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Elbit Systems UK showcases Skylark 3 Hybrid to RAF

The Skylark 3 Hybrid was unveiled at the Singapore Airshow 2022. (Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems UK demonstrated its Skylark 3 Hybrid small tactical unmanned aerial system (STUAS) to the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 23 March, the company announced on 11 April.

A series of flight demonstrations were conducted at RAF Upavon in support of the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office's (RCO's) future concept development programme, the company stated.

The aircraft is powered by a new hybrid propulsion system and is Elbit Systems UK's contribution towards the UK Ministry of Defence's exploration of innovative sustainable technologies.

According to the announcement, the RAF assessed the system's performance based on several criteria to determine its potential – among other vehicles – for the next stage of the programme.

An RAF spokesperson was unable to elaborate on the programme and Elbit Systems UK's involvement.

The STUAS features a battery-powered electric engine driving a two-bladed push propeller in the rear of the aircraft, and a two-stroke internal combustion engine driving a two-blade propeller in the front. According to the company, this configuration increases the mission effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the system without compromising size or weight.

Elbit Systems UK states that the twin-engine architecture enables the system to be operational for up to 18 hours – more than three times the endurance provided by the baseline Skylark 3, which features the electric propulsion system alone.

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