Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is going into the cellphone business.
Well, the company does not intend to compete with smartphone manufacturers or with the service providers, but in spite of this, it thinks that the potential is very big.
Fourth-generation cellular technology will enable small unmanned air systems (UAS) to transmit video directly to field commanders under most conditions.
IAI recently successfully demonstrated its new wideband Long Term Evolution (LTE) Tactical Communication Network - the TAC4G.
TAC4G enables wideband communication within various military units and between different command echelons.
The system is based on commercial LTE 4 Generation cellular technology adapted for military applications.
IAI subsidiary ELTA Systems developed the system as a substitute for software-defined radio systems, and it can in some instances use civil cellular infrastructure.
Shalom Nathan, director of communications and special intelligence at ELTA, said that there are negotiations with a company that will design special cellphones for end-users, including UAS operators. "We also intend to develop special operational applications that will make it easy for the users to take full advantage of the secure system."
In addition to the technical advantages of a fourth-generation cellular network, IAI thinks that the wide use of smartphones in everyday life and the many applications create a "familiar" environment that can be very useful in combat.
At 18, Israelis go into the army and can find themselves in a combat unit using a small UAS.
What is more sensible than giving them something that looks like a "civil" smartphone, but which is used to get instant video from aerial sensors?