Israel, UAE to develop advanced unmanned surface vessels

The vessel will offer unique capabilities in terms of modularity, payload, range, manoeuvrability, and performance.


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the United Arab Emirates’ EDGE Group, a defense technology company, announced Thursday a strategic agreement to jointly design a first-in-class series of 170 modular-unmanned surface vessels (m-USV) for a range of military and commercial applications.

EDGE’s entity, ADSB will design the platform, integrate the control systems and payload, and develop the concept of operations (CONOPS), while IAI will develop the autonomous control system and integrate various mission payloads to the control system units according to the mission requirements.

Employing advanced sensors, sonars, and imaging systems that are integrated into a unified command and control system, the USV can operate either remotely, semi-autonomously or autonomously. The vessel will offer unique capabilities in terms of modularity, payload, range, manoeuvrability, and performance.

Military applications for the USV include intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, border and littoral zone patrol, maritime security operations, mine detection and sweeping, submarine detection and anti-submarine warfare, deployment platform for Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) vehicles.

Commercial applications include oceanography, pollution monitoring, oil and gas exploration, transportation of materials and liquids, search and rescue, fire-fighting and first interventions.

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EDGE and IAI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a maintenance center for a selection of IAI’s systems in the UAE. In addition to maintenance, the center will advance local marketing of these systems.

The agreement covers electro-optics advanced systems including IAI’s POP family (Plug-in Optronic Payload) systems, Mini-POP and MOSP (Multi-Sensors Optronic Stabilised Payload) surveillance payloads for land, naval and air applications.

IAI’s POP is a Plug-in Optronic Payload electro-optical sensor system, equipped with a powerful laser designator and eye-safe range finder. The MiniPOP is a dual-axis that includes a continuous zoom color day camera and a thermal imaging camera, a laser pointer, an eye-safe laser rangefinder, and an automatic tracker. The MOSP is a highly stabilized long-range reconnaissance and targeting multi-sensor family of payloads for Airborne and maritime applications.

Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and Managing Director of EDGE Group, said that “it is an important milestone for EDGE to forge collaborations with leading defense players such as IAI to strengthen our advanced technology portfolio.”

Boaz Levy, President and CEO of IAI, said that “we are proud to join hands with EDGE in this endeavor, which is another step towards our growing efforts and partnership in the region.”