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DSEI 2023: IDF Artillery Corps selects Skylark 1-eVTOL

The Skylark 1-eVTOL enables users to operate without launch and recovery equipment, or a runway. (Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems will supply the Israel Defense Forces' Artillery Corps with its Skylark 1-eVTOL small unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the company announced at DSEI 2023 in London.

Speaking to Janes , Ziv Avni, vice president and head of marketing and business development for Elbit Systems' Aerospace division, said that the Skylark 1-eVTOL had been developed to match the operating profile of the company's Skylark 1-LEX system.

Work on the system began around 18 months ago in response to both customer demand and an internal recognition of the need for the operational capabilities provided by the UAS, Avni explained.

The UAS is designed to have an expeditionary footprint, operating without the need for infrastructure in the launch and recovery phases. The aircraft has a fixed-wing and boom tail design, and is configured with an electrically powered pusher propeller. On the underside of nacelles are mounted two electrically powered, two-bladed rotors that provide the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability.

Avni said that the rotor blades are only engaged for the VTOL aspects of flight, with forward propulsion provided by the pusher propeller. The rotor blades draw their power from the central battery system.

Although the Skylark 1-eVTOL shares the ‘Skylark 1' designation with existing systems in Elbit's UAS range, the VTOL capability is not brought through an applique kit on an existing airframe, rather it forms part of an original design. Avni explained that the company took this approach as they had recognized the negative impact that an applique kit can have on the flight and mission performance of the host aircraft.

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