Home- Stories -IAI Offers ASW Capable UAVs

IAI Offers ASW Capable UAVs

: May 13, 2019 - : 12:54 pm

To meet the growing need from maritime operators that call for integration of anti-submarine capabilities on marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is offering new capabilities in this arena. This requirement emerged initially from the discontinuation of the Israeli Navy’s “Shahaf” maritime jet and resulted in the growing use of IAI Heron UAVs for maritime patrol missions.

The use of Heron UAVs for such missions meant, that there also arose a need for there to be ASW capabilities launched directly from the UAV. IAI’s Heron maritime UAVs are already able to carry a wide range of dedicated payloads and are now being offered with two new pay- loads for submarine detection: the Sonobuoy (acoustic detector) and the MAD (Magnetic Detector).

“The maritime heron UAV has proved its efficacy for the Israeli Navy as well as for other clients. The addition of anti-submarine capabilities expands the UAV’s operational scope, while opening up new markets for IAI. As the home of the world’s advanced technologies, IAI is thrilled and proud to become one of the first to offer a solution of this type,” said Moshe Levi, EVP & GM of IAI’s military aircraft group while adding, “In an age with growing submarine threats, the use of these systems will improve nations’ security across the seas, including in their economic water and seaports.”


Basically, a small, lightweight innovative sonar float, the sonobuoy is hurled out of the UAV with a para- chute and then part of the sonobuoy submerges in water, while the rest remains above water, emitting and receiving acoustics signals in high seas.

The findings are transmitted in real-time to the UAV’s control stories. The MAD is a UAV-mounted device that detects and alerts on submarines through identification of changes in the magnetic flow (metal objects detection).

Both the sensors working in conjunction with one another provide a very high level of ASW capability for a UAV, since the sonobuoy is used for searching a broad area while the MAD is used to verify that the object is a submarine, including an up-to- date location.

Several sonobuoys can be carried by the Heron, which it hurls accurately into the sea when- ever the presence of a submarine is suspected. Operators who are able to use UAV’s configured for ASW operations are able to garner significant advantages, including longer stay time (dozens of hours on air), back-transmission of the sonar for many hours, operators who are located on land and can monitor the situation over multiple shift, and most importantly, the absence of risk to human life.

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