By By Douglas Nelms | December 1, 2011
Israel Aerospace Industries is actively promoting its new lightweight mini-unmanned air system (UAS) intended for urban warfare zones. The Ghost vertical take-off and landing UAS was officially revealed last February, and displayed at both the Association of Unmanned Air Systems Conference in September and the Army’s AUSA Meeting & Exposition in October. Nir Salomon, manager of business development for IAI, told Rotor & Wing during AUSA that development of the Ghost UAS began “a couple of years ago” under IAI’s Malat division, and is still in the process of declassification. Ghost is a battery powered, tandem rotor helicopter, designed to operate at “eye level” in urban areas.
According to Avi Bleser, marketing director of the Malat division, Ghost is capable of flying into a building to provide information on the interior and any dangers to infantry units on the outside. “The flight planning system enables [the operator] to pre-plan the flight inside a building so that the UAS will avoid the walls,” he said. IAI added that, among other capabilities, Ghost is “aimed for use by special forces personnel on covert missions.”
The UAS has fully automated takeoff and landing capabilities and is “very simple and easy to operate,” Salomon explained. It has a 30-minute endurance and can carry a 500-gram (1.1-lb) payload. It uses either a lightweight NextVision electro-optical sensor or IR sensor. “There has been a lot of interest from potential customers,” Salomon said. “Obviously Israel, but also numerous other countries to include the United States.” IAI’s Ghost will be available in 2012.