March 17, 2011:
Azerbaijan and Israeli firms have formed a joint venture to build Israeli designed UAVs in Azerbaijan. Two models of UAVs will be built. One is a lightweight model, the Orbiter 2. This one weighs 9.5 kg (21 pounds) and its battery powered motor can keep it in the air for about three hours per sortie. Maximum altitude is 3,200 meters and top speed is 120 kilometers an hour. But since the UAV can't operate more than 80 kilometers from the controller, top speed is rarely needed. The Oribiter is launched by a catapult. It lands via parachute, and is waterproof and floats. One of the three UAVs each system has can then be launched while the other has its battery replaced, and the parachute repacked, and be ready for another sortie in under ten minutes. The day/night vidcam transmits video back to the handheld controller, where the images can be stored. The Orbiter can also be used at sea, and Israel uses them on some of its patrol boats.
The other model is the Aerostar TUAV (Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). This is a 210 kg (460 pound) aircraft that has a 50 kg (110 pound) payload, and endurance of up to twelve hours. It can operate up to 200 kilometers from the operator, and at altitudes of up to 5,800 meters (18,000 feet).
By manufacturing these UAVs in Azerbaijan, a Moslem country, Israel will be able to sell these UAVs to other Moslem nations (which normally will not buy anything from Israel.)