Rafael's Skylite is man-portable, canister launched, electrically powered loitering surveillance and reconnaissance platform offering superior performance, autonomy, availability and flexibility.
Rafael's Skylite offers a different concept in UAVs. In the final stages of development, the Skylite is a man-portable, canister launched loitering observation system that weighs 6kg and is 12cm in diameter.
The drone is launched by a booster or small rocket engine. Following launch, the Skylite's wings (1.5m wingspan) snap into flight position powered by an electrical motor. The retrievable drone is equipped with a camera that provides wide area coverage and point-of-interest monitoring. It can operate at a distance of up to 10 kilometers and loiter over the target for more than 60 minutes, providing real-time target imagery, in direct support of the combat formations.
A two-man team can carry up to three Skylites and one mission control console. Launching is performed immediately, from open or wooded areas, urban terrain or even from enclosed spaces, with no preparation or setup required. The system can operate in difficult weather conditions, including high winds.
The Skylite's payload is gimbaled on two axes and caries a stabilized camera with a high resolution CCD sensor enabling the identification of an armed person. Also, it has a large zoom capability and a unique automatic video tracker.
The SkyLite is propelled with an electrical motor with loitering capability of an hour or more. There is the possibility of replacing the motor with a piston engine to achieve 4 to 5 flight hours.
The SkyLite mission is an autonomous one and the flight is according to waypoints which were loaded into its navigation system in the flight preparation stage. These waypoints can be changed easily during the mission.
As a tactical reconnaissance and surveillance system, Skylite offers many advantages such as:
- Long endurance (flies for over an hour over the target).
- Real-time high resolution imagery (recognition of armed persons is possible).
- Designed for autonomous operation by tactical units.
- Independent operation by the infantry unit, rapid and automatic launch, recovery and recondition, without requirements for external support.
- Can be launched from enclosed spaces and crowded urban settings.