Aeronautics Group, in which Rafael Advanced Defense Systems acquired a 50% stake in September, announced on 12 December that its flagship unmanned aerial system (UAS), the ORBITER 4, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully completing a record-breaking 25-hour flight. The flight was conducted at mission altitude in early December and the aircraft mounted the T-STAMP laser-capable electro-optical (EO) payload.

ORBITER 4 is the company’s most advanced tactical UAS in its increasingly popular ORBITER family, and has the ability to undertake long-range, long-endurance flights, even in severe weather conditions. The platform, with a high payload capacity, can carry and operate two different payloads simultaneously, integrate an EO payload with laser designator, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), maritime patrol radar (MPR) or other advanced payloads. In addition, the system features an open architecture that allows quick integration of new advanced sensors.

This new achievement highlights our technological leadership in the tactical UAS segment,” said Amos Matan, Chief Executive Officer for Aeronautics Group. "The ORBITER 4 is a breakthrough system with [an] impressive roadmap, based on Rafael advanced technology and payloads and we are committed to continue investing in developing the platform for the benefit of our customers and users, reaching more records and maintaining excellence."

ORBITER 4 is a runway-free, highly portable and easily deployable system with a small logistics footprint. The system can be used for all intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions, border protection and naval operations, having the capability to take-off from and recover to naval vessels. The solution is mature, based on the accumulated experience of hundreds of thousands of flight hours across the ORBITER family and is already being used by a “significant customer,” according to an Aeronautics press statement.

ORBITER 4 URBAN at launch. (Photo: Aeronautics)

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