Science & Technology

Israeli Micro-Drones Are A Powerful New Intelligence Gathering Tool

A joint development between Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and Rafael’s Makers’ lab new micro-drones enhance Israeli security

An IDF instructor demonstrates the Spike anti-tank missile developed by Rafael
Copyright: Natan Flayer [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

New generation micro-drones, which are now becoming operational in Israel are less than 20 cm (8″) in diameter, weigh less than 50 grams (under two ounces) and cost less than $50, but they are packed with sensors, can self-navigate in tight quarters including indoors, and are a powerful new intelligence gathering tool for the Israeli security forces.

The drones were developed as a joint effort between Ben Gurion University in the Negev and Israel’s Armament Development Authority known by the Hebrew acronym Rafael (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems). Specifically, the development was led by Rafael’s Makers’ Lab, a mini Skunk Works for the quick turnaround of innovative defense technologies on a smaller scale.

The drones sport a relatively quiet power plant and propulsion system and their low cost makes them semi-disposable; while they can come back to the launch site, should they not be able to do so, it would not constitute a major financial loss.

Operational control is achieved via a command vehicle, though the narrow band and low transmission power of the drones as well as the operational duties that often take them indoors may require a signal boosting station to be placed between their zone of operation and their human controllers. This can be achieved via a separate robotic vehicle, whether on the ground or airborne.

For the original Ynet story in the Hebrew complete with photographs and video clips, please click here.

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