BlueBird soars with African UAS deal

Tel Aviv
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BlueBird, an Israeli manufacturer of unmanned air vehicles, has won a contract to supply its products to an undisclosed African country.

Ronen Nadir, BlueBird president, confirmed on 4 December that a deal has been signed, and that SpyLite systems will serve "government bodies" for observation tasks. The contract includes an "impressive" number of systems, he added.

The SpyLite is a portable, catapult-launched, electrically-powered loitering surveillance and reconnaissance UAV. The type is fully autonomous, from take-off to parachute recovery, and has an endurance of up to 4h.

In April 2011 BlueBird won a contract to supply UAVs to the Ethiopian army, including its SpyLite and Boomerang designs.

According to the Israeli company, the Boomerang is the only UAV powered by hydrogen fuel cells that is currently capable of delivering a flight endurance of over 10h. The Boomerang can also carry a payload of up to 1.3kg (2.9lb).

A new version equipped with a forward fuselage canard is capable of flying for 15h, and of reaching an altitude of 15,000ft (4,570m), the company says.