Ethiopian Air Force orders UAVs and aeronautic technologies

Ethiopian Air Force is to acquire aeronautical equipment and technologies, including Unmanned Air Vehicles(UAVs) and the establishment of local maintenance facilities. The news comes from a popular aviation news website,, which cited sources inside an Israeli aircraft manufacturer.

According to the news, the Israeli manufacturer BlueBird has already won the procurement contract that includes the supply of upgraded versions of the Boomerang and SpyLite systems technology transfer. However, BlueBird declined ‘to reveal details about the order’, according to the website.

[Updates will be provided, in this blog, from relevant aviation and news media, as the Ethiopian Military hardly confirm or deny such reports.]

[Photos: Boomerang and Spy Lite – UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles (click here) ]

Read below the specifications Boomerang and Spylite (taken from BlueBird’s marketing brochures).

Specifications of Boomerang – (link)

Boomernag – Long Endurance, Fuel-Cell powered mini UAV
The Boomerang is a mini UAV that features exceptional, unprecedented long endurance capability of up to 10 hours, based on the newest generation of Fuel-Cell technology.

The Boomerang practically defines a new niche in the mini UAV market, since such long endurance can only be found in much bigger platforms.

The Boomerang is integrated with Bluebird’s combat proven avionics and innovative technology, to provide all weather stealthy and reliable operation.

When carrying Bluebird’s photogrammetric payload, the system can automatically generate a high resolution (4 cm/pixel) orthophoto of up to 300 km2.

The Boomerang is your perfect solution for long endurance area domination, in any tactical circumstances.

The Boomerang offers:
Long Endurance ISR Solution
The Boomerang Mini-UAV System is optimized to provide stealthy, long endurance real-time visual intelligence to HLS and civil applications.

Rain and High Wind Operation
Unique in its ability to fly in winds of over 40 Knots on cloudy
and rainy days, Boomerang assures high operational ability
when other systems can neither fly nor see.

Tactical Mapping On Demand (TMOD)
A digital Orthophoto is the necessary foundation for many military and civilian applications, used by government agencies and local municipalities for large scale projects planning and monitoring, environmental management, emergency services, homeland security, and many other applications.

The Boomerang photogrammetric capability is based on its stabilized photogrammetric payload controlled by the autopilot and a post-processing algorithm that automatically stitches the high resolution collected images into a digital orthophoto.


  • Long range and endurance
  • All weather operation
  • Stealthy ISR capabilities
  • Digital video link
  • Unique mapping capability
  • Moving targets tracking


  • Combat proven avionics
  • Automatic reliable catapult launch
  • Automatic parachute and air-bag recovery
  • Unified advanced mission oriented ground control station


  • Gross weight 9.5 Kg (21 pound)
  • Payload (day, IR) up to 1.3 Kg
  • Endurance > 9 hours
  • Airspeed 30 – 60 Knots
  • Operational range 50 Km
  • Wing Span 275 cm
  • Wind resistance 30 Knots
  • Flight Ceiling 15,000 ft ASL

Specifications of SpyLite – (Link)

SpyLite – Multi Configuration Tactical UAS

Reliable visual intelligence in all weather conditions.
The SpyLite was designed to supply immediate and independent visual intelligence for the Army, HLS and Civilian markets. It meets the required operational needs for tactical Visual intelligence asset acquisition, providing extended range, enhanced visual intelligence and real time gathering capability in stringent situations.

The SpyLite is specifically designed to allow critical, visual recognition of elements in real-time and gain dominant situational awareness of the inspected area. The system can be carried by 2 operators with the overall weight of 20 Kg for each and It flies in almost any weather condition (up to 40 Knots). The SpyLite can be operated in a long endurance mode with longer wing tips and higher capacity

The Spylite offers
Long Endurance ISR Solution
The SpyLite Mini-UAV System is optimized to provide stealthy, “over-the-hill” real-time visual intelligence to civil applications, HLS and infantry, or extended range to artillery and special operation forces. Its quick deployment capability, ease of control and operation and immediate data exploitation provide the tactical teams with reliable intelligence.

Rain and High Wind Operation
Unique in its ability to fly in winds of over 40 Knots on cloudy and rainy days, SpyLite assures high operational ability when other systems can neither fly nor see.

Complete ISR and Tracking Solution
The SpyLite System has proven its effective integration with Special Forces supplying them with real-time targeting, automatic motion detection, target tracking and BDA.

Operational Flexibility
The SpyLite system is specifically designed for a variety of operational needs while maintaining the customer’s ability to switch between different configurations according to the mission. Enhanced endurance is accomplished by using the same UAV platform with the exception of changing only the
battery and the wing tips. Communication range is dictated by the ground control station configuration.


  • Combat proven system
  • Back-packed tactical system
  • Severe weather operation
  • Long range and endurance
  • Stealthy urban ISR capabilities
  • Ease of use and short turn around time
  • Unified advanced ground control station


  • Digital secured video link
  • Automatic targets detection and tracking
  • Automatic launch and recovery
  • Parachute and air-bag recovery
  • Mission oriented intuitive control

Operational Status
The SpyLite has been operated successfully in combat conditions for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and has been chosen for operational use by the Israeli Air Force. The SpyLite has also participated in Spike C4I System (Tycoon) maneuvers and found to be an important asset.

Low Life Cycle Cost (LCC)
The SpyLite system claims a low LCC due to its long endurance, unique technical design, highly reliable components and its autonomous launch and landing performance.


  • Weight 6/8Kg.
  • Payload 1Kg.
  • Endurance 1.5Hr./3.5Hr.
  • Control range 10Km / 35Km

Daniel Berhane

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