Innocon to convert ultralight for unmanned fishery control mission

Tel Aviv
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Israeli unmanned air vehicle manufacturer Innocon is converting a two-seat ultralight into a UAV targeted at the global fishery patrol market. The company says negotiations are under way with an undisclosed country that is suffering illegal fishing activities within its territorial waters.

Michael Armon, president of Innocon, says illegal fishing within international waters is a growing problem. "Some countries suffer tens of millions of dollars losses a year from these acts of piracy," he says.

Many commercial ships have automatic identification systems that transmit a ship's position, heading, speed and maritime identification number. Many also have vessel monitoring systems that allow fisheries regulatory organisations to monitor the position, time at position, course and speed of fishing vessels within the territorial waters of a country or a subdivision of a country.

However, neither system provides the necessary tool to positively identify the ships that are fishing illegally, says Innocon.

The Holon-based company has selected the Martin-3 high performance ultralight manufactured by privately owned Spanish airframer Colyaer. The ultralight will be adapted for tracking and identifying suspected unauthorised ships.

The UAV variant, scheduled to fly in 2011, will have a maximum take-off weight of 960kg (520lb) and a 150kg payload. Armon says the aircraft will be equipped with a satellite communication system that will allow it to transmit the images across great distances. The aircraft will also have a 24h endurance.