Israel Aerospace Industries Develops Pilotless Drone to Evacuate Wounded Soldiers

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s largest aerospace and defense corporation announced on Monday that it has enhanced the capabilities of its unmanned drones to evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield or to transport supplies to troops in isolated sections of the battlefield.

IAI recently demonstrated a remotely-controlled drone, called Air Hopper, to top officials of both Israel’s defense industry and the IDF, The Times of Israel reported.

The two scenarios simulated for officials involved both the rescue of a wounded soldier and the transport of needed equipment to isolated troops. In the first simulation, the Air Hopper transported a wounded soldier and monitored his vital signs while reporting the readings to the ground. In the second scenario, the drone brought needed equipment to isolated troops near the front line without endangering additional soldiers. Both simulations were carried out successfully.

The Air Hopper’s design is modeled on that of a small manned helicopter and it can carry between 100 and 180 kilograms (220-400 pounds), and can stay airborne for up to two hours and achieve a maximum speed of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour.

Because the cost of the Air Hopper is considerably lower” than that of a comparable manned helicopter, services can afford a greater number of them.

The operators can manage flights and missions of the Air Hopper from a safe location outside of the battlefield.

The successful tests mark “an important milestone for IAI in the world of unmanned vehicles, developing the future battlefield and in offering optimal unmanned operational solutions that minimize the risk to human lives as much as possible,” according to Shaul Shahar, corporate VP & general manager, IAI Military Aircraft Group. “I believe these developments will open many doors for us in local and global markets, military and civilian alike.”

[Photo: Israel Aerospace Industries IAI / YouTube]