מטוס ללא טייס: הטייס נשאר בבית
המוצר: כלי טיס אוטומטיים ללא טייס
המפתחים: מפעל מל"ט החברה: התעשייה האווירית
תחילת הפיתוח: 1974
Product: Automated Pilotless Aircraft
Developers: MALAT Division Company: IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries)
Start of Development: 1974
They say that modern warfare is characterized by the distance between fighters on either side of the conflict. Today, the front line is often behind computer screens. In response to a request placed by the Israeli Air Force, the IAI began developing miniature UAVs in 1974. Its first UAV, the Zahavan (Hebrew for Oriole) was put into use in 1980. Zahavan UAVs were a great success over the battlefields of Lebanon where they were launched for operational missions, significantly helping to uncover enemy forces and to gather vital intelligence.
Following this success, the developers were asked to extend the time the UAVs could spend aloft, to increase their cruise altitude, and to improve their carrying capacity. The summer of 1988 saw the preliminary development of the Searcher. The new system integrated the improved performance of the ground control station, with a new equipped electro-optical payload.
The improved Searcher II was first launched in the service of the IDF in February 1996. The Searcher III was developed in 2006, further improving upon the UAV’s performance, reliability, payload, maximum cruising altitude, and time aloft.
The achievements of the UAV enterprise in the development of three generations of miniature UAVs led to the development of a larger UAV, the Shoval (Hebrew for Heron), which debuted in 1994. The Shoval became the global model for UAV development.
Shoval is a fourth-generation multi-purpose UAV designed for strategic missions. It is capable of performing long-range operations and can remain aloft for up to 50 hours in almost any weather conditions. Its maximum weight is 1,270 kg, and it can carry a total payload of approximately 250 kg. The system is suitable for military missions and for a variety of civilian applications, allowing real-time observation, electronic intelligence, communication relays, etc.
Since 2000, Shoval has been a flagship product of the UAV enterprise and has been sold to dozens of clients across the globe. In 2007, the IAI released the Eitan (the Heron TP), a large UAV. All UAVs operated by the IAI are equipped with systems that enable automatic take-off and landing.