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Israel unveils unmaned submarine under development

In a statement, the Israeli defense giant said that the submarine conducted thousands of autonomous operation hours, including intelligence-gathering for both maritime and coastal targets, acoustic intelligence, and identifying the presence of naval mines.

BlueWhale is equipped with a telescopic mast, several meters high, on which are mounted radar and electro-optical systems for detecting sea and coastal targets. A satellite communications antenna installed on the mast allows the gathered data to be transferred in real-time to command posts, anywhere in the world, at sea or on land.

Submarine detection and acoustic intelligence-gathering data is done using towed array sonar with a length of several tens of meters as well as via flank array sonar with receiver installed to both sides of the unmanned submarine.

A dedicated synthetic aperture sonar that is installed on the sides of the unmanned submarine is used for the detection of naval mines.

  • In addition, the 12-meter-long BlueWhale is equipped with a sensor suite to help ensure its safe autonomous transit underwater or near the surface.

“Based on its advanced engineering capabilities IAI’s Elta Group has for the first time in the world managed to bring to maturity the development and production of an autonomous underwater system able to perform a wide range of tasks,” Yoav Tourgeman, IAI vice president and ELTA’s chief executive officer, said. “BlueWhale is a significant member of IAI’s family of maritime products, which include solutions for use in Economic Exclusion Zones, tools for managing autonomous vessels, and their integration in monitoring the maritime arena.”

BlueWhale can perform a significant portion of the operations of a manned submarine, for periods of several weeks, at minimal cost and maintenance.

Israel has been developing unmanned military systems since the 1970s.

  1. While it is considered a world leader in unmanned aerial vehicles, it is still making efforts to improve its autonomous naval and land-based vehicles. IAI’s new unmanned submarine will pose a real threat to Israel’s regional foes, especially Syria and Iran.