“Unmanned Vehicles are Far from Fulfilling their Potential”

“We think that the field of unmanned systems in general and UAVs in particular are still in their relatively early stages, and that they will develop into new places,” stated Elad Aharonson, Executive VP and General Manager of the UAS Division at Elbit Systems.

Really? The market is not close to full utilization but rather only at the beginning?
“Yes, it is not in any way near full utilization. We estimate that the field of unmanned solutions and systems where the operating human element is not on the platform will only expand. If the field has thus far primarily focused on fixed-wing medium UAVs for intelligence missions, it will subsequently develop into additional missions and different platform types. These include larger UAVs and vehicles that can take off and land vertically, which, to this day, have not been a focal point for various reasons – mainly technological ones. The market will also advance in such directions as unmanned naval systems and unmanned ground systems.”

Aharonson belongs to the young generation of executives at Elbit Systems, and the special interview conducted with him in anticipation of the IsraelDefense 2013 Unmanned Vehicles Conference (October 10, 2013) allowed us to understand Elbit’s concept regarding the opportunities and limitations in the field of unmanned vehicles. Elbit is currently regarded as one of the world’s leaders in the field of UAVs. In addition to the UAVs it supplied to the IDF (the Hermes-450 and Hermes-900 UAVs and the Skylark tactical UAV, already in operational service), Elbit was involved in developing the Watchkeeper UAV system for the British Army. The company has also provided UAVs and systems to dozens of other armed forces around the globe.

“Elbit set up the subject of unmanned systems at a very central position,” says Aharonson. “We invest a lot of money in it and we market it wherever possible around the world and expand our portfolio of these products.

“The fact that Elbit had entered this field early on, as far back as the 1990s, and since then has significantly improved its capabilities, enables us today, when the field is beginning to prosper, to be in a leading position globally.

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