Special forces experts recently visited Israel and evaluated the potential operational capabilities of a unique unmanned air system (UAS) being offered by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
A man in civilian clothes came to the IAI main facility, where he witnessed some of the capabilities of a locally-bred Panther.
There are no real four-legged panthers in Israel, but IAI’s Panther UAS attracts attention no less than a real panther on an African Safari, hunting for its daily meal.
In recent months IAI demonstrated its tiltrotor UAS to a number of special forces – and the company expects a contract from its first customer soon.
A company source confirmed the Panther has been demonstrated to special forces which need a UAS that can take-off and land vertically and fly very quietly.
Flights in the presence of potential customers have been performed while the endurance of the Panther is being extended.
As reported by Flight International, a new power pack comprised of two separate lithium-ion batteries will allow the Panther to stay in the air with a payload for over 6h.
While one battery is used for the vertical take-off and landing, the other is used for cruising. The Panther uses an innovative automatic flight control system that controls the transitions between the hovering take-off phase to forward flight and vice versa before landing. The source explains that this system also controls the transition from one battery to the other.
The Panther takes off and lands automatically with a simple click of the operator console, thus eliminating the need for an external pilot.
The unit is powered by three ultra-quiet electrical motors, has a take-off weight of 65kg (143lb) and can be equipped with a variety of different payloads.