Weapons systems on UAS – the assumptions

This is only an assumption. But when you add one to another one, the result is two.


The increasing use of unmanned air systems (UAS) by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and the growing capabilities of these autonomous platforms must someday be complemented with suitable weapons.


Some “surgical attacks” performed in recent days on targets in Gaza, mainly on rocket launchers located in densely populated areas, point to the need and to the potential.

No-one in official Israel is willing to discuss the subject, but again one plus one equals….


Rafael was the first Israeli defence company to admit it is considering adapting some of the weapons system it produces for use on UAS.


The Israeli company has developed some very advanced weapons systems, such as the Python-5 and Derby air-to-air missiles, the Spice add-on kit for bombs, the Spike missile that is currently used on helicopters, and others that are still classified.


Rafael officials feel more comfortable when they explain that the growing use in the world of armed UAS for different types of missions has spurred the evaluation of the international market for these downsized weapon systems.


The company said it will respond in the future to any operational request for dedicated weapons systems for UAS.


Israel has never revealed any programmes of armed UAS. Foreign sources have reported on Israeli UAS performing “surgical” attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip.


In recent days, Palestinian sources in Gaza have again claimed that the IAF is using armed UAS in the fighting in Gaza.


Rafael has downsized full-size intelligence-gathering payloads carried by fighter aircraft for use on UAS.


This is a good example of what can be achieved in a downsizing effort that will enable a UAS to perform very precise attacks.


Sources say that it is not only the downsizing of the weapons systems but also the capability to achieve the shortest “sensor to shooter” loop.


Will that be achieved with a man in this loop? Will this be fully autonomous? These are major questions. Have they been answered? I deal today with assumptions, not with answers.


You have to again add one fact, that Israel has developed some of the most advanced UAS in the world, with another one relating to weapons systems, to have a solid assumption.


But just to be clear – this is an assumption until it becomes a fact.

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