Aeronautics Defense Systems will manufacture the Dominator, an unmanned version of the twin-engined Diamond DA42 light aircraft, at its facility in Israel, after receiving interest from potential buyers.

The company is continuing to flight-test a demonstrator and two prototypes of the system, which have so far logged more than 100h in the air.

"Our aim is to accumulate 1,000h, and we will achieve this with the two prototypes," says Aeronautics president Avi Leumi.

The company is planning for the Dominator to reach full operational status before the end of this year, and Leumi says: "We have already talked to some potential customers."

Aeronautics Defense Systems Dominator II
 © Aeronautics Defense Systems
Aeronautics Defense Systems Dominator UAV is based on the twin-engined Diamond DA42 light aircraft 

The prototype of the Dominator 2, or "Oz", unmanned air vehicle flew for the first time in June 2009. The design converts the all-composite DA42, retaining the type's Thielert diesel engines, and can be equipped with a variety of payloads.

Maximum take-off weight is 2,000kg (4,410lb), including a 300kg payload, with an endurance of 28h. While service ceiling is 30,000ft (9,150m) and top speed 190kt (350km/h), Leumi says "20,000ft is the optimal altitude for this platform".

According to Leumi, the Dominator is being aimed at the high end of the medium-altitude, long-endurance market for UAVs.

"This platform is unique," he claims. "It has two heavy fuel engines and a large volume for carrying different payloads. It has a low thermal signature because the engine exhaust pipes are designed to mix hot with cool air."

The Dominator will be offered with an advanced satellite communications system, based on an antenna designed and manufactured by an Aeronautics subsidiary.

Source: Flight International