Small companies, small steps, big potential market

The potential market is huge, but it is still very much on paper for hopeful industry people.

Israeli unmanned air systems (UAS) manufacturers look to the horizon and see big contracts for UAS in civil applications – but there are many clouds that still block the full view of this promising future.

The process is very slow, mainly because the integration of UAS into civil airspace is equally slow. But when bureaucracy slows the process, needs on the operational end act a a balancing factor.

More and more organisations understand the advantages of using UAS for the missions they have to perform. Police forces, forestry control, fire services and pipeline control are only the top of a long list of organisations that express their need for UAS equipped with the right payloads.

In Israel, small UAS manufacturers are leading the effort to offer dedicated versions of their products to the civil and security markets.

Earlier this week Innocon unveiled an advanced version of its Spider UAS. The new version is lighter and can be used for civil and homeland security missions.

The new Spider has a max take-off weight of less than 5kg, and  is equipped with a Nextvision day/night payload and a HD still camera.

The Spider is based on the Israeli company’s MiniFalcon UAS, which has a tandem wing. This version is being offered for military missions. The Spider UAS has a single wing, is launched by hand and lands with a parachute.

Small steps are being made, but the trend is clear. Last month another step was taken when Steadicopter – another small Israeli UAS manufacturer – received certification from the Israel civil aviation authority to fly its Black Eagle 50 rotary UAS in Israel civil airspace.

The company intends to operate the system for various utility companies.

The Black Eagle is 50 is 2.3m long and has a 201cm diameter rotor. It has a 35kg max take-off weight, including a 3kg payload. According to the company the Black Eagle 50 has an endurance of 3h and a max speed of 126km/h. Service ceiling is 9,000ft.

So the trend is clear: the steps are very small, but they will continue because big money is on the horizon.

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