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Israel sets requirements for infantry UAV contest

The Israeli defence forces (IDF) have drawn up the main design features of a "personal" unmanned air vehicle that will be carried by a large number of infantry soldiers in any formation of a battalion-level unit.

The required micro-UAV would weigh approximately 2kg (4.4lb) and would have a flight time of around 20-30min while carrying a lightweight optical payload.

In the coming months the Israeli defence ministry will issue a request for proposals linked to the tender, and all the Israeli manufacturers of such equipment are expected to respond.

According to Israeli sources, the request will lead to the selection of more than one system to undergo field-testing.

The need for a personal UAV capability has been noted in Israel for several years, and the issue has received higher priority following the lessons learned from last year's "Protective Edge" operation in Gaza.

Currently, the only Israeli infantry units using UAVs are artillery corps personnel operating the "Sky Rider" – Elbit Systems' SkyLark 1 LE. This is designed for data collection and target marking duties at mission ranges exceeding 32nm (60km).

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