Israel’s Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense have launched an operational pilot program employing a counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) for the US Special Forces.
The decision was taken after observing the drone’s capabilities for about a year.
The Skylord system, also known as Sparrowhawk, has been developed by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, drone developer XTEND, and the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office of the US Department of Defense.
“This joint activity implements novel technological capabilities taken from the field of AR (augmented reality), and from the world of gaming,” said Lt. Col. Menachem Landau, head of the UAV Branch in the DDR&D of Israel’s Ministry of Defense.
“It enables the troops of both nations to employ intuitive, battle-proven and precise systems [following] a minimal training period, and to engage hostile flying objects such as drones,” he added.
Sparrowhawk’s Augmented Reality Interface
The system has a remote “augmented reality” interface that allows the operator to perform complex tasks by remotely watching the area of the drone’s operation “through the glider’s eyes.” The Sparrowhawk can intercept various aerial threats from a safe distance through the deployment of payloads.
Israel’s defense forces have successfully used an earlier version of the drone on the Gaza border, particularly in the interception of incendiary devices flown over the border, Israel’s Ministry of Defense said.
“The Sparrowhawk is one of the world’s most advanced C-UAS Hard Kill solutions,” said XTEND CEO Aviv Shapira in a statement. The company is “thrilled at the opportunity to deploy our systems in operational missions – and to protect the lives of both US/IDF combat soldiers.”
As part of the pilot program, US troops will deploy several dozen Sparrowhawk systems.