Israeli manufacturers are noticing a growing demand for optionally piloted vehicles (OPVs). The OPV is a hybrid between a conventional manned aircraft and a UAV, an unmanned aerial vehicle, and has the option of flying with or without a human crew on board the aircraft.
OPVs are generally considered a low cost solution, since they do not necessarily need to be developed from scratch, the way UAVs mostly do. Also, it allows for great versatility. The OPV’s operator has the choice of deciding how to operate it. Because it retains on-board controls, it can operate as a conventional aircraft during missions for which direct human control is preferable, such as take-off and landing, or when carrying out aggressive maneuvers.
When unmanned, the OPV, unimpeded by human psychological limitations, can operate under more adverse conditions and for greater endurance times. It can also be used for example, as a low-cost flying test bed alternative to UAVs in research, experimentation, Sense and Avoid equipment, National Air Space (NAS) integration and concept exploration.