Published On: Tue, Jan 10th, 2017

Israeli micro-observation balloon collects visual intelligence

The latest Israeli observation balloon has new and improved features allowing for high-resolution image-based intelligence gathering and automated tracking of both mobile and stationary targets.

 Israeli micro-observation balloon collects visual intelligence photo-idf-spokespersons-unit-2
Yavne-based, Israeli observation balloon manufacturer RT has recently completed development of a micro-observation balloon dubbed the Skystar 110. The balloon is designed to collect high resolution, image-based intelligence while assisting ground units in operations.

According to RT, the balloon has not yet been acquired by the IDF, but security institutions from around the world have already expressed interest in the device. The balloon is much smaller than existing models that are currently in use by the IDF in the West Bank, the Gaza border area, Lebanon and the Sinai.



The micro design is part of a wider trend in the defense establishment, with the IDF already employing micro-drones and other intelligence-gathering devices to obtain information on the enemy in the field.

Despite its size—weighing just six kilograms, including the portable ground control device—the operation range is five kilometers at 500 meters for approximately eight hours.

The balloon comes with a navigation system and digital map allowing for the ability to mark targets during both day and night. The process of switching the balloon’s power supply only takes several minutes and there is a more advanced system capable of allowing the balloon to stay 72 hours in the air.



As opposed to larger observation balloons currently in use by the IDF and Israel Police, the Skystar 110 is not hardwired to the ground in a fixed position. Rather, the balloon is compact and has the ability to be launched from anywhere within 15 minutes, allowing authorities to gather visual information.

In an interview with RT CEO Rami Shmueli, Shmueli explained, “The balloon’s camera zoom is advanced enough that it allows for observation and monitoring capabilities even in the dark and furthermore, enables automated tracking of mobile and stationary targets.”

By Ynet News

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