Warplanes: The Ghost That Hovers

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February 27, 2011: An Israeli UAV manufacturer (of the Heron series) has developed a four kilogram (8.8 pound) tilt-rotor UAV. The engines swivel for takeoff and landing, as well as for hovering. Called the Ghost, the UAV can operate for about an hour per sortie, go up to four kilometers from its operator and move as fast as 60 kilometers an hour, or just hover. The battery powered UAV is virtually silent, and carries day and night vidcams (which can be seen on the operator's console).

The Ghost is the second UAV to use this new tilt-rotor technology. Late last year, a larger version, Panther, was announced. This one has two electric props. IAI plans to offer a range of models, with wingspans from two meters (6.2 feet) to 8 meters (25 feet). The initial working prototype had six meter (18.6 foot) wings and fuel cells that give it an endurance of six hours. This model has an eight kilogram (17.6 pound) payload that can carry day/night vidcams and a laser designator.

The electric motors mean that the UAV is very quiet, an important consideration if the UAV is hovering at low altitude to keep an eye on something. This is important for use in urban areas, where a hovering UAV can view things concealed from a high flying UAV. The tilt rotor capability eliminates any difficulties in takeoff and landing, and makes this UAV ideal for operating off warships.

 


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