The Skylark I-LEX mini unmanned aircraft system is operational with the Israeli Land Forces. Image: courtesy of Elbit Systems.
Skylark I-LEX is an improved version of the Skylark I-LE small UAS. Image: courtesy of Elbit Systems.
The Skylark I-LEX UAS can be integrated with the user's C4I systems. Image: courtesy of Elbit Systems.

The Skylark I-LEX mini unmanned aircraft system is operational with the Israeli Land Forces.

Skylark I-LEX is a new generation, man-portable, electric-propelled, mini unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufactured by Elbit Systems.

Mini UAS was introduced at the Paris Air Show 2015 held in Le Bourget, France, in June 2015.

The Skylark I-LEX is an enhanced version of Skylark I-LE mini UAS, which entered service with the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in 2004. The mini UAS is designed for use by manoeuvring forces for in-theatre operations. It is in service with the Israeli Land Forces and has been selected by various international customers.

The system supports a variety of military applications such as organic beyond-the-next-hill reconnaissance, covert aerial intelligence, force protection and counter insurgency. It can also be used by homeland security authorities for surveillance of coastal areas and borders, anti-terror operations, perimeter security and law enforcement missions.

Design and features of Skylark I-LEX UAS

"The UAS can be deployed from static or moving ground vehicles, and can fly autonomously from take-off to landing."

Skylark I-LEX UAS is packable and simple to operate. It can be managed by two operators through a mission-oriented, intuitive man-machine interface (MMI). It features an airworthy design and incorporates enhanced safety equipment.

The UAS can be deployed from static or moving ground vehicles, and can fly autonomously from take-off to landing. It can also operate in fly-by-camera mode for automatic tracking and detection of stationary and moving targets.

The drone has a wingspan of 3m, take-off weight of 7.5kg and payload carrying capacity of up to 1.2kg. Its hot-swap capability allows users to interchange different payloads based on their operational needs.

In addition, it features air data relay communication capability and can be integrated with the user’s C4I systems. An airborne airbag system of the UAS enables point recovery without any ground reception devices.

Payload details of the mini UAS

The Skylark I-LEX unmanned aircraft system is integrated with a gimbaled and stabilised payload sensor for collecting high-quality imagery and video in real-time during the day and at night. It is also equipped with image processing capabilities, including geo-registration, automatic tracker, moving target indicator and mosaicking.

An advanced digital encrypted data link is used to downlink real-time video, telemetry and data for processing by the ground control station (GCS).

Ground control station

The UAS is designed to deliver high performance capabilities for military homeland security and civil applications, and can be deployed to conduct a variety of missions.

An advanced ground control station is used for mission planning, payload control, and command and control of the Skylark I-LEX. The GCS features operator consoles, modern graphical user interface (GUI) and a remote video terminal (RVT).

Performance of Skylark I-LEX UAS

Powered by an electric propulsion unit, the Skylark I-LEX UAV can transmit information within a line-of-sight communication range of 40km. It has a service ceiling of 4,572m and is inaudible at 100m above ground level. The UAS can endure for up to three hours. It delivers improved performance compared to the Skylark I-LE.

Skylark variants

The Skylark family of unmanned systems include Skylark I, Skylark II, Skylark I-LE, and Skylark Block 2, a US version of the Skylark 1-LE. Variants are operational with the IDF and a number of NATO countries, as well as other international military and security authorities.

The Global Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Market 2011-2021

This project forms part of our recent analysis and forecasts of the global unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) market available from our business information platform Strategic Defence Intelligence.

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