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Israel Aircraft Industries Shows Off Latest Unmanned Aerial Systems At Florida Show



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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is presenting its advanced unmanned systems this week at the 2014 Unmanned Systems exhibition taking place in Orlando, Florida. IAI will feature unique unmanned systems which allow area dominance over thousands of square miles, as well as innovative electro-optical capabilities for every mission – from air to sea.

The displays will include the new Super Heron, which is the latest addition to the Heron UAS family; Ghost and Mini Panther unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The company recently claimed that its Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have accumulated a total of over one million operational flight hours worldwide. The Super-Heron was first shown at the Singapore air show in February.


Joseph Weiss, the President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, said: “IAI is a global leader in developing comprehensive unmanned systems, offering the widest range of combat-proven systems from tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to strategic operations. Our systems have proven operational success with over 50 different users in five continents, including North America, and, of course, with the Israel Air Force.”

One of the divisions of IAI, Israel Defense Industries, is Stark Aerospace which is an American company based in Columbus Mississippi, and which also operates globally. Stark currently operates three divisions: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Sensors, and Engineering.

Stark’s UAS division manufactures UAS products and, in addition, provides flight services for them as well. Stark currently produces the Heron and the Hunter MQ-5B Unmanned Aerial Systems.
The Hunter is a Tactical UAS that has to date flown over 100, 000 hours in support of the Global War on Terror.

Now Stark is launching its own new, hand launched, single operator tactical UAS at this week’s Unmanned Systems exhibition taking place in Orlando, Florida.

The new “ArrowLite” was designed, developed and manufactured by Stark Aerospace as its first 100% American designed, developed and manufactured UAS with support from the US Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office. Stark had received a contract to develop the ArrowLiteTM system for use by special operations and counter terrorism small tactical units. So far Thirteen of the new systems, consisting of a total of thirty-nine air vehicles, associated ground support equipment, and spare parts have already been delivered.


Stark Aerospace is also displaying in the Florida the recently announced StarkLite 200, a high performance, multi-sensor, miniature electro-optical payload for sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems). The package provides enhanced image capabilities for mini-, and micro UAVs and other observation systems. It is small, light-weight, and robust with features previously available only on larger, more expensive such payloads.

StarkLite 200 is a miniature 2-axis gyro stabilized payload equipped with a visible camera, a thermal camera, a laser pointer and a 10MP still capability. It has continuous zoom, LOS data measurement and multiple observation and tracking modes. The new payload was developed by NextVision, an Israeli company with whom Stark has an agreement to market, produce and support the StarkLite 200 payload in the American market.

Just a month ago IAI also successfully launched the advanced OFEK 10 surveillance satellite into orbit, which is carrying advanced synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology with advanced high-resolution imagery, capable of operating day or night and in all weather conditions. IAI is also responsible for development of Israel’s Arrow 3 anti-missile defence system.

As a leading international defence company IAI also makes money, though not yet as much as it probably should – with net income for 2013 of US$75 million on US$3.6 billion in sales. As a 100% state owned enterprise currently, meeting Israel’s defends needs has historically, and of course quite correctly, been its number one priority. However there is in the long term no contradiction between the two mandates, and one can infer that this is likely well understood now by the company’s management.

As Rafi Maor the company’s Chairman has put it, with the earnings report, “we conclude 2013 with a large increase in sales and with an impressive order backlog equivalent to 2.8 years of operation. This backlog consists of quality strategic contracts that form a solid basis for the Company’s continued growth. During 2013, the Company raised debentures totaling NIS 1.2 billion, reflecting the investors’ trust and confidence in the company.”




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