Lockheed Martin has unveiled a tethered version of its Indago small unmanned aerial system (UAS) to increase protection for the US Special Forces.
The tethered Indago small UAS is designed to provide continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities at a reduced cost.
US Special Forces perform a range of critical missions, including combating counterinsurgency, conducting reconnaissance, and collecting information vital to national security.
In order to carry out these missions effectively, personnel and infrastructure involved in the operations need constant protection through reliable intelligence and surveillance.
The company aimed to address this need with the expansion of its Indago portfolio.
Without the tether, Indago 3 has the ability to fly for 50-70 minutes. The UAS weighs less than 5lb and can be carried in a rucksack.
The new variant has completed flight testing and allows special forces to quickly configure the tether to have access to uninterrupted ISR. This eliminates the need for dependence on battery.
Indago Business Development manager Michael Carlson said: “When it comes to unmanned systems and capability, size does matter. We want to make something as important as force and facility protection as simple and effective as possible, the tethered Indago can do that.”
According to Lockheed, the payloads of the system can provide high-resolution daytime electro-optical imagery that has the ability to read a licence plate from a 1,000ft standoff distance.
At night, the system will provide detailed thermal infrared imaging that will allow the identification of a person, weapon, and other intelligence such as warmth of vehicle tracks on a surface.
The thermal infrared includes imagery in a range of heatmap colour palettes such as black hot, white hot, and ironbow, an orange and purple.
Quick deployment ability of Indago offers civilians and troops an ‘eye-in-the sky’ in minutes.
The UAS has an operating altitude of 10ft-500ft above ground level and 18,000ft mean sea level.