They get more autonomy, they get more endurance, they will get artificial intelligence.
The unmanned air systems (UAS) made by Israeli companies will become more independent to achieve one main goal – to dramatically shorten the sensor-to-shooter time.
These operational capabilities are connected directly to the new buzzword of armed forces – Terrain Dominance.
This is the ability for a commander to know exactly what is going on in the area from where an attack of any type may occur, and to suppress it immediately.
To do that, the commander needs tools and one very important one is the UAS. The many sensors that are being installed on different Israeli-made UAS and their capabilities are indicative of the trend.
However, in my recent visits to the companies that manufacture some of the more advanced UAS, I heard again and again that there is a very accelerated process to make the UAS more autonomous.
One step in this direction is making the external pilot of the unmanned platforms operated by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) redundant in two to three years.
The external pilot has been in charge of the take-off and landing of medium and heavy UAS operated by the IAF. After take-off, control is transferred to the ground station.
Some of the UAS operated now by the IAF already use automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) systems and the others will be equipped with them.
The ATOL is only one feature that is incorporated into the new UAS. Another one is “sense and avoid” systems, such as a special TCAS that will allow the Israeli-made UAS to fly in civil ATCs.
The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron -TP UAS can already get permission to fly in civil airspaces in France and Germany.
So, if you follow the effort, one thing is clear – greater autonomy to UAS will result in many operational benefits.
After 40 years of operating UAS, Israel is going very fast to the point where the unmanned platforms in the air, on the ground and at sea will detect, identify and destroy the enemy with “very great autonomy”.
When targets move fast, reaction times must be faster, and with the technology that is being designed now, this will be achieved very shortly.