What are your biggest goals in the field of unmanned systems over the next few years?
Gilat is focused on providing satcom solutions for group three and group four UAVs. Most group three platforms do not currently have satcom onboard but will be expected to support this technology as requirements for extended flight duration and distance grow. Gilat’s UAV solutions are especially suited to this market, because they feature fully integrated terminals with very compact SWaP (size, weight and power).
Our goal is to become the satcom supplier of choice to the main manufacturers of these aircrafts.
Where do you see the industry going in the next decade?
Whereas UAVs and USVs were until now considered expensive, complicated to operate and therefore confined mainly to military use, technology has evolved and made them much more affordable and easy to use.
We at Gilat foresee huge demand for small- and medium-sized UAVs and USVs, which lend themselves to diverse applications that require satcom for remote operation in distant locations. Such applications include homeland security, disaster recovery, border control and even safe cities, where we expect unmanned platforms to be utilized extensively. As this technology becomes more readily available, new uses will also be found.
What role do you see your company playing in that future?
As a premier satcom solution provider, with 25-plus years’ experience, Gilat provides UAV/USV solutions for beyond-line-of-sight (BloS) operation. Our technology will extend these platforms’ operation perimeter, especially in remote, infrastructure-challenged areas. We believe that satcom will become a critical enabler in this market.
What do you see as major challenges to the unmanned systems industry?
As the number of platforms is expected to grow exponentially, the main challenge I see is regulation and coordination. We need directives to regulate aerial platforms, just like in today’s military and commercial aviation. There will be safety, privacy and licensing issues to deal with, and it is not clear today who will police and enforce them and how they will police and enforce.
What makes AUVSI membership attractive to your company?
AUVSI has given us opportunities to get in touch with potential customers and industry players. At the last AUVSI exhibition that Gilat attended in Florida, we gained great product exposure, as well as learned what others are doing. AUVSI membership is key to understanding what this market requires today and in the future.