Elbit Systems' Elop subsidiary has unveiled what it claims is the smallest laser designator that can be carried by a mini-unmanned air vehicle.
According to Dan Slasky, the company's vice-president for electro-optics and laser systems, the miniature designator module (MDM) weighs 100g and is assembled using what he describes as "special microscopic" techniques.
Slasky says the MDM will allow operators to reduce their "sensor to shooter" time, and refers to Elbit's Skylark mini-UAV as an example of the class of vehicles that can carry the module. The Skylark has a maximum take-off weight of 7.5kg (16.5lb), including a 1.1kg payload.
"When a mini-UAS carries an electro-optical payload that includes this laser designator, a target simply cannot get away," he claims, noting that a fighter aircraft flying above clouds can deploy its laser-guided weapons in collaboration with the hand-launched air vehicle.
The dimensions of the miniature laser designator allow it to be installed in a 4in-diameter electro-optical turret. "So far, designators could have been installed in at least 10in payloads," Slasky notes.