Pilotless planes small enough for a single soldier to carry and operate are gathering intelligence for U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israeli manufacturer said Monday. Elbit Systems, one of Israel's leading defense electronics companies, said its little "Skylark" can cover an area within a range of 6 miles day or night. It is about 7 feet long with a wingspan of nearly 8 feet, the company said.
"Skylark is operational and currently deployed in the global war on terror in Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan," the statement said. It described the Skylark as suited for "close range, beyond-the-next hill, counter-terror missions."
Lt. Col. Matthew McLaughlin of CENTCOM, the American command that handles Iraq and Afghanistan, said the military "would not confirm the use of the drone," but is always looking for aircraft with such capabilities. The U.S. relies heavily on pilotless planes of all shapes and sizes for surveillance, launching missiles and
other missions in the region.
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