Rafael Advanced Systems Ltd. completed the development of a new and larger version of the Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV). The new model will be 11 meters long, as opposed to the 7-9 meter length of older models.
The Protector has been in the service of the Israeli Navy for the past four years. The operational model is equipped with electro-optic means and a 7.62 mm mini-Typhoon cannon that enables target-acquisition and identification from long distances, allowing it to engage without putting a manned vessel at risk from a boat-bomb.
The Protector is also useful in investigating suspicious fishing boats off Gaza’s coast.
The construction of a dedicated naval platform and conversion of an existing naval vessel to an unmanned vessel made the larger version of the Protector possible. Unlike the single engine on the previous model, the new USV is equipped with twin engines to increase cruising distance, speed, and the vessel’s duration at sea. The new Protector can also be outfitted with a wider range of weapons, including non-lethal weapons for policing missions.
Rafael will soon unveil the enhanced Protector. IsraelDefense learned that the first order of new Protectors will be based on the new platforms being manufactured by Rafael, as requested by the client, and not on the conversion of old vessels. The USVs are expected to operate in one of the five oceans.