December 15, 1998
Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel - The Belgium Government announced December 10, 1998 its decision to buy three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Systems. The contract has been awarded to the "Eagle" alliance, a temporary association consisting of Alcatel Etca S.A., Alcatel Bell Space & Defense N.V., SAIT Systems S.A., Sonaca S.A. and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) MALAT Division. This alliance was established to provide the most capable industrial team to meet the Belgium Army's UAV mission requirements.
The selected system is a version, with upgraded capabilities, of the Hunter UAV system developed by IAI/MALAT, and is based on the seven Hunter UAV systems/62 air vehicles purchased by the U.S. Army, and a Hunter system that was purchased by the French Army.
The principal upgraded capabilities of the B-Hunter are full automatic takeoff and landing, advanced ground control station and advanced avionics. These advancements were based on lessons learned from the U.S. Army's successful operation of their Hunter UAV systems and are applicable to the U.S. Army's Hunter fleet.
The announcement by the Belgium Government ends a period of stringent, comparative evaluation and rigorous testing of a number of candidate UAV systems. A highly qualified Belgium team who had more than 20 years of Belgium operational experience with UAV systems conducted the assessment. The final contenders were the French Sagem "Sperwer" UAV, the Swiss Oerlikon-Contraves "Ranger" system and IAI's Hunter UAV system, as proposed by the "Eagle" alliance.
Sharing Malat's extensive UAV experience with its partners, the work on the new B-Hunter system will be conducted in both Belgium and Israel. The first system, to be used for validation purposes, will be delivered by the year 2000.
Hunter UAV System Features
Multi-role short-range UAV system with combi electro-optical payloads
Full automatic take-off and landing
Take-off and landing from unprepared terrain
Improved avionics & datalink
New advanced ground control station
High level of airworthiness
Twin engine configuration
NATO standard compatible
Meets European environmental requirements
Integrated logistic support
B-Hunter UAV System Major Characteristics
Endurance more then 10 hrs
Range more then 100 km
Altitude Up to 15,000 ft
Max. Speed 110 knot
Powerplant Twin engines, 4 stroke 2 cylinder 64 hp each
Max. Take-off Weight 727 kg
Overall Length 6.90 m
Wing Span 8.90 m