DEFEXPO 2004 – UAVs

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Israeli companies demonstrated a high profile in DEFEXPO, evident to the warming relations between India and Israel and the growing volume of defense exports between the two countries. One of the hottest issues was UAVs – India has already bought Searcher and Heron systems from IAI. The company displayed here a wide range of payloads that can be fitted with these UAVs, including a SAR, maritime patrol radar and ESM payloads. More Israeli companies are trying to interest India in UAV designs – in this year’s event, both Elbit Systems and RAFAEL demonstrated their UAV capabilities, with the introduction of the miniature Skylark systems. (Both RAFAEL and Elbit chose the same name for their mini UAV programs). Another miniature UAV – I-SEE was unveiled here, for the first time by IAI. Elbit has also brought a full scale model of the Hermes 180 close range UAV, designed for brigade and division level. EMIT brought to India its field proven systems, including the Blue Horizon and Sparrow. Another new system from Elbit was the tactical satellite communications terminal, demonstrated here I live operation for the first time. The system resulted from cooperation between Elbit and Gilat Satellite Communications Company. It can link to any satellite and integrate tactical networks with voice or data communications, over long ranges via satellite relays. Elbit has also developed and tested a special podded satellite link, mounted on top of the fuselage of medium and large UAVs such as the Hermes 1500 and Hermes 450. This installation does not limit the range or performance of the UAV but extends it range to the maximum range, well beyond the communications range of existing terrestrial datalinks. RAFAEL also presented the Stalker system, proposed for border security and tactical surveillance roles.