Israel plans to start an operational test of Elbit Systems’ Skylark 3 unmanned air vehicle, to be performed by the “Sky Rider” unit of its ground forces command, which currently operates the earlier Skylark 1.

Intended for use by brigade commanders, the Skylark 3 has a maximum take-off weight of 45kg (99lb) including a payload of up to 10kg, and a 4.8m (15.7ft) wingspan. The type has a 6h flight endurance and a range in excess of 54nm (100km).

Powered by an electric motor, which reduces its acoustic signature, the design has a service ceiling of 15,000ft. It is deployed using a pneumatic launcher that can be positioned on the ground or installed on a vehicle.

Skylark 3 - Elbit Systems

Elbit Systems

Elbit says the new version of its Skylark will be offered with improved payloads providing improved target detection, classification and surveillance capabilities.

Two Skylark 3 air vehicles can be assigned to the same mission simultaneously by using a shared ground control station, the Israeli company says.

The enhanced type’s introduction is part of a plan to give Israel’s ground forces an independent capability to support their operations without the need to co-ordinate with the air force, which uses larger UAVs.