Elbit Systems of Israel produces their Skylark series of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) as a portable surveillance and reconnaissance system. The type was developed through a joint initiative by the Technology and Logistics Branch and Ground Forces of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Due to its size, the system can be brought to bear at the squad level, providing a fire team with a quick reacting, real-time processing "eye-in-the-sky" ally to be used to identify potential threats or areas governed by the enemy during the course of an operation. The Skylark has since been evolved into two distinct forms - the original Skylark I and the follow-up Skylark 2 with broadened tactical capabilities. Elbit Systems was founded in 1967 and is headquartered out of Haifa, Israel. Its initial business primarily dealt with electronics and communications before delving into the world of unmanned systems, having grown to employ some 12,300 personnel worldwide.
As a portable system, the Skylark can be transported with relative ease and is launched via hand - doing away with the more complicated and expensive catapult-launching methods utilized by larger UAV types. The design consists of a conventional airplane arrangement involving a centralized nacelle containing the requisite fuel stores, powerplant and payload as well as a traditional tail unit. The Skylark makes use of straight wing appendages that sport a slight forward crank at their midway span (this is mainly noticeable at the trailing edges. Wings are high-mounted on the fuselage to help clear the belly-mounted nacelle camera equipment. The tail unit consists of a single vertical fin set forward of the horizontal tailplanes. There is no undercarriage attributed to the Skylark design as recovery is through stalling, creating a slow and controlled freefall to which the system lands safely on a pre-inflated cushion. The Skylark I sports an operational range out to 10 kilometers (approximately 6.2 miles). The onboard powerplant manages a two-bladed propeller system fitted at the front of the design in a "puller" configuration.
As the primary mission of the Skylark is observation, the system is properly equipped with a real-time camera for daylight operations while it can also be equipped with a thermal imaging device and electro-optical/infrared sensors. This allows for the Skylark system to operate in low-light conditions with the same fervor as it does in day time sorties. Guidance is assisted by the onboard GPS installation. The visual systems transmit data to an awaiting Ground Control Station (GCS) managed by the launch crew.
The Skylark II (also known as the "Skylark Generation 2") system is a more advanced version of the Skylark family UAV. Elbit debuted the Skylark II in 2006 and marketed it with an improved range of 60 km (37 miles) with a flight endurance time of approximately 6 hours. The aircraft is intended to serve in the low-to-medium altitude role and management is through a crew of two specially-trained operators utilizing the GCS from a HMMWV high-mobility vehicle (HUMVEE). Its overall design configuration is equivalent to the original Skylark 1 series including the underslung payload area.
The Skylark II is expected to enter service with the Israeli Army by the end of 2013 and serve in the intelligence-gathering role. The Skylark 2 will eventually staff every Israeli Army battalion in the support role.
The Skylark family of UAVs is in widespread use with the forces of Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Israel (Skylark I and II), Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Korea (Skylark II) and Sweden. The UAV has seen combat action in both the Afghanistan and Iraqi theaters.
Status Active, In-Service
Production 100 Units
Elbit Systems - Israel
Australia; Canada; Croatia; Czech Republic; Hungary; Israel; Kazakhstan; Macedonia; Netherlands; Poland; Slovakia; South Korea; Sweden
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
105.45 ft (32.14 m)
15 lb (7 kg)
15 lb (7 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Elbit Skylark production model)
1 x Electric powerplant powering a two-bladed propeller in a puller arrangement.
40 mph (65 kph; 35 kts)
15,000 feet (4,572 m; 2.84 miles)
124 miles (200 km; 108 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Elbit Skylark production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Elbit Skylark production model)
Skylark - Base Series Designation
Skylark I - Initial production model
Skylark II - Appearing in 2006.
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
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