Elbit announces new SkyStriker loitering munition
Yaakov Lappin, Tel Aviv - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
08 September 2016
The SkyStriker loitering munition seen on its towed launcher. Source: Elbit Systems
Elbit Systems is introducing a new loitering munition called SkyStriker, which is designed to conduct long-range precision tactical strikes, the Israeli company told IHS Jane's on 6 September.
One client, which Elbit declined to name, has already purchased the system, and a company source said several potential clients around the world have expressed interest.
Elbit said the SkyStriker enables ground forces to improve their "lethality, situational awareness, and survivability" on the battlefield.
The platform locates, acquires, and strikes operator-designated targets, and can be armed with either a 5 kg or 10 kg warhead, which is inserted inside the fuselage.
According to Elbit, the weapon's electric propulsion system has a "low acoustic signature allowing covert operations at low altitudes." It described SkyStriker as "a silent, invisible, and surprise attacker" that can be operated from outside the range of enemy fire.
Its top speed is 100 kts (185 km/h), but it will typically only use this once a target has been acquired. Elbit says SkyStriker's loiter time is two hours with a 5 kg warhead and one hour with a 10 kg warhead.
The weapon employs an autonomous navigation system during the cruising and loitering phases, and can be locked on to a target by the operator using an electro-optical sensor.
"During the strike phase, the drone dives at speeds of up to 300 kts," Elbit said. "The maximum wind velocity for the strike leg is 40 kts with only slight degradation in accuracy performance."
Operators have the ability to abort an attack, go around, and re-engage the same or other targets. The aircraft can be recovered at any stage before an attack at co-ordinates that can be changed by the operator during the flight. Recovery is conducted using a parachute and an inflatable bag that are carried by the vehicle.
The aircraft is transported in a box and the wings have to be assembled before launch, which is carried out using a unique launcher that can be towed by a 4x4 vehicle.
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