After four years of evaluation and further development, the Israeli Army
has adopted the Skylark 1 LE UAV as standard equipment for its combat
battalions. While Skylark began as a slightly larger rival for the popular U.S.
Raven (a 4.3 pound aircraft with one hour endurance), the Israelis found that a
slightly larger UAV (15 pounds, three hours endurance) fit the needs of battalion
and company commanders better. Each Skylark system consists of three aircraft,
three vidcams (two day, one night) and a ground control unit (a laptop and some
radio gear). The Skylark can fly as high as 450 meters (1500 feet) and operate
up to 30 kilometers from the operator.
Raven, Skylark is battery operated, and very quiet. It is launched with an
elastic cord (a bungee cord will do), and lands with the help of a reusable
airbag. The army will be buying several hundred systems, with each battalion
getting two or more systems. Skylark has already been exported to countries
that have used the UAV in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several Israeli police and paramilitary organizations have also been
using Skylark over the past four years, and the system has proved very useful
for counter-terror operations.