Finnish Orbiter UAS deliveries take off

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Deliveries of the Orbiter 2 mini unmanned air system (UAS) to Finland are under way.

The Finnish defence ministry in 2012 selected the Aeronautics Defense Systems design to meet its operational needs. Its contract includes 52 systems, with each comprising four air vehicles and a ground control station.

The Orbiter 2 has a 3m (9.8ft) wingspan and a 1m long fuselage. With a 10kg (22lb) maximum take-off weight, it offers an endurance of 3.5h.

According to Dany Eshchar, Aeronautics' deputy chief executive for marketing and sales, 20 systems will be supplied by the end of the year.

The firm also reveals that Finland is showing interest in the company's larger Orbiter 3, which has an endurance of 7-8h. It is equipped with a 3kg payload, but this will soon be replaced by a more advanced cooled electro-optical/infrared sensor that will produce better quality images.

Suitable for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance duties, the Orbiter 3 is launched from a catapult and recovered using a parachute and airbag.