Israeli Air Force unveils next generation of UAVs
09 October 2007The Israel Air Force presented its next generation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) on Monday. These included its largest UAV, the Eitan, and Efroni, which is it''s smallest.
A High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) UAV, the Eitan, according to Israeli defence officials, is in the final stages of development and should be operational within a year. Equal in size to a Boeing 737, the Eitan can carry up to 1 ton of equipment, and is quite simply the biggest and most sophisticated UAV built in the country.
Weighing 4.5 tons, the Eitan, can climb to an altitude of 45,000 feet and stay aloft for up to 24 hours, travelling very long distances in that duration. It can be used in secret operations, as it is a very quiet aircraft, in spite of its size.
The Efroni is the smallest craft used by the Israeli Air Force and became operational six months ago. It is used mainly to provide pinpoint information in the operations of ground units.
The Israeli Defence Forces use the UAVs in a range of missions, and very soon they will add a new mission profile, as they are deployed for maritime reconnaissance patrols, a task that so far was carried out only by manned aircraft.