The platforms may be in different shapes and sizes. The payloads may be composed of a different mix of sensors. This is easy.
The Israeli unmanned air systems (UAS) industry has produced some very unique designs.
They are in service with the Israeli defence forces (IDF) and many foreign companies.
The industry has reached a point at which in order to make a “quantum leap” it must have two things – a good source for electricity for the engines that power many of the UAS that need to operate covertly, and exotic materials that will enable it to manufacture lighter, stronger platforms.
They are not talking about a better fuel cell system that will give another half an hour in the air. They are talking about something very different, a breakthrough.
They also talk about materials that will enable them to build very light, very strong platforms.
All the UAS manufacturers therefore are channelling their R&D budgets into that direction. This is made through cooperation with foreign companies, or in-house.
The manufacturers naturally are not open about their progress. They know that if a breakthrough is achieved they will have an advantage, at least for a while, and in that market, this can be translated into a lot, and I mean a lot, of money.
According to my sources, the progress is slow and involves some novel techniques.
If this slow pace continues, the first results may be seen in the next five years.
In many cases they will be seen for a long period of time only by a small group of people, as they develop systems that will carry the label “secret” on their fuselage.