TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Israel Aerospace Industries on Tuesday unveiled its new revolutionary tilt-rotor, unmanned aerial vehicle for tactical missions.
The Panther, displayed at the Latrun Conference in Israel, will also be exhibited internationally at the at the Association of the United States Army's 2010 Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 25-27 in Washington.
The company said the Panther combines the flight capabilities of an airplane with helicopter-like hovering, a tilt-rotor propeller and a fixed-wing vertical takeoff and landing system.
An innovative automatic flight control system controls the transitions between the hovering takeoff phase to forward flight and vice versa before landing, it said.
"The Panther's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, along with its effective use of changing flight dynamics, make it a unique and invaluable asset on the tactical battlefield for the (Israeli military) and for foreign customers," said Itzhak Nissan, president and chief executive officer of IAI. "We consider the innovative technology used in this system to be ground-breaking."
IAI said the Panther weights about 143 pounds, is powered by three electrical motors and can loiter for about six hours at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet.
The UAV carries IAI's Mini-POP (Plug-in Optronic Payload) -- a day/night stabilized camera with a laser range finder, pointer or laser designator.
A Mini Panther, which weighs up to 26.4 pounds, can loiter for about two hours and carries IAI's Micro-POP.
The Panther control station, transported on a midsize vehicle, can store up to three aircraft, as well as the ground data link, the support equipment and spare parts, all of which allow the troops' autonomous operation on the field at a tactical level. Two operators control the mission using two fully redundant identical consoles.
The portable Mini Panther system includes two planes and a command and control unit, and is carried in backpacks by two soldiers.