Chile Orders SpyLite Mini-UAVs
With all the focus on North Korea, it’s easy to forget about the Latin American LAAD 2013 exhibition. Chile has been a regional leader in the use of UAVs, including their 2011 purchase of long-endurance Hermes 900s. Now, they’re taking the next step, and joining a larger trend by adding a short-range “over the hill” mini-UAV to complement the long-endurance Hermes. The new winner is also an Israeli firm, but this time the order went to BlueBird Aero Systems in Kadima, Israel, for their SpyLite mini-UAS. Bluebird CEO Ronen Nadir says that SpyLite beat competing systems “in both performance and price level.”
The SpyLite is an electrically-powered UAV that’s launched from a small, backpackable launch catapult, and recovered with the help of a parachute and airbag. Bluebird says that their UAV has a 50 km communication range and 4 hour flight endurance, and can fly even in the strong winds and cloudy or rainy days that give other mini-UAVs problems. It carries a stabilized video/infrared payload from CONTROP, and has proprietary ground exploitation software that allows geocoded information to be relayed back to Bluebird’s Ground Control Station. The Israeli Air Force flies SpyLite, and so do “several international customers” besides Chile. Ottawa Citizen.