Warplanes: Israeli Predator Competitor


p> March 12, 2007: The Israeli Air Force received the first of a new generation of Heron UAVs. This model, called Shoval, is basically a direct competitor to the American Predator A (or MQ0-1). The Shoval weighs about the same (1.2 tons), and has the same endurance (40 hours). Shoval has a slightly higher ceiling (30,000, versus 25,000 feet) and software which allows it to automatically take off, carry out a mission, and land automatically. Only the larger, and much more expensive, American Global Hawk can do this. Both Predator and Shoval cost about the same ($5 million), although the Israelis are willing to be flexible on price. The Shoval does have a larger wingspan (51 feet) than the Predator (41 feet.)


Israel has long been a leader in UAV development, and the Predator incorporates many Israeli innovations. Israeli uses its UAVs extensively for military operations, and has a major export customer in India. American manufacturers cannot keep up with orders from the Pentagon, much less foreign ones, so Israel wants to get some of the export market for Predator class UAVs.