Warplanes: Israeli UAVs Prowl the Russian Border


January 15, 2008: An Israeli firm is selling sixteen Aerostar UAVs to a "member of the Commonwealth of Independent States" (a new nation that was once part of the Soviet Union). Russia is developing new UAVs, but these designs are not as effective as most Western models, especially those from Israel. So it's interesting that the buyer of these Israeli UAVs does not want their identity publicized. That's being diplomatic, but putting the Russian manufacturers on notice that they had best hustle.

The Aerostar is a 460 pound aircraft, that can carry 110 pounds of sensors and batteries. Endurance is about twelve hours, maximum altitude is 18,000 feet. The Aerostar can operate up to 200 kilometers from its base station radio (or use an optional satellite comm. link and operate over 600 kilometers away). With a wing span of 21 feet, the Aerostar can move as slow as 108 kilometers an hour, and as fast as 200 kilometers an hour.

The Aerostars cost $1.5 million each. But add in ground equipment, spares and training, costs per aircraft are about 30 percent more (close to $2 million per UAV.)


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