Israeli's Create a UAV Loitering Missile - Harop

Tucked into a corner of a presentation by Israel Aerospace Industries marketing vice-president Yair Ramati, at Aero-India's pre-show seminar, was an image of the company's newest lethal UAV (or loitering missile), the Harop or Harpy-2. Turkey reportedly placed the launch order for Harop in 2005 and the system is on offer to India.

In overall layout, Harop resembles a Harpy with outer wing extensions, a longer nose and a canard foreplane. Like Harpy, it is launched from a vehicle-mounted container, but it has an electro-optical seeker in addition to its anti-radar homing system. This allows an operator to identify and hit moving targets, or to attack a shut-down radar. Here's the system in test (with a landing gear to recover it if the test goes awry):

Ramati predicts a surging market for UAVs, increasing from $4 billion in sales in 2008 to $10 billion in 2020 - a $55 billion total market, dominated by UAVs in the Predator/Heron class and larger because those aircraft can carry multiple sensors. But, he warned, defense budgets will not grow anything like that fast - so that growth will be at the expense of manned aircraft.

Armed unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) will be adopted widely from 2015 onwards, Ramati says, "and will begin to substitute for some manned aircraft." IAI's forecasters, by the way, have looked at "the budget footprints" of US classified programs and are convinced that the US already has jet-powered UCAVs in service, developed and deployed in the black world.

Yamati also said that IAI expects the manned combat aircraft market to stay flat in terms of numbers - at 150 total deliveries per year - while increasing in value as aircraft get more capable. The company sees the US continuing to hold on to as much as half the market with Europe and Russia splitting the rest about equally.

Notably, though, the US share - 75 aircraft - is a lot less than the 200-plus jets that the JSF program plans. IAI expects JSF to lead the world fighter market "but costs will escalate", Yamati says.

video and pic: IAI