When rumours persist, they're either false or they really do have a solid factual basis. The latest doing the rounds claim that two Israeli aerospace companies have purchased some Diamond DA-42 aircraft as platforms for special missions platforms.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems are not commenting on the rumours but sources say that the two-engine aircraft that became a successful unmanned air system (UAS) thanks to the efforts of Aeronautics Defense Systems , has spurred the interest of the two big companies.
It is not clear whether IAI or Elbit Systems evaluate the D-42 as a potential platform for a UAS or that they evaluate it as a low-priced manned platform for carrying different payloads.
Sources said that the evaluation may be also focused on the option of using the D-42 for optionally piloted vehicles as an interim solution for the market. This interim solution may bridge the time gap until large UASs are allowed to fly in civil air-traffic-control areas.
The production rate of the Aeronautics Dominator-2 UAS, based on the two-engine D-42, will soon be increased because the company expects to sign new contracts.
This comes after the XP version of the Dominator-2 UAS has been cleared for export.
The Dominator XP was adapted to comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime limitations.
The Dominator 2 can achieve an endurance of 28h and is capable of carrying a 300kgs payload. Its maximum takeoff weight is 2,000kgs. Its maximum altitude is 30,000 feet and maximum speed is 190kts. The Dominator is aimed at the high end of the MALE UAS market.
The rumours about the new interest from the two major Israeli UAS manufacturers may be explained by demand from low-budgeted clients that want a payload in the sky without it being attached to a sophisticated expensive platform.