Aeronautics Defense Systems

Aeronautics Ltd. (Hebrew: אירונאוטיקס בע"מ) (formerly NETS Integrated Avionics Systems) is an Israeli company[1] specializing in the manufacturing of Unmanned Aerial Systems for military uses. Since its establishment in 1997, the company has sold its products to more than 20 defense, military and homeland security customers in 15 countries.[2][needs update] Its headquarters are in Yavne, Israel.[3]

Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd.
Native name
אירונאוטיקס בע"מ
TypeLimited company
IndustryDefense Aerospace
Founded1997; 26 years ago (1997)
FounderZvika Nave, Moshe Caspi, Avi Leumi
Key people
Amos Mathan (CEO)
ProductsUnmanned aerial vehicles
RevenueIncrease 550 million (2015)
OwnerRafael Advanced Defense Systems
Number of employees
600 (2015)
ParentRafael Advanced Defense Systems
SubsidiariesRT Aerostats Systems
Zanzottera Technologies

Aeronautics’ senior management is made up of leading figures from Israel’s defense, financial and political sectors. The company's CEO is Amos Mathan, who previously served as the CEO of Soltam Systems. The chairman of the board is Yedidia Yaari, a retired vice admiral who was the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Navy from 2000 to 2004 and the president of defense firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. from 2004 to 2015.

On September 2, 2019, The company has completed acquisition by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israeli businessman Avihai Stolero.[4]

History Edit

The company was founded by Zvika Nave, Moshe Caspi and Avi Leumi in 1997 as a start-up called NETS Integrated Avionics Systems.[5] Since its inception, Aeronautics focused on developing low cost, miniature Unmanned Aerial Systems and managed to stand out both in the Israeli and the global markets. In 2000, the company introduced the world's smallest avionics system, which eventually evolved into the Orbiter 1 kg UAV[6]

In 2004, Aeronautics launched Seastar, one of the world's first unmanned maritime vehicles[7]

In 2006, Aeronautics signed a $250 million deal with Nigeria to supply unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ships to protect the Niger Delta area, the country's main stockpile of oil.

In 2007, Internet entrepreneur Avi Shaked (founder of 888 Holdings) acquired 33% of the company's share for $20 million.[8]

In 2009, Viola Private Equity partners, a group founded by investor Shlomo Dovrat, bought $20 million worth of the company's preference shares at a valuation of $200 million.[9]

In 2012, Aeronautics Orbiter 2 was selected by Finland’s Defence Ministry, the deal included 55 UAS'. The acquisition aimed at giving the nation’s armed forces new surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities.[10][11]

Controversies Edit

On August 29, 2017 the Defense Export Controls Agency of the Israeli Ministry of Defense suspended Aeronautics' permit to export Orbiter 1K model UAV to Azerbaijan. The move came after report that Aeronautics representatives have conducted a live-fire test of its Orbiter 1K model against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh at the request of the Azerbaijani military. According to Armenian military officials, two soldiers were lightly wounded as a result of the attack on July 7, 2017.[12][13]

In 2018 the Justice Ministry said prosecutors intended to press charges against its employees for aggravated fraud and violations of the defense export law. Aeronautics and three of its senior employees were charged on December 30, 2021 with "violating the law regulating defense exports in its dealing with one of its most prominent clients".[14][15]

Subsidiaries Edit

  • Commtact Ltd: develops a variety of microwave data link communicationss – Transmitters, Receivers and Antenna Systems in a wide spectrum of frequencies band. Aeronautics holds 100%.
  • RT Ltd: a company that designs and manufactures the SkyStar family of aerostats, for use in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications applications.[16] Aeronautics holds 51% of RT.
  • CONTROP Precision Technologies Ltd: a developer and manufacturer of electro-optical and precision motion control systems, acquired in 2012. Aeronautics holds 50% of Controp jointly with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which holds the other 50%.[17]
  • Zanzottera SRL: an Italian company, acquired in 2004, which is dedicated to the design, development and production of piston engines for the propulsion of small and medium-sized UAVs. Aeronautics holds 100% of Zanzottera.[7]
  • Azad Systems: an Azerbaijani company, established in 2011 with assistance from Aeronautics Defense Systems.[18] It is considered a joint venture with the Azerbaijani government, and Aeronautics has an option to acquire 50% of the shares.[18]

Products Edit



Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) Edit

  • Dominator MALE UAS

The Dominator UAS is a twin-engine medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAS based on the Diamond DA-42 aircraft. The 1800 kg (MTOW) Dominator can stay airborne for 24 hours and carry a payload of 415 kg. Introduced in 2011, Dominator serves 2 military undisclosed customers. It is as well involved in a civil UAS program in Canada operated in cooperation by Aeronautics and CAE.

  • Aerostar Tactical UAS

Aerostar Tactical UAS was introduced in 2001 and operated since by some 15 customers worldwide, accumulating 130,000 operational hours (Nov. 2013). Aerostar was one of the first UAS to operate in civil missions such as an oil rigs protection program near the shores of Angola, as well as in military leasing programs in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. The 230 kg (MTOW) Aerostar can stay airborne for 12 hours, operate at the range of 250 km, and carry 50 kg of payloads.[20][unreliable source?]

  • Orbiter 3 STUAS

The Orbiter 3 Small Tactical UAS (STUAS) is an electrically powered, field deployed UAS designed for military and homeland security missions. Operated by 3 personnel, Orbiter 3 is launched from a vehicle mounted launcher and lands using a parachute and an airbag. Weighing up to 30 kg, Orbiter 3 can fly for 7 hours up to the range of 100 km. It carries a multi sensor camera with day and night channels and a laser pointer. Due to its special structure and quiet electrical motor the Orbiter has a very low electromagnetic and aquatic signature, which makes it difficult to detect in the field of battle. Orbiter 3 is operated by 6 international military customers.

  • Orbiter Mini UAS

The Orbiter Mini UAS is a compact and lightweight electrically powered system, operated by 2 soldiers. It is carried and deployed in backpacks or from a small vehicle. The Orbiter MUAS is launched from a miniature launcher and lands using a parachute and an airbag. Weighing up to 10 kg, Orbiter MUAS can fly for 4 hours up to the range of 80 km. It carries a multi sensor camera with day and night channels and a laser pointer. Due to its special structure and quiet electrical motor the Orbiter has a very low electromagnetic and aquatic signature, which makes it difficult to detect in the field of battle. Orbiter Mini UAS is operated by some 20 military, homeland security and civil customers worldwide.[21]

Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) Edit

  • AISR

Aerial intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance systems onboard fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.

  • GISR

Aeronautics' ground ISR (GISR) incorporates electro optical sensors, elevation systems and operator interfaces. Aeronautics GISR was delivered to several international military and HLS customers.[citation needed]

  • Skystar surveillance aerostat

The Skystar surveillance aerostat system provides its users with an "eye in the sky" at the altitude of 300–500 meters above the ground level. Tethered to the ground, the aerostat may stay airborne for long days with very short breaks for helium refill once in every 3 days. The Skystar may identify a target at the range of over 20 km. Skystar currently serves over 10 military and HLS customers worldwide.[citation needed]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ AERONAUTICS LTD Company Profile
  2. ^ Aeronautics Awarded an Orbiter MUAS Upgrade and Support Contract by the NATO Support Agency
  3. ^ "AERONAUTICS LTD | Israel Company Reports - Search Israeli Companies". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  4. ^ "Rafael Completes Aeronautics Acquisition". CTech. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  5. ^ Company Overview of Aeronautics Ltd. Bloomberg
  6. ^ Aeronautics to Unveil Orbiter 1K UAV at Paris Air Show, Unmanned Systems Technology, 26 May 2015
  7. ^ a b A Vision for Safer Warfare - the Crewless Ship, Plane, Tank, Amnon Barzilai, Haaretz, Dec 01, 2004
  8. ^ Gambling Tycoon Avi Shaked Buys Aeronautics Yossi Melman, Haaretz, Mar 28, 2007
  9. ^ Globes, May 12th 2014: UAV maker Aeronautics pulls out of spin Archived May 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ FRANCE24, January 30th 2014: Booming drone Business for Israel
  11. ^ Finland gets second batch of Orbiter UAVs, Arie Egozi, Flightglobal, 24 September 2014 BY:
  12. ^ Gross, Judah Ari (29 August 2017). "Drone sale to Azeris halted as maker accused of bombing Armenia in demo". Times of Israel.
  13. ^ Cohen, Gili (29 August 2017). "Israeli Firm Loses Kamikaze-drone Export License After Complaint It Carried Out Live Demo on Armenian Army". Haaretz.
  14. ^ "Israeli Kamikaze Drone Maker, Top Employees Charged With Violating Export Law". Haaretz. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  15. ^ "Charges pressed against Israeli company and its senior employees which used drones against Armenian positions". Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  16. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  17. ^ Rafael and Aeronautics complete Controp acquisition correspondent Rafael and Aeronautics both own 50% of Controp Archived June 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Globes 8 January 2012
  18. ^ a b Desk, iHLS News (15 October 2014). "Orbiter 3 to be manufactured in Azerbaijan - iHLS Israel Homeland Security". iHLS Israel Homeland Security. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  19. ^ "SYSTEMS". Aeronautics Ltd. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  20. ^ Aerostar Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Airforce Technology
  21. ^ Orbiter Miniature Aerial vehicle Archived 2016-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, Defense Update 02/01/2005