Jerusalem, Feb 5 IANS | 9 months ago

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Tuesday unveiled the latest addition to its line of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) -- a combat marine system named KATANA for homeland security, Xinhua reported.

KATANA's features include autonomous navigation and a collision avoidance system, and it is fitted with various payloads including electro-optic and infrared cameras, line-of-sight and none-line-of-sight communication, radar and weapon systems, the state-owned IAI said in a statement.

IAI said the craft, developed by its Malam factory, supports a wide range of missions -- protection of exclusive economic zones (EEZ), maritime borders and offshore gas rigs and pipelines, as well as port security, shallow waters patrolling, and electronic warfare.

It can also provide real-time intelligence imagery by identifying, tracking and classifying targets both far and near, and engage them if required, according to the statement.

It is capable of fully-autonomous operation or can be remotely controlled by a human operator, the statement added.

"We are proud to present the newest member of our USV family. It is the result of an ongoing development process which lasted many years," an IAI executive was quoted as saying.

Another company official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to comment on whether contracts to sell the vessel were being negotiated.

USVs have become increasingly popular in militaries across the globe since the suicide attack against the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000 which claimed the lives of 17 sailors and wounded dozens of others.

The Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defence Systems began developing the missile-armed Protector, the world's first operational combat USV, in the wake of that attack and other emerging maritime threats.

(Posted on 05-02-2014)

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