May 4 (UPI) -- The Israel's Ministry of Defense ordered 6.6-pound drones for its ground forces working in urban areas, maker Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. said Monday.
The Spike Firefly is a "loitering munition," also known as a kamikaze drone or suicide drone, a category in which the single-use munition loiters airborne in a target area, searches for targets, and attacks once one is located, exploding on contact. The munition weighs about 6.6 pounds.
It fills a niche between cruise missiles and unmanned combat aerial vehicles, although the system chosen by the IDF is notably small and transportable by a single soldier.
Controlled by a tablet computer, it requires no special training to use and can function in or out of an operator's line of sight, the manufacturer said. Its munitions are powered by twin electric motors which can loiter for a maximum of 15 minutes at a maximum altitude of 1,640 feet in urban terrain and nearly 5,000 feet in open areas.
No details regarding the cost or number to be produced were announced. Rafael, headquartered in Tel Aviv, is a major defense contractor for the IDF.
"We are very proud of this contract, and we believe the procurement of Firefly by the IDF will dramatically revolutionize the infantry doctrines in urban close-combat, enabling precision engagement for the lower tactical echelons beyond-line-of-sight," said Ran Gozali of Rafael in a statement on Monday.
"This will give IDF soldiers a tactical edge in close combat. We see the Firefly as a building block in future potential applications for a large variety of battle arenas," Gozali said.