Rafael has abandoned its efforts to become an unmanned air vehicle manufacturer and will not invest in new platforms.
The Israeli company has for the past several years tried to develop an advanced tactical UAV, with its efforts based on the Skylite-B system, which was unsuccessfully offered to meet the Israeli defence forces' battalion-level surveillance needs. Elbit Systems' Skylark I LE mini-UAV was selected for the requirement.
The Skylite B lost out in a vital Israeli UAV competition
Rafael vice-president marketing Lova Drori confirms that a decision has been made to abandon the UAV market. "We don't have an advantage in UAV platforms, and we will not develop new ones," he says.
The company has, however, signed an agreement with Aeronautics Defense Systems, which is understood to cover Rafael offering payloads to equip Aeronautics-developed air vehicles.
Rafael's decision leaves Aeronautics, Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries as the major Israeli manufacturers of UAVs. Israel Military Industries has also previously made an abortive attempt to enter the market.