Bird-Eye 650D, a small tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) designed and developed by MALAT Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), entered serial production in June 2016.
The UAS is intended for a variety of military and paramilitary missions such as over-the-hill intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), patrol, urban operation, counter-terrorism, convoy escort, radio relay, and law enforcement.
Its civilian applications include surveillance of disaster areas, water resource management, mapping, and powerline inspections.
Bird-Eye 650D is the latest member of the Bird-Eye family of UAS’, which also includes Bird-Eye 400 and Bird-Eye 650. The 650D offers better mission endurance compared to the Bird-Eye 650.
Bird Eye 650D design and features
The Bird-Eye 650D mini-UAS comprises three unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms, a ground control system and payloads, and is operated by three people.
The UAV features a flying wing design with a wing span of 4m. It is launched by a lightweight catapult launch system installed on a ground vehicle.
A fail-safe recovery system, comprising parachute and airbag, ensures safe landing of the UAV. When recovered, the drone flips over and lands on its back with the help of a parachute.
It has the ability to perform autonomous operations from take-off to landing using an automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) system. It also boasts point take-off and point recovery capabilities.
Payloads aboard Bird-Eye 650D UAV
With a maximum payload weight of 5.5kg, the Bird-Eye 650D tactical UAV can be configured with multiple sensor systems including MiniPOP and MicroPOP electro-optical stabilised payloads, T-STAMP camera, and other electronic payloads.
Developed by IAI’s Tamam division, the MiniPOP dual-axis, gyro-stabilised payload houses multiple sensors such as day continuous zoom colour camera, thermal camera, laser pointer, laser rangefinder, and an automatic video tracker.
The MicroPOP observation system can carry either a day continuous zoom colour camera or a night continuous zoom thermal imaging camera and offers enhanced imaging capabilities.
Controp’s T-STAMP, triple-sensor, stabilised, miniature electro-optical payload provides tactical over-the-hill intelligence and reconnaissance under all lighting conditions.
The UAV is additionally fitted with passive RWR / RWL electronic countermeasures (ECM) and communications jamming (COMJAM) for precision electronic warfare operations.
Tactical ground control system
The tactical air system’s ground control unit consists of a monitor, remote video terminal and ground control equipment. It receives and processes the real-time imagery, videos, telemetry and other data captured by the UAV sensors.
A direct line-of-sight (LOS) data link provides secure communication between the UAV and the ground control system.
Bird-Eye 650D propulsion
The UAV is powered by a single engine that runs on petrol fuel. The engine drives a two-blade propeller mounted at the forward portion.
Bird-Eye 650D small UAV performance
The Bird-Eye 650D small unmanned aerial vehicle has a cruising speed of 40kt and a maximum speed of 80kt. It can operate 15,000ft high and reach up to a range of 150km. Its gross take-off weight is 30kg and flight endurance is more than 15 hours.
The drone has low visual and acoustic signatures and offers flexible operation at long ranges.
The Global Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Market 2011-2021
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