Tuesday, 05 Oct, 2010 Technology
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Israel Researchers Develop Vertical Takeoff and Landing UAV

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The latest invention from researchers at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is a next-generation UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). The vehicle's flight capabilities represent a fusion of an airplane with helicopter-like hovering.

Dubbed Panther, the aircraft features a tilt-rotor propeller. It can perform a vertical takeoff and landing using the VTOL system.

"The Panther [can be] controlled by one operator, [although] the C&C station [supports] two operators: [one] to [manage] the station and [the other to] oversee tactical missions," mentioned IAI CEO Itzhak Nissan.

He also said that the Panther takes off and lands automatically - all that is needed is to click the operator console. The automatic flight control system controls the transition between the vertical takeoff stage to forward flight and vice versa.

It was said that the Panther weights about 65 kilograms and can stay a lot for 6 hours, flying at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet, with an operation radius of over 60 kilometers.

It is worth mentioning that the UAV includes IAI's Mini-POP (Plug-in Optronic Payload), a day/night stabilized camera with a laser range finder, pointer and laser designator, informs TG Daily.

Nissan pointed out that because of its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, the aircraft can become a very important player on the tactical battlefield. He also said that the team managed to carry out a number of tests of several prototypes of the Panther platform. The UAV is expected to be fully functional by 2011.

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