Israel Aerospace Industries demonstrates capabilities of its unmanned and autonomous systems



Unmanned systems from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have successfully completed a “proof of concept” to high officials of the defense industry and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The Air Hopper unmanned helicopter, which was recently developed by IAI and is mainly used for providing “fast logistic supplies to sites where ground access is difficult or dangerous,” took part in a two-scenario demonstration.

One scenario simulated carrying a soldier that was seriously injured to an extraction point for “life-saving treatment, airborne monitoring of vital signs and real-time dispatch to the ground.”

The second scenario simulated “carrying logistic supplies to an isolated force at the front line” which wouldn't be accessible without putting more troops at risk.

The Air Hopper runs on an internal combustion engine, which uses “ordinary, 95-octane fuel.” Because it is significantly cheaper than a manned transport helicopter, multiple unmanned helicopters can be purchased to “achieve flexible deployment and low-cost provisioning to the front lines while significantly mitigating the risk to human lives.”

Some unique characteristics of the Air Hopper, which is based on a small, manned helicopter, include a 100-180 kilogram payload depending on the model, a flight time of two hours and speed of up to 120 kilometers/hour.

The “autonomous tactical system for logistic convoys” is the answer to transporting logistic equipment to the battlefield during warfare “while preventing loss of lives and minimizing the risks faced by logistic convoys en route.”

To ensure safety, the operator using the autonomous system can overlook the execution of the mission, as well as the convoy's vehicles, live and in real time, from an area outside of the threat range of the battlefield.

Thanks to the System’s open architecture, it is compatible with a variety of platforms without the need for special adaptations. This maintains the performance level of the vehicle “concurrently with the weight capacity of the platform.”

The system moves “independently and precisely” over long ranges of time, during day or night, and in difficult field conditions or in any type of weather, “without compromising the quality of performances required to successfully complete its mission.”

Thanks to the system being delivered with a sophisticated control system, it can manage a variety of other operational capabilities like vehicle control, updating the convoy's behavior attributes, and real time receipt of mission data and a data communication system that allows it to communicate with the vehicles.

“Both systems proof of concept step is an important milestone for IAI in the world of unmanned vehicles, developing the future battlefield and in offering optimal unmanned operational solutions that minimize the risk to human lives as much as possible,” says Shaul Shahar, Corporate V.P. & General Manager, IAI Military Aircraft Group.

“I believe these developments will open many doors for us in local and global markets, military and civilian alike.”