To dominate from the air – is that possible?

This is one dilemma that armed forces around the world have faced since modern warfare has been recorded and investigated.

This dilemma can be summed in one simple sentence: can air power achieve a continuous dominance of a defined territory?

Israel Aerospace Industries claims that with the right systems, the answer to that question is positive, and that it also offers the tools.

The current doctrine used by the Israel Defense Forces is that a ground force has to keep a continuous presence in the defined area, with the air force supporting from above when called in.

IAI offers a new doctrine and the tools to perform it . Colonel (Res) Ofer Haruvi , a senior consultant to IAI’s military aircraft group, explains that the current doctrine costs a lot of lives: “The IDF evaluated the new proposed doctrine but went back to the old one. Now we offer it again but this time we offer the tools to perform it.”

Haruvi explains that by using unmanned air systems, hovering intelligence platforms and stand-off sensors on aircraft, the air force can achieve the needed sustained dominance

“Some of these aerial systems should be operated by the infantry and become part of the sensors that create the big picture. But by doing so the ground force can stay in safe areas and move in only when the targets are well defined and precisely located.”

Haruvi specifies some of the new systems developed by IAI to enable the IDF’s proposed change of doctrine. One is the Panther tilt rotor UAS.

The Panther uses an innovative automatic flight control system that controls the transitions between the hovering take-off phase to forward flight and vice versa before landing.

The Panther takes off and lands automatically by a simple click of the operator console, thus eliminating the need for an external pilot.

 

According to IAI, the Panther is powered by three ultra-quiet electrical motors.

The Panther has a take-off weight of 65kg and an endurance of six hours. The Mini Panther is only 12kg when taking off and its endurance is two hours.

The second such tool is the IAI ETOP hovering aerial vehicle, a purely electrically powered, tethered, airborne platform that can be used for observation, surveillance and other applications.

 
The HAV can carry a payload of up to 20kg and operate up to a maximum altitude of 100m.

ETOP combines an electrically powered aerial platform and a ground system that includes the means for automatic deployment, cables, and a mission management unit.

The third tool that Haruvi mentions is the Ghost vertical take-off UAS that was partially unveiled recently. Haruvi also mentions the Harlim, a solar-powered UAS that takes off when the fighting starts and is in the air for its duration.

The senior consultant also mentions a Butterfly micro UAS with flapping wings, and the Mosquito super mini UAS that is under extensive development.

“We offer the change of doctrine when we have the right tools to perform it. We are sure that this will bring a serious discussion.”

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