Not many armed forces can afford to purchase big unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that can carry multi-sensor payloads to satisfy the needs of different ground and air forces simultaneously.
But now small UAS are proliferating to fulfill these operational needs. UAS swarm technology is advancing quickly, and while until recently there has been doubt about the concept, this now seems to have disappeared.
UAS swarms are groups of UAS that work together, communicating with each other and assisting other members of the swarm in tasks.
When operational demands are backed by advanced technology, UAS manufacturers are confident that missions can be performed by two or more UAS that work together – and the Israeli UAS industry wants to take advantage of technology that enables operational co-operation of some UAS.
There is commercial potential connected with this technology, and the French are about to issue an RFI for a tactical UAS to replace their Sperwer.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is evaluating the details of this RFI, and one idea that was brought up was to offer the company’s Panther VTOL UAS – or more precisely, pairs of this advanced platform.
The idea is still being evaluated, but it is based on each of the Panthers carrying a separate payload: one electro-optical, and one for COMINT purposes.
Things are moving fast in the UAS world. This pace is set by demand. Armed forces think differently about UAS, and they want to take full advantage of their capabilities.