The Israeli Defence Forces have selected Elbit Systems' Skylark 1 LE unmanned air vehicle for its infantry battalions. The numbers to be ordered have not been revealed though the initial contract will be worth around $30 million, defence ministry sources have said.
The contract will provide options to increase the deal's value to $100 million.
The Skylark I LE is based on the accumulated experience acquired by the Skylark I, in thousands of operational hours performed, in various battlefields, including Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to Elbit, the mini man-pack UAV system is well suited for very close range, over-the-hill missions. The system is especially designed for counter-terror applications.
Elbit says the system is performance-proven in cloudy, rainy and windy weather conditions, and that it has demonstrated excellent optical survey, target identification and surveillance capabilities. The Skylark I features a gyroscopic-stabilized gimbaled payload and a high degree of autonomous flight from take-off to precise recovery, yielding real-time intelligence at an affordable price.
This configuration, equipped with algorithms derived from larger Hermes UAVs, can track fixed and moving targets, which Elbit says is an impressive capability for a hand launched UAV.
Skylark I can be used for both defence and homeland security applications including perimeter security, border and coastal surveillance, anti-terrorism surveillance and a variety of law enforcement missions.
Skylark I has already accumulated more than 3000 successful operational sorties and is currently operationally active in several theatres of the global war on terror. It set a new world record in high altitude flights, climbing to an altitude exceeding 16,000 feet and has demonstrated outstanding performance in weather conditions ranging from arctic to equatorial weather.
It is equipped with Elbit Systems' new-generation night payload. Weighing only 700 grams, the thermal payload is the lightest in its class. The payload's capabilities include very wide area coverage, continuous tracking of moving targets and a higher resolution rate than any of its predecessors.
Skylark I is already operational with the Israeli Defense Force's and several other armed forces.