Israel's Elbit Systems unveiled its Magni micro multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 20 November, saying it is designed for squad, platoon, and company levels.
A senior Elbit source told Jane's that the Magni has already been sold to an Israeli customer he did not identify and that the company expects further sales to international clients.
The UAV weighs 2.5 kg and can carry a payload weighing 350 g that includes both day and thermal cameras, thereby enabling frontline units to "significantly enhance" their situational awareness, Elbit said. The Magni has a range of up to 3 km, a maximum altitude of 4,000 ft, and a 30-minute endurance.
It comes with a charging 'nest' that is mounted on a vehicle and allows it to be launched and recovered while on the move. The aircraft is controlled using a tablet-type device that, like the UAV, is linked to the overarching command-and-control system so that surveillance feeds can be automatically shared with other units.
Elbit says the Magni is much more appropriate for military operations than the commercial multi-copters that many militaries have bought in recent years. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF), for example, has bought large numbers of UAVs made by the Chinese company DJI.
The Elbit source described these as cheap and basic systems. "We brought our expertise to where we are strong: on the defence side," he said. "There is no doubt that a serious military needs a military multi-rotor system. One can buy civilian systems for daily security needs, but not for emergencies."
The Magni means operators are not dependent on Chinese technology, benefit from secure, encrypted communications, and are less vulnerable to enemy attempts to disrupt and bring down their UAVs, according to the source. "It is rugged to a military standard and has much higher survivability," he said.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to Jane's unrivalled data and insight, learn more about our subscription options at janes.com/products