Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), Israel
The Protector USV is an unmanned integrated naval combat system developed and produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is a highly independent remotely controlled vehicle. The USV is capable of performing several mission critical operations without revealing its identity to hostile source.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) acquired several Protector USVs from Rafael in 2004. The USV is also in service with the Israeli navy and several other navies across the world.
Rafael demonstrated the Protector USV to the US Navy in 2006 in association with its American marketing collaborators, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.
The Protector USV plays a prominent role in minimising safety risk to the sailors and armed forces by avoiding them to be directly in contract with the potentially mission critical operations.
Rafael launched the fifth generation 11m Protector USV variant in October 2012 during the Euronaval exhibition in Paris.
Protector USV 11m variant details
The newly developed 11m version of the Protector USV is installed with an enhanced remotely controlled water canon system for non-lethal and fire fighting capabilities. The water canon installed onboard can fire 4,000l of water per minute.
The new variant is equipped with a spotlight-N multi-sensor electro-optical (EO) image system. Spike LR missiles are also installed on the weapon station of the USV.
Protector USV design and features
The Protector USV is based on rigid hull inflatable boat. The flexible design of the USV supports the installation of various plug-and-play equipments to perform a range of missions. The reconfigurable design allows the operator to integrate versatile mission modules to perform anti-terror/force protection (AT/FP), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), naval warfare, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), mine countermeasures, electronic warfare (EW), and maritime as well as harbour security missions.
The base Protector USV variant has a length of 9.5m, width of 3.5m, and an overall height of 4.5m. The vehicle has a design displacement of 4t. It can cruise at speeds of more than 30kt.
Protector USV payloads
The Protector USV is equipped with several sub-systems including a radar, an electro-optical director (EOD), and a 360º panoramic camera. The EOD along with the search radar is used for effective detection, identification and targeting. The system enables precise observation and tracking of targets both manually and automatically during day and night.
The EOD integrates a third generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, colour charge-coupled device (CCD) camera, an eye-safe laser range-finder (LRF), and an advanced correlation tracker for effectively gathering the targeted intelligence in asymmetric scenarios.
A range of equipment and systems are fitted on the Protector USV, such as comprehensive command and control system, non-line of sight (NLOS) communication, advanced stabilisation, public address (PA) system, and light projector.
Weapon systems aboard Protector USV
The Protector is equipped with a Mini-Typhoon remotely controlled integrated weapon station. The highly stabilised and accurate weapon station can be mounted with various small calibre guns. The high preciseness and fire control capabilities of Mini-Typhoon provide the operator with a high target hit and kill probability.
The weapon system is integrated with a Toplight electro-optic system to detect and target the threats.
The Mini-Typhoon aboard the Protector USV can be armed with a Browning .50 calibre machine gun, a 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun, a GAU-17 Gatling gun, and a 40mm grenade launcher.
Engine and performance of Protector USV
The 9m version of the Protector USV is equipped with a single diesel engine and water jet propulsion.
The new 11m variant of the USV is equipped with two Caterpillar C7 diesel engines, for greater endurance and superior speed. The twin-engines avoid failures in navigation and sailing functions.
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