The British Army is to evaluate EMIT's Blade unmanned air vehicle as a proof-of-concept system for its loitering munition capability demonstration programme.

An armed version of the Israeli company's Sparrow UAV, the design has a 2.2m (7.2ft) wingspan and an endurance of up to 4h carrying an explosive charge weighing 8kg (17.6lb) and a nose-mounted electro-optical sensor.

Israeli sources say the British Army has purchased one Blade system comprising one ground control station and four UAVs, with flight tests intended to help the service prepare the operational requirements for its proposed future loitering munition system.

MBDA-led Team Loitering Munitions late last year unveiled its 150km (81nm)-range Fireshadow concept for the proposed battlefield strike system, which will enable the UK to cut sensor-to-shooter times against time-critical targets (Flight International, 18-24 September 2007).