By adding hybrid propulsion to its Skylark 3 military drones, Elbit has tripled the endurance of the small tactical unmanned aerial system and extended its operation time to 18 hours. The combustion engine is used to fly rapidly to the area of interest, then the electrical engine is switched on while flying above the site.
Elbit engineers managed to equip the aircraft with both engines without changing the craft’s size or weight, yet significantly increasing its mission effectiveness and cost efficiency. The twin engine architecture enables one to back up the other, providing greater reliability and safety. The higher endurance provides forces with greater capacity to hover above the area of interest and requires fewer platforms to execute the same mission.
The new hybrid version is based on Elbit’s Skylark family of drones that have been ordered by 27 countries. Skylark 3 Hybrid has a 4.7m wingspan, a maximum takeoff weight of 50kg, service ceiling of 12,000ft and a range of 120km. It features dual payload capacity with a plug-and-play interface for a quick replacement of sensors in the field.
It can carry a range of payloads and is operated by a two-person crew. It is launched via a pneumatic launcher and can be mounted on a vehicle or vessel. Based in Haifa, Israel, Elbit Systems presented the hybrid at this year’s Singapore Air Show, Asia’s largest air show. For more info, see www.elbitsystems.com.