Israel Aerospace Industries expects to receive a contract for its Panther unmanned air system from a first customer soon, after demonstrating the tiltrotor type to a number of special forces operators.
According to a company source, the design was showcased for potential operators who need a UAS that can take off and land vertically and fly quietly.
The demonstration flights were performed while the endurance of the Panther is being extended. A new power pack using two separate lithium-ion batteries – one for take-off and landing and the other for the cruise phase of flight – will allow the Panther to stay in the air with a payload for more than 6h. As of today, the aircraft is on its way to a 4h endurance, the source says.
Powered by three ultra-quiet electric motors and with a take-off weight of 65kg (143lb), the Panther takes off and lands automatically at a click of the operator's console, using an automatic flight control system which removes the need for an external pilot.