Elbit Systems: Israeli-made Drones in Action in Iraq, Afghanistan

Manufacturer says Skylark drone being used by U.S. forces; U.S. commander won't confirm report.

Small Israeli-made pilotless planes are gathering intelligence for U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the manufacturer said in a statement Monday.

Elbit Systems, one of Israel's leading defense electronics companies, said the little Skylark can be carried and operated by a single soldier, covering an area within a range of 6 miles day or night, the company said. It did not give details of its exact size or weight.

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.

Elbit said the Skylark would be unveiled to the public at the March 20-25 Australian International Airshow.

The Skylark is just one of several items of Israeli defense hardware deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, state-owned arms-maker Rafael said it had won a contract to supply the U.S. Marine Corps with state-of the-art armored vehicles for use there, and military analysts said Israeli firms had long been supplying and maintaining equipment for American ground and naval forces in Iraq, although both buyers and sellers generally preferred to keep a low profile.