JERUSALEM – Israeli company Xtend will deliver hundreds of new Wolverine Gen2 drones to the US Department of Defense as part of a joint program between the government and the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the company said on Tuesday.
The US-made small drone “allows operators – even without flight experience – to perform extremely precise remote tasks, maneuvers and actions in complex environments (indoors or outdoors), with minimal training and maintenance.” says in a company statement.
The new agreement is part of a joint R&D program led by the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Defense Research and Development Directorate, in co-operation with the Pentagon’s Directorate for Technical Support of Irregular Military Operations. The delivery is expected to take place this year.
Xtend previously delivered several dozen Skylord anti-drone systems to the United States as part of a pilot program in 2020, and the program was further successful in 2021 with Skylord Xtender, which was delivered as part of a partnership between the two directorates.
“For us, the meaning of this program is an incredible vote of confidence that we received from IMOD and DoD,” said Gaddy Bar-Ner, CEO of Xtend.
He explained that the new technology allows small quadcopter drones to perform more missions as part of the transition from analogue to digital and represents the creation of “Swiss Army knife” capabilities for drones; in other words, a small drone can perform multiple tasks and use different applications, similar to a smartphone.
This second-generation Wolverine can interact with its environment using a robotic arm for missions against an improvised explosive device, Bar-Ner said, a task Wolverine drones have already performed for the Israeli Defense Forces.
The company is also developing a payload hub so that other options can be included in the drone to support, for example, e-war missions and automatic target recognition. The user “can upload [features] it’s like an iPhone… so you’re using the right app and payload, which is a new feature and it’s destructive in drone space because drones are usually designed for [limited] missions. ”
He hoped the drone could be included in the US military’s robotic war machines and said the company wanted to demonstrate Wolverine to the UK and other NATO members.
Xtend, which unveiled Wolverine Gen2 at the Modern Day Marine in Quantico, Virginia, this week will not provide the value of the new contract.
Seth Franzman is the Israeli correspondent for Defense News. He has covered the conflicts in the Middle East since 2010. He has experience in covering the international coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and is the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Reporting and Analysis in the Middle East.