Paris Air Show: SkyStriker makes debut
Elbit Systems is showcasing its autonomous loitering munitions system known as the SkyStriker at Paris Air Show this week.
The SkyStriker can be utilised for covert and precise airstrikes. It is a combination of smart guided munitions with the capabilities of an armament system in the form of a UAV.
The electrically-propelled system can be used to fly out to a mission area 40km away from where it was launched by a catapult. SkyStriker can look for targets up to two hours within the mission area and with its electrical propeller it can perform covert operations.
Danny Israeli, VP of business development and strategy at Elbit Systems, commented to Shephard that the operator can hone in on the target with precision utilising an EO/IR gimbal regardless of time of day.
‘If the operator on the ground sees a target that fits the requirement of his mission, he can point the system to the target. He’s looking for targets of course with a day and night payload of high performance. Once he identifies a target which is valid then can he can perform an attack on this target.’
The SkyStriker has the capacity to abort the mission up to two seconds from impact. Furthermore, when this action is taken it allows the operator to return the system home or scour the area further dependent on the mission requirements.
In addition, Israeli explained that the system is able to carry munitions of up to 10kg within its modular warhead bay. He said further that Skystriker has over two-hour mission endurance.
Customers for the Skystriker are already lined up so it is already going into production. Israeli noted that a large quantity order of Skystriker has been received; the first customer contract will see deliveries take place next year into 2019. He would not divulge further details on the first customer.
The company has conducted a number of strike qualifications Israeli confirmed. Its remote operation and capability reduces operators’ exposure to detection or enemy fire while guiding the SkyStriker to its target.
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