According to an aviation and aerospace news and information website flightglobal.com report Israeli manufacturer BlueBird has won a contract to supply unmanned air vehicles to the Ethiopian army.
The company declines to reveal details about the order, but sources say it includes upgraded versions of the Boomerang and SpyLite systems, plus the establishment of local maintenance facilities and technology transfer.
BlueBird claims that its fuel cell-powered Boomerang can provide an endurance of over 10h while carrying day and night sensor payloads weighing up to a combined 1.3kg (2.8lb). However, an enhanced version with canards on its forward fuselage could achieve a flight time of 15h and reach an altitude of 15,000ft (4,570m), it adds.
The company’s smaller SpyLite mini UAV is designed for “over-the-hill” surveillance applications.
Israeli sources say African nations are becoming big potential customers for UAVs, due to their need to monitor long borders and to control areas with natural resources such as oil.
BlueBird’s success follows that of fellow Israeli firm Aeronautics Defence Systems, which recently won a deal to supply Orbiter air vehicles to Uganda.
Boomerang long endurance loitering and surveillance system
The Boomerang is a man-portable, Catapult launched, electrically powered loitering surveillance and reconnaissance UAV, modeled as a flying wing. With full autonomy, from launch to parachute recovery (to a predetermined location), the Boomerang delivers ease of use, large payload capacity (2.5Kg) and high reliability.
Operates in both day and night for a range of 35 Kilometers, and 3 hours endurance.
The Boomerang is equipped with a miniature, lightweight electro-optical, stabilized, airbone sensor which was designed to be carried by a miniature UAV, for tactical “Over-the-Hill” reconnaissance in daylight and optionally at night.
SpyLite Reliable visual intelligence in all weather conditions
The SpyLite was designed to supply immediate and independent visual intelligence for the Army, HLS and Civilian markets. It meets the required operational needs for tactical Visual intelligence asset acquisition, providing extended range, enhanced visual intelligence and real time gathering capability in stringent situations.
The SpyLite is specifically designed to allow critical, visual recognition of elements in real-time and gain dominant situational awareness of the inspected area. The system can be carried by 2 operators with the overall weight of
20 Kg for each and It flies in almost any weather condition (up to 40 Knots). The Spylite can be operated in a long endurance mode with longer wing tips and higher capacity battery.