Tadiran Electronic Systems of Israel produced the Tadiran Mastiff large-scale Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the 1980s to an Israeli Defense Force requirement for an airborne observation platform. The need developed from Israeli experiences in the 1973 Yom Kippur War against belligerent neighboring forces led by Egypt and Syria. The Mastiff allowed ground forces the ability to reconnoiter areas close to the fighting without exposing helicopter pilots and low-flying aircraft to the dangers of the battlefront directly. The Mastiff shared a similar, though decidedly more utilitarian, appearance to the unrelated streamlined Israeli Aircraft Industries Scout UAV. In fact, the Mastiff and Scout were competitors for new Israeli UAV requirements born of the 1970s - both designs eventually being accepted in number in the 1980s. The Mastiff and Scout were then replaced by the IAI Searcher UAV in the early 1990s.
Design-wise, the Mastiff was given a rectangular fuselage nacelle with a well-sloped nose housing the required optics payload, fuel stores and engine. The engine was fitted to the rear of the nacelle and arranged in a "pusher" configuration. A straight wing assembly was added across the top of the nacelle. Twin booms emanated from the lower rear sides of the nacelle, each managing a vertical tail fin connected by a high-mounted horizontal plane. The undercarriage was fixed and of a tricycle arrangement featuring two main single-wheeled legs and a single-wheeled nose leg. Dimensions included a running length of 10 feet, 10 inches, a wingspan of 13 feet, 11 inches and an overall height of 2 feet, 11 inches. When empty, the vehicle weighed 170lbs and, with mission equipment installed, this totaled 300lbs. Performance from the single engine installation netted a top speed of 115 miles per hour. Endurance time equaled 7.5 hours. The UAV could operate at ceilings up to 14,700 feet.
As the Mastiff was intended for aerial observation of the territory below, its payload was restricted to optics in the form of cameras and sensors weighing up to 80lbs. Real-time communications were relayed to a ground control unit (GCU) staffed by specially-trained personnel. Since their inception, the Mastiff was evolved through three consistently-modernized variants and utilized with success in the 1982-1983 Israeli-Lebanon War.
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