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IAI Searcher - Israel, 1992

Detailing the development and operational history of the IAI Searcher Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

 Entry last updated on 4/18/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  IAI Searcher  
Picture of IAI Searcher

The IAI Searcher UAV replaced both the IAI Scout and Tadiran Mastiff UAV types in Israeli Army service.

The Israelis realized the value of drones in warfare before most and developed a very mature industry to fulfill a bevy of running requirements. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has become a major contributor in the field and, beginning in 1992, added the "Searcher" - a reconnaissance-minded Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for scouting and surveillance sorties over friendly and enemy airspace. The type is a conventionally-powered system with a traditional design managing a payload of equipment. The series has spawned the original "Searcher 1" of 1992 which has since been followed by the "Searcher 2" of 1998. Searchers have been sold abroad to a select few allied powers in Asia.

Searcher 2 fields a payload capacity of 150lbs consisting of tracking systems, sensors and camera equipment. Its gross weight is 1,100lbs making it manageable by few personnel on the ground. The airframe maintains a running length of 19 feet, 2 inches with a wingspan measuring 28 feet. Height is listed at 4 feet. The overall design consists of a fuselage nacelle straddled by a pair of high-mounted straight wing assemblies at midships. Two thin tubular booms emanate from the trailing edge of the wings and connect at a horizontal assembly to which a pair of vertical fins are situated. The nose is well-sloped for aerodynamic efficiency. The drone is powered by a single Limbach L550 series engine of 47 horsepower driving a three-bladed propeller assembly fitting to the rear of the fuselage in a "pusher" configuration. Performance specifications include a top speed of 125 miles per hour, an operating service ceiling of 20,000 feet and a mission endurance time of eighteen hours. The undercarriage is fixed in position and consists of a single-wheeled nose leg and a pair of single-wheeled main legs.

The Searcher series is in use with the forces of Israel, India, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey. They have been seen in the standard light sky gray finish and a desert-minded camouflage scheme.

IAI Searcher Specifications

Service Year: 1992
Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
National Origin: Israel
Manufacturer(s): Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - Israel
Total Production: 200

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 0
Overall Length: 19.19 feet (5.85 meters)
Overall Width: 28.02 feet (8.54 meters)
Overall Height: 4.10 feet (1.25 meters)

Weight (Empty): 772 lb (350 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 1,102 lb (500 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Limbach L550 engine of 47 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 108 knots (124 mph; 200 kph)
Service Ceiling: 20,013 feet (6,100 meters; 3.79 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload

None. Payload consists of optics and sensors.

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

India; Israel; South Korea; Singapore; Thailand; Turkey

Model Variants

Searcher - Base Series Designation
Searcher Mk I - First Generation Model of 1992
Searcher Mk II - Improved Second Generation Model of 1998.
Searcher Mk III - Updated Searcher UAV platform

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