Warplanes: Ravens Israeli Big Brother


December 23,2008: 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.

Like the 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.





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