Magazine article National Defense

Small Drone Carries Any Payload You Want

Magazine article National Defense

Small Drone Carries Any Payload You Want

Article excerpt

Front-line troops have a growing appetite for small drones that they can launch by hand. Now, a new aircraft has been thrown into the field to compete with the Ravens and Pumas already being used by the military.

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The Four Delta small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) has a wingspan of 5.8 feet and weighs less than 3 pounds. It can carry a variety of payloads, from daylight cameras and thermal infrared sensors to chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear detectors.

"Most all SUAS are built around a specific payload and are mono-mission," said Jeff Imel, founder of Air Robotics, which is based in Charleston, W. Va. That single mision generally is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, but Air Robotics has developed a special pod that allows customers to switch out existing payloads for whatever the situation requires.

"The Four Delta can be daylight ISR one mission, then land, swap payload pods to a CBRN payload and conduct a remote-sensing operation," Imel said. …

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