Few world military powers hold the experience in deploying drones over active battlefields like Israel does. Their victory over Syria in the 1982 Lebanon War was made possible, in part, by effective use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) so it stands as no surprise that the country is at the forefront of modern drone design, development and production and other world forces have taken note. Russia, for instance, has adopted the IAI "Searcher" UAV and manufactures this Israeli product under license as the "Forpost", based on a subsequent production design designated as "Searcher II" which is an improved Second Generation model introduced by IAI in 1998.
UAVs have proven themselves ideal over modern battlefields, particularly against less advanced foes. It is a booming industry and a hot commodity for any world-class military power and a plethora of manufacturers have popped up to sell their wares to whatever buyer is interested. Some are lightweight and hand-launched, others medium-class and catapult launched. Some have been designed as explosive, disposable suicide machines while, still others, are large, aircraft-like developments able to loiter over contested territory for hours on end.
The Forpost falls into the standard Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) category. Its form and function is largely similar to that as seen with the Searcher family line. A high-mounted monoplane wing arrangement is featured while an internal cargo bay holds mission support equipment. An optics fit is seen at the belly while a radar fit is identified along the dorsal spine of the aircraft. A 47 horsepower engine is seated at the rear of the fuselage in a "pusher" configuration, driving a three-bladed propeller. The Forpost retains the original's twin-boom, twin-tail-finned empennage and fixed, wheeled undercarriage.
Performance specifications are equal to that as seen in the Searcher II: a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour, a mission endurance window of about 18 hours, and a service ceiling up to 20,000 feet.
The Forpost has seen combat action in the skies over Ukraine and, presumably, Syria where Russian interest and direct involvement continues to grow.