The Israel-based defense electronics company Elbit Systems announced August 15 it has developed a new autonomous Mini Unmanned Aircraft System (Mini-UAS) specifically designed and built for martime applications.
Based on the already operational Skylark I Mini UAS, the new Skylark C transforms and extends the operational capabilities of its land-based counterpart into an organic maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) asset.
Elbit Systems said the system features a waterproof and floating air vehicle that provides even small vessels an organic offboard surveillance capability that can be deployed and retrieved in less than 15 minutes.
The company further added that the electrically-propelled air vehicle has a very low visual and acoustic signature and uses an inertial navigation system (INS) and a stabilized electro-optical (EO) payload with a high resolution thermal imager and color daylight camera that enables continuous day/night monitoring in diverse weather conditions.
Retrieval of the UAS after the mission is enabled through an autonomous parachute-based recovery and the system needs two operators for operation.
“Until recently, the ability to achieve real-time maritime situational awareness and ISTAR capabilities in a short period of time and with minimal resources remained a significant gap,” commented Elad Aharonson, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR Division . “Now, with Skylark C, small-scale naval crews, such as special operations forces and coast guard patrols, can capture mission-critical information using a truly intuitive and organic system, and as a result significantly improve their operational effectiveness.”