The Israeli air force will equip its largest unmanned air vehicle with an electro-optical payload now carried by its manned Beechcraft King Air B200s for imagery intelligence tasks.

Sources say the electro-optical payload is being adapted for carriage by the air force's Israel Aerospace Industries Heron TP/"Eitan" medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs. The move is part of a process under which unmanned systems are increasingly being used for intelligence missions in place of manned assets.

The air force's Eitan air vehicles are intended to perform a variety of long-range tasks, with the type offering an endurance of more than 40h while operating at an altitude of up to 45,000ft (13,700m).

Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6 turboprop engine and with a 26m wing span, the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 4t. Its composite fuselage is designed to carry large volume payloads.

Source: Flight International