Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing Australia will develop a special version of their I-View 250 unmanned air vehicle to supply two tactical unmanned systems to the Australian Army in the second half of next year.

According to the Australian Department of Defence, each TUAV system will comprise four UAVs, as well as ground control stations and support equipment. Australia will have a further four UAVs as spares to support the planned 12-year life span for the system.

This will enable 24h surveillance for the protection of Australian forces and identification of enemy targets to a range of 150km (80nm). But, says the department: "As the I-View 250 is a prototype system, the final specification is expected to require some physical changes to the current system."

Australia's I-Views will feature electro-optic and infrared cameras and a laser target designator. The I-View 250 has a maximum take-off weight of 250kg (550lb), an endurance of 6-8h and a wingspan of 6.7m (22ft). It has a fully automatic take-off and landing system, with the system's catapult launcher and unique parafoil landing concept allowing it to be deployed and recovered from an area smaller than a football field, says the DoD.

The UAVs will be operated by a newly formed part of an existing unit, the 20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment based at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, Queensland, which is responsible for the provision of specialist surveillance and target acquisition to the Australian Army.

Australia ordered the I-View 250 under its Joint Project 129 in late 2006. IAI teamed with prime contractor Boeing Australia, with the latter's responsibilities including integration and in-service support.

I-view 250

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Source: Flight International