The Orbiter 1K – the first armed loitering unmanned air vehicle developed by the Israeli company Aeronautics – is operational and will soon be supplied to a first customer.

Dany Eshchar, Aeronautics’ deputy chief executive, says operational status was achieved after a series of tests in which the UAV proved all its design capabilities.

Based on the structure and properties of the company’s Orbiter 2, the 1K is launched from a catapult and can fly for 2-3h carrying an electro-optical/infrared sensor. Aeronautics says the UAV can reach its intended target via pre-loaded waypoints, or by an operator using a personal ground control station. If a target is not detected, or has moved, it can be brought back to make a safe landing.

Eshchar says the Orbiter 1K is armed with a unique warhead, and that due to its low acoustic signature “it is not detected until two seconds before it starts its kill dive”.

Aeronautics is working on additional armed loitering systems, but Eshchar declines to comment further about its development activities.