Wednesday, August 02, 2006

 

Not just any toy

Canadian Army has purchased several Mini UAV's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for use in Afghanistan.

The Press Releases say they are the Skylark II. I couldn't find a photo of that particular one, this is a photo from the manufactures web site of the Skylark IV.

I'll be very curious to see some of the after action reports back from their use. I hope they will enable our troops to accomplish their mission with increased security.
I am kinda curious why a canadian version wasn't purchased though, probably none available.

I recently read where a canadian R/C airplane won a contest for crop surveying. While it isn't specifically designed for military use like the Skylark the technology would seem to be there. Sorry couldn't find any links to that story.

This one does seem to be very capable though they even have a small gyro for stability built in. I'm sure that will be appreciated in the unpredictable winds of the Afghan mountains. As well it will compensate for the steep learning curve of flying a R/C model airplane hopefully. The electric motor will also be a bonus whisper quiet and if it is one of those newer ones very efficient on the energy use. With a range of 70 KM's i'm guessing it does. Too bad they didn't incorporate solar panels it would have an unlimited range as long as the receiver and sender unit could stay in contact.

http://www.defense-update.com/products/s/skylark1-uav.htm
Elbit has developed the Skylark miniature UAVs, a manpacked system designed for tactical close-range surveillance and reconnaissance missions, artillery fire adjustments as well as force protection and perimeter security.

The mini UAV is quickly assembled before the mission and is launched by hand. Recovery is performed by a deep stall maneuver, which lands the vehicle safely on a small inflatable cushion, at a pre-designated point. the cushion is designed to protect the payload on landing. The entire mission is flown autonomously, feeding real-time continuous video and telemetry data to the portable ruggedized ground station. Its wings and tail surfaces are constructed of a lightweight composites, the fuselage tubular boom is also made of composites. The avionics and payload systems are contained in a pod carried below the boom. The gimbaled payload utilizes a daylight CCD or an optional FLIR for night operation, which can be rotated by four gimbals. In February 2004 Elbit won an IDF Ground Forces Command contract to supply the Skylark for evaluation and testing as an organic UAV system, to be operated by infantry units. Skylark has since entered operational service with selected IDF units, used for operational testing and doctrine development and evaluation.

Skylark IV uses a miniature gyro stabilized payload weighing only 500gr. The payload was developed by Elbit Systems specifically for MAV applications. It consists of a daylight color CCD. When fitted with night-camera, the payload's weight doubles to one kilogram. Payload-vehicle integration enables simple and intuitive operation in holding position, as the payload "looks" at a designated point while the UAV circles above to maintain a continuous cover, and camera guide, where the user designates a target or rout to be followed by the payload and aircraft. Image obtained by the camera are overlaid on the integrated map situational display.
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