MTCR, unmanned platforms, limitations and market needs

Heavy, long-endurance unmanned air systems (UAS) and manned aircraft that are converted to fly without a human pilot are being cleared for export by the Israeli ministry of defence only if they comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) limitations.


Until a few years ago, this was not a real problem but as UAS developed in Israel, became heavier and capable of a longer endurance, the problem turned into a serious one.


To add to the complexity, a number of Israeli companies have developed unmanned versions of manned aircraft. This is a very interesting, much-debated shortcut to large UAS. The first such converted system developed by Aeronautics is the Dominator-2.


The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air systems, and related technology, for those systems capable of carrying a 500kg payload to a range of 300km, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).


Israel is not part of the MTCR regime but decided to comply, in order not to enrage the US. According to an “urban legend”, there are senior officials in Washington that do not like the fact that Israel enjoys a generous annual defence grant from the US, and at the same time has developed a very successful defence and aerospace industry.


The Dominator-2 (XP in its export version) is based on the Diamond DA-42 twin-engine aircraft.


It has an endurance of 28 hours and is capable of carrying a 300kg payload. Its max takeoff weight is 2,000kg.


The second time Israel had to comply with the regime was when France selected the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron-TP UAS. Dassault is the local partner for the deal, but the system is Israeli.


In the coming years, the special body that approves the export of such UAS will have to meet more frequently.

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