NESS ZIONA, Israel — Elbit Systems unveiled an airborne video surveillance system that allows users to collect high-resolution intelligence from up to 10 specific points of interest over exceedingly broad areas in real time, or what executives here call "back-in-time" modes.

Called SkEye, the firm's eye-in-the-sky system covers some 80 square kilometers at a time, enabling users to zoom in and out over multiple points of interest while going "back in time" to analyze events from ongoing or previously recorded missions.

"For the first time, there's a capability to go back in time. And it's not the playback option that you've come to know," Yair Ganor, senior director for business development and marketing for the firm's Wide Area Persistent Surveillance line, told reporters here.

"Today, we're completely changing the paradigm of aerial surveillance; we're no longer in the world of viewing regions of interest through video soda straws," Ganor said. "We've added a unique layer of intelligence collection on top of existing electro-optical systems to record and analyze events over very wide areas. We're talking about 80 square kilometers." 

He cited terror events in Paris and more recent events in London, where authorities were forced to launch multiple aerial platforms and determine specific areas for priority surveillance. "In terror events that involved multiple affected areas, authorities had to launch several helicopters, and each helicopter had to know what he was looking for. The decision makers had to prioritize and to compromise," he said.

"Here, they can do it simply with a single system. Within the 10 windows, we can zoom in and out. And from the moment of the blast, some can continue forward while others can go back in time to connect people and places," he added.

Danny Israeli, vice president for business development and strategy for the firm's ISTAR Division, said SkEye is operational and has been installed on the firm's Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAVs as well as the DHC-6 Twin Otter and Cessna 208B platforms.

In a briefing to reporters here, Israeli said the airborne intelligence system incorporates many of the technologies developed for the firm's GroundEye, which Elbit demonstrated for the first time in 2014 during the Carnival in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Both systems, he noted, allow professionals to simultaneously monitor multiple events for full situational awareness. 

Like the Elbit GroundEye, SkEye features a customized alert system that allows commanders and first responders to be notified of specific or unusual events. 

He said Elbit will debut the system, installed in the firm's Hermes 900, at the Le Bourget Paris Air Show later this month.

Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at

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