AeroVironment has started the full-rate production of Mantis i45 electro-optical / infrared (EO/IR) gimbal sensor suite for Puma all environment (AE) small unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
The Mantis i45 was launched in May 2016, with an aim to improve Puma AE’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment vice-president and general manager Kirk Flittie said: “In operations, the Mantis i45 reduces the likelihood of detection by increasing the distance between the Puma AE and areas of interest while still providing the clarity and image quality of a close-range asset.
“The higher resolution imagery also aids in target analysis, positive identification and better enables operators to identify threats to friendly forces.
"By minimising Puma’s exposure to detection by the enemy, the Mantis i45 greatly improves its ability to complete reconnaissance missions safely and effectively.”
AeroVironment's Mantis i45 is equipped with an advanced suite of ultra-high-resolution EO, long wave IR imagers and a new low-light camera.
The system's EO / IR / low-light / illuminator sensor suite offers dual-colour 15MP cameras, 640MP x 480MP infrared imagery, a high-power illuminator, and 50-times zoom in EO.
It also features optional onboard storage for high-definition video and high-resolution stills, as well as an image processor that delivers superior performance at day or night.
The small, waterproof gimbal system is capable of providing the same electro-optical image resolution as its predecessor i25 gimbal at up to seven times the distance, AeroVironment stated.
The Mantis i45 can be installed on Puma AE without requiring any modifications.
Designed for both land and maritime operations, the Puma AE can deliver more than 3.5h of flight endurance.
Image: AeroVironment’s Mantis i45 gimbal sensor suite gives Puma AE operators the confidence to see up to seven times farther at significantly less costs than larger platforms. Photo: courtesy of AeroVironment.