The Dominator is a medium-altitude and long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed and manufactured by Israel-based Aeronautics Defence Systems to meet the requirements of Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Developed from the Austrian Diamond DA42 aircraft, the Dominator UAV executes intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISP) operations.
Flying at a maximum altitude of 30,000ft, the Dominator captures real time data by executing surveillance and reconnaissance missions over a large area. The data captured by the UAV is transferred to the ground control station (GCS) through a satellite communication line of sight data link. The UAV has accomplished 360,000 flight hours to date.
Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aeronautics Defence Systems, at the Farnborough Air Show held in July 2010, to market the Dominator UAV.
Dominator unmanned aerial vehicle design
The Dominator is designed to operate even in adverse climatic conditions. Its design complies with the missile technology control regime (MTCR).
The UAV has a commercial off-the-shelf airframe of all-composite construction which renders durability, reduces maintenance and enhances mission endurance. A three-bladed propeller is fitted on either side of the craft. An antenna is fitted on the top of the fuselage section for satellite communications.
Aeronautics Defence Systems developed two Dominator prototypes. The first prototype was introduced in 2005 in Israel. The development of the second prototype, Dominator II, was announced in February 2008.
The Dominator was showcased in the Paris Air Show held in June 2009. Powered by two Thielert diesel engines, the Dominator II took its maiden flight in July 2009 at Southern Israel.
Dominator UAV features
The Dominator features a standard anti-icing system, identification friend or foe (IFF) system, UMASTM avionics suite, self-monitoring system, a thermal imaging camera, a new broadcast quality colour daylight camera, UMAS automated flight control system (AFCS) and brakes systems.
It is equipped with automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) system which aids in executing ISR missions without the intervention of the ground control station operator. An electro-optic camera is fitted beneath the front fuselage section to capture battlefield imagery or videos.
The Dominator UAV can be controlled either manually from the ground control station or through autonomous mode. It is incorporated with a fully automatic launch and recovery (ALR) system which aids in automatic safe landing during communication failure with the GCS.
The UAV is fitted with a versatile sensor suite which includes electro-optic sensors and infrared sensors. The EO sensor converts light rays into electronic signals for capturing real imagery and battlefield videos.
The Dominator is equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), signal intelligence (SIGINT), communication intelligence (COMINT) and laser range finder.
The Dominator is powered by two Centurion 2.0 diesel engines, each of which produces 135hp (100kW) of output power. The Centurion 2.0 is a four-stroke diesel engine certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October 2006.
It is fitted with wet sump oil systems, a three bladed MT-propeller with hydraulic pitch controller and reduction gear box. Thielert Aircraft Engines is the prime contractor involved in the production of the engines.
A full authority digital engine control (FADEC) incorporated in the engine facilitates automated missions. Both kerosene and diesel in any mixture ratio can be used as the fuel.
The width and depth of the engine are 0.79m and 0.8m respectively. The height is 0.63m. The dry weight is 134kg.
Ground control station
The real-time data captured by the Dominator is retrieved, processed, stored and monitored at the ground control station (GCS). Communication between the GCS and Dominator takes place through a line of sight data link up to 300km range. The GCS is designed and manufactured by Aeronautics Defence Systems.
The Dominator can fly at a maximum speed of 354km/h. The range and service ceiling are 300km and 9,100m respectively. The UAV can loiter in air for a maximum of 28 hours.