Warplanes: Dominator Chases Sky Warrior


August 6, 2009: The Dominator 2, Israel’s ‘Strategic’ Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, has conducted a series of test flights ranging between 2 and 4 hours. The all composite aircraft is a derivative of the twin engine Diamond DA42 Twin Star general aviation aircraft.

Codenamed ‘Oz’ and manufactured by Aeronautics Defense Systems, the UAV is 8.5 meters long, with a 13.5 meter wingspan and weighing two tons ( with a .4 ton payload). Speed varies from a minimum of 138 kilometers an hour to a maximum of 351. Maximum altitude is 30,000 feet. Endurance is 28 hours.

A multitude of sensors such as electro-optical/infrared and synthetic aperture radar may be carried. A dummy turret for fitting the Electro-Optical/IR sensor flew on the tests. Initial cost is yet to be determined

For those preferring a piloted version of the DA42, Diamond and Rheinmettall Defense Electronics is offering a reconnaissance/surveillance type designated OPALE. (Optional Piloted Aircraft Long Endurance.)

The U.S already uses similar aircraft in the Sky Warrior and Global Hawk. Sky Warrior has a wingspan of 56 ft (17 meters), length of 28 feet (8 meters) and  weight of 3,200 lb (1.451 tons), payload of 575 pounds (.261 ton), max Altitude of 29,000 feet, endurance of over 30 hours. Max speed of 250 kilometers an hour.

Global Hawk has a wingspan of 116.2 feet, length: 44.4 feet, payload of 2,000 pounds, max altitude of 65,000 feet, max Speed of 730 kilometers an hour, and endurance of 42 hours. -- Mike Perry