Elbit Systems, a defense technology firm, has announced the Skylark 3, a new autonomous mini-Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), best suited for brigades and divisions in “beyond the next hill” reconnaissance, counterinsurgency and force protection missions, as well as for use in a range of civil applications, such as border and coastal security and anti-terror operations. The new system has already been selected by an undisclosed customer.
Leveraging the proven technology and operational experience of the Skylark family of mini-UAS, Skylark 3 offers a wide range of system enhancements, including a significantly larger range (more than 100 km), flight endurance (up to 6 hours) and payload capacity (up to 10 kg). Launched via a pneumatic launcher, mounted either on the ground or on a vehicle, Skylark 3 offers upgrades such as improved payloads with better target detection, classification and surveillance capabilities. These deliver superior Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) video and photographic imaging in both day and night operations and in adverse field conditions. The aerial vehicle incorporates an electric motor which reduces sound signature and enables operating over long distances and at high altitudes, has a 4.8 m wingspan and a maximum takeoff weight of 45 kg. It has a service ceiling of 15,000 ft.
To support interoperability, Skylark 3 uses the same advanced technologies and know-how found in other Elbit Systems UAS. In addition, through a shared GCS, two Skylark 3 vehicles can be assigned to the same mission simultaneously, meaning a consistent target acquisition is maintained from two aspects. This also offers ground forces the ability to significantly extend the flight endurance of their mission by UAS hot-swap.
Elad Aharonson, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR Division commented: “Skylark 3, the latest addition to our family of ultra-lightweight UAS, delivers brigade-level and division-level units, an ideal solution for carrying out complex ISTAR missions in a truly organic network-centric manner. Its easy launch, autonomous maneuverability and control, coupled with its cutting-edge payload technology, provide ground force commanders unrivaled situational awareness and enhanced force protection capabilities, ultimately allowing them to make faster, smarter and more cost-effective decisions.”