Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Air Hopper unmanned helicopter and autonomous tactical system has completed a proof of concept demonstration for the Israel Defence Force.
The first scenario involved simulated carrying of a seriously wounded soldier to an extraction point for life-saving treatment, airborne monitoring of vital signs, and real-time dispatch to the ground.
The second scenario was a simulated transport of logistic supplies to an isolated force at the front line.
Based on a small, manned helicopter, Air Hopper can be used to provide fast logistic supplies to sites where ground access is difficult or dangerous.
The unmanned system, with a payload of 100kg-180kg and flight time of two hours, can be operated at a speed of up to 120km/h.
It is powered by an internal combustion engine, which uses ordinary, 95-octane fuel, IAI stated.
The autonomous tactical system can be used to transport logistic equipment to the battlefield while preventing loss of lives and minimising damage caused by roadside explosives, ambushes or anti-tank weapons.
It has been designed to move independently and precisely during the day or night over prolonged periods of time, including in tough field conditions in any weather.
The Air Hopper’s control system can manage operational capabilities such as vehicle control, real-time planning and updating of routes, updating the convoy’s behaviour attributes, real-time receipt of mission data, and a data communication system that allows it to communicate with the vehicles.
Image: The Air Hopper demonstration involved two scenarios. Photo: courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.