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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is slated to unveil on Tuesday a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) designed to assist ground forces in tactical missions.

The UAV, named “Panther,” employs tilt-rotor technology that enables it to hover in mid-air like a helicopter and fly horizontally like a plane, according to an IAI statement on Monday.

Panther weighs 65 kilograms and is equipped with three electric propellers. It can reach 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), remain in the air for six hours and has a range of over 60 kilometers. It will carry Mini POP, an electro-optic observation system with a laser range finder.

The Panther’s ability to combine hovering with flying is a unique concept that has been registered as a patent, the statement said.

The drone can take off and land vertically at predetermined locations, and doesn’t require any launching and landing equipment. It also integrates fully automatic flight control features and can take off and land without human interference.

The Panther and its smaller twin, the mini Panther, are slated to become operational in 2011. Both platforms can be operated by a single soldier and are designated to provide real-time tactical intelligence and reconnaissance for field units ranging in size from a company to a brigade.

The Panther’s technological innovation makes it a “unique and revolutionary asset in the battlefield for both the Israeli army and foreign clients,” IAI’s CEO Yitzhak Nisan said.

Source: CRIenglish

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