A week after the IDF downed a Hezbollah
drone entering Israel,
and in light of Iran's
introduction of a new long range drone, The Israeli Aerospace Industry
(IAI) unveiled the newly-enhanced "Shoval" unmanned aerial vehicle on Sunday.
The drone, used by the Israeli Air Force and Navy for sea surveillance, has been drastically upgraded.
The improved UAV now includes four special surveillance cameras, installed on the bottom of the drone, while the old version had only one such camera. This upgrade allows the navy higher-quality and faster identification of objects, as well as a much broader exposure from every possible angle.
As part of Sunday's showcase, held in central Israel, the Shoval drone flew towards the sea and identified a commercial vessel on the Mediterranean, dozens of kilometers away from Israeli shores.
Live footage displayed in HD quality on the control screens showed foreign reporters virtually every detail on the ship, including its Japanese flag, the name on its front and the sailors walking on board.
The drone can also identify aircraft flying over the sea and determine whether they are suspicious. Its radar, which has a 300km (190 mile) range, can reach as far as Cyprus, Turkey and Egypt.
"The system can inquire and intercept any object within just a few minutes," a senior IAI official said.
'Shoval' drone.' Intelligence asset. (Photo: IAI spokesman)
The UAV weighs 1,200 kilograms (2,645 pounds) and can carry 256 kilograms (565 pounds) in surveillance cargo.
"The Shoval has satellite communication abilities, which means any footage it takes will be broadcasted online to distant location like Paris. This capability allows it to operate during bad weather, in which case it will fly under cloud height and will not be affected by the rain," the official said.
The Israeli drone is being used by militaries and security forces in 30 countries and across four continents, including the US, Canada, France and Germany.
The new technology will allow it to identify and incriminate suspicious cargos at sea and on the shore; it will also provide security solutions to offshore oil barges.
Also Sunday, Elta, IAI's subsidiary company, announced a new acquisition contract for advanced Alfa radars, the same type that was purchased by the Navy for its battleships. The new radars are expected to fully replace the old ones within two years; they will allow verification of suspicious objects at a higher pace, while also having artillery, tracing and identification abilities.