Lockheed Martin's Indago small unmanned aerial system (UAS) was recently deployed following the devastation of Cyclone Pam in the nation of Vanautu.
After the cyclone, the Vanautu government and World Bank contacted Australian operator Heliwest, who deployed the Indago to conduct rapid damage assessment. Without risking lives, the Indago collected imagery of the damage over a two-week mission and provided the data to operators.
The Indago, which can provide a 360-degree surveillance of an area, weighs only five pounds and has an endurance of more than 45 minutes at a range up to 3 miles (5 km) when the handheld controller is used. Also, it can be carried in a single backpack with everything required to operate the system.
‘In the wake of Cyclone Pam, the Indago was able to navigate through the destruction and provide an accurate picture of damaged property and assets,’ says Jay McConville, director of business development for unmanned integrated solutions at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. ‘The Indago can work day and night to augment disaster-relief efforts and humanitarian aid missions to help save lives and begin the recovery process.’
‘With the simple change of a payload, we could provide a stable, high-resolution video and oblique imaging with a vertical takeoff and lift capability all in the one package,’ comments Luke Aspinall, manager of special operations for Heliwest. ‘Pairing a true multi-role UAS rugged enough to operate in almost all weather with an experienced and professional aviation solutions provider was the ideal solution to a challenging environment like Vanuatu.’