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Four rivals shape up for Israeli UAV contest

Four Israeli companies are competing to supply a multi-rotor vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle to the nation's land command.

General specifications for the requested "Zur" system were defined by the technical branch of the land command and Israel's defence ministry. These call for an air vehicle with a weight of 10-15kg (22-33lb) and the ability to carry a 1.2kg payload for between 50min and 1h.

Aeronautics Defense Systems, Aero Sentinel, Rafael, and an Elbit Systems team also involving Flying Production have already demonstrated their candidate systems. A selection is expected by mid-2017.

Israeli ground units currently use Elbit's Skylark UAV, with the service-designated "Sky Rider" mainly deployed by artillery units and special forces personnel. The need for a multi-rotor VTOL system has been identified during recent combat operations, with even small infantry units requiring their own "eye in the sky".

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