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Unmanned Orbiter 3 clears maritime trial

Israeli unmanned air system manufacturer Aeronautics has completed a series of sea trials with its Orbiter 3 air vehicle.

During the tests an Orbiter 3 was launched from a boat using a catapult, then recovered using a net. "This is a very cost-effective solution for navies that need an aerial system on board," a company source says.

Similar trials were performed two years ago with the smaller Orbiter 2, but the new system has a larger volume fuselage and is capable of carrying a heavier payload.

The Orbiter 3 has a 3.6m (11.9ft) wingspan and an endurance of 7h while carrying a 5.5kg (12.1lb) payload, including an electro-optical sensor.

Aeronautics says the need for UAS operated from the decks of ships is growing. In some cases unmanned systems are intended to replace helicopters, while in others they add a capability that was not previously available to an operator.

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