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At EXPODEFENSA 2019 MON was able to examine a SpyLite in service with the Colombian National Police (CNP). This is an extended performance electric mini-unmanned aircraft system (UAS), optimized to provide covert, ‘over-the-hill’ or extended-range real-time visual intelligence. Eyal Navarro, BlueBird Aero System’s Sales Director, tapping the fuselage to show its durability, spoke about the system’s unique ability to fly even in severe weather. This assures high operational availability: the UAS has an endurance of 3-4 hours and a range of over 50km, which can be extended up to 80. It is fully autonomous, easy to use and highly reliable, providing a very versatile and stable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. Used by the Israeli Defense Forces since 2006, it is now employed by the CNP and several other operators.

BlueBird also showcased THUNDER B, a 32Kg, 4m wing-span tactical UAS with a 24-hours endurance capability and extended control range up to 150km. This small UAS is a perfect Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) platform, offering triple CCD, cooled IR and optional laser pointer payload. It is ideal for on-demand mapping of open area as well as urban missions for military, peace keeping, low intensity conflict, security, law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster management and commercial applications. It can carry small cargo capsules under each wing, which can be released automatically or at operator command. The capsule can reach the target with high accuracy following a ballistic trajectory or can be dropped with the aid of a small parachute to prevent damage to fragile items.

WANDER B VTOL is interesting in that provides a vertical take-off and landing option, even in strong winds and on cloudy or rainy days, assuring high operational availability for up to 2.5 hours over a range of up to 50km. It is an electric, mini UAS optimized to facilitate covert, ‘over-the-hill’ operations or extensive day-and-night ISR missions in real time. It is integrated with day and IR stabilized payloads, as well as a variety of payloads such as photogrammetric, multi-spectral or radiometric mapping cameras, making it a highly effective means for providing airborne ISR or mapping on demand.

Uvision, on the other hand, showcased the HERO family, a range of lethal loitering solutions for deployment from air, land and sea. It incorporates advanced airborne guidance, a unique cruciform configuration, navigation systems, abort and recovery capabilities, embedded simulators and C4 stations fully integrated with high-speed data links. Tal Shprung, simulator instructor, demonstrated its operational effectiveness. Shprung served in the IDF as a SPIKE missile instructor. At EXPODEFENSA, she demonstrated the HERO-30, a man-portable, short-range, lethal loitering system which consists of a launcher, a man-packed tube (much like any portable antitank missile launcher) containing a loitering munition, a communication device/antenna and an operator control unit. The HERO-30 is capable of speeds of up to 100kts and is ideal for anti-personnel missions. It has a weight of 3kg, with a 500g warhead and endurance of 30 mins.

The smallest of the family is the HERO 20, a man-portable and extremely light-weight smart loitering system. It is deployable within minutes, is capable of loitering for 20 minutes and is ideal for anti-personnel missions. It has a weight of 18kg, with a 200g warhead and a 10km range. HERO-1250 refers to the largest UAS in UVision’s fleet of tactical systems. The 125kg system carries an extremely lethal 30kg warhead to ranges of up to 200km. HERO features high-speed transit flight and low-speed loitering, depending on mission requirement. Automated flight to target areas allows simple user-friendly control; final targets are visually selected ensuring full mission control. The loitering munition provides for high precision strikes, making for a cost-effective weapon with minimal collateral damage.

BlueBird Aero Systems’ SpyLite on show at EXPODEFENSA. (Photo: Julio Montes)

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