The future of mini-UAS

These are small wonders – they attract attention.

They have clients, but they do not bring in revenues that justify the amount of development effort and high budget needed to make them operational.

The two Israeli major manufacturers of unmanned air systems (UAS) are evaluating the future of their mini systems because of the small profit margins offered by this category.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems have developed a number of mini-UAS.

The Elbit Skylark is operational with the Israeli defence forces artillery corps, and was exported to a number of foreign customers.

IAI has exported some of its BirdEye systems to at least one foreign customer.

The two companies say that they will continue to make the mini-UAS and supply them to customers.

My assessment is that in the coming years IAI and Elbit will focus their development efforts on larger UAS.

IAI will continue with new versions of the Heron-1 and Heron TP, while Elbit will continue with the company’s Hermes family – the 450 and the 900. Smaller Israeli companies will go in the direction of new mini and micro-UAS.

As competition in the UAS market is growing steadily, manufacturers will not be able to develop a variety of systems as they did until now.

Each will have to focus on a small number of types of similar weights and configurations.

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