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Aeronautics planned second manned/unmanned conversion

Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems will soon begin to test-fly a second manned aircraft that it intends to modify for use as an unmanned air vehicle.

The company has not released any details about the platform, but sources say that it will be “bigger and more advanced than the Dominator”; an unmanned development of the twin-engined Diamond DA42.

First flown in prototype form in June 2009, the Dominator 2 is being operated in Turkey to monitor border areas. Israeli personnel perform take-offs and landings, while missions are controlled by Turkish personnel.

Powered by two Thielert diesel engines, the Dominator 2 can carry multiple payloads totalling 300kg (660lb), and has a maximum take-off weight of 2,000kg. The modified aircraft can fly at altitudes up to 30,000ft (9,150m) and has a top speed of 190kt (350km/h).

Aeronautics is continuing to develop the Dominator. During recent flights it tested a new version with bigger fuel tanks, achieving 24h endurance. This is to be extended to a target of 28h.

Sources say the success of the Dominator programme has created “great interest” among potential clients. Aeronautics also earlier this year teamed with Boeing to target a growing market for medium-altitude. long-endurance UAV systems.

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