful to work within the limitations of MTCR (the Missile Technology Control Regime)," said Itay Sherman, director for marketing and communications. "This way, the Dominator we are able to offer high performance on a proven, existing airframe to as many customers as a possible around the world."

Sherman said the size, quality and endurance of the system "is designed from the outset to operate safely and in coordination with civil aviation authorities on a full spectrum of missions."

He estimated that over the next decade, the Dominator could generate "sums of $1 billion and above."

Leumi said the UAV was an important addition to the company's swelling portfolio of UAVs, which now span the spectrum of tactical support to long-endurance, strategic missions, according to Defense News.

In recent weeks the company has also unveiled another non-flying prototype based on a commercial helicopter by Dynali SA Helicopters of Belgium. Called Picador, the prototype is aimed at the ground and maritime defense market, Sherman said.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report October 2009

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