The Israeli defence forces (IDF) have a plan – and Israeli industry is working to action it. Soon, infantry soldiers will have big pouches on their combat vests full of small “individual helpers”.
While Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is developing a number of “butterfly” miniature intelligence gathering systems, other concepts are also being evaluated.
IAI’s miniature flying camera weighs almost nothing, and is based on mimicking the way a butterfly’s wings are used in flight.
Meanwhile, Rafael has partially unveiled a small tactical intelligence-gathering hovering system. The overall plan is to equip a number of soldiers in an infantry unit with the tool.
The system is carried in a canister stowed in the personal gear of an infantry soldier. After mission completion it can be returned to the canister for further use.
According to Rafael a soldier can carry a number of these hovering systems in his personal gear, together with a small control unit.
Using the system is easy, and the Israeli company says the device can hover for 15min and operated after battery replacement for 50h without maintenance.
The system can hover to a distance of 0.5nm (1km) from its operator in an urban environment, and 2.7nm in an open area.
Hovering altitude is 328ft in an open area and 164ft in an urban environment.
Rafael plans to equip the system with a day CCD camera and a night vision sensor.
The Israeli company says the system is capable of detecting a person at a range of 180m, recognising him at 60m and incriminating them at 30m.
Vehicles can be detected at a range of 400m and recognised at 60m.
Israeli sources say the system is a revolution in the tactical intelligence field – especially for small units moving covertly from point to point.
Plus, these two “helpers” are only those that have been unveiled thus far. Others examples have been developed, and still more are in development.
Miniaturisation of sensors and power sources allows these “gadgets” to become an integral part of the personal gear a soldier carries into combat.