Three systems acquired by security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin have progressed from their research and development phase to operational readiness.
According to Lockheed, the systems include the Indago vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) quadrotor, its handheld ground control station (GCS) and a new commercial avionics suite.
The company says the compact Indago VTOL, which folds up and requires no assembly, achieves ranges of up to five kilometers for up to 45 minutes when operated using the handheld GCS. The VTOL, Lockheed adds, features a 360-degree panning capability to aid area surveillance and provide enhanced situational awareness and actionable imagery in support of emergency response needs, including search-and-rescue situations, disaster relief or other surveillance missions.
At the heart of the unmanned aerial vehicle is the Kestrel autopilot system, which uses failsafe algorithms to help increase safety throughout missions, Lockheed notes. The company reports that the handheld GCS runs for four hours, is designed for outdoor readability and can be used with the Indago or as a standalone system with other aircraft.
‘After two years of developing these capabilities, we will now be able to deliver affordable and effective products to both military and commercial customers,’ comments Kevin Westfall, director of unmanned solutions at Lockheed's mission systems and training business. ‘The Indago VTOL, handheld GCS and advanced commercial avionics suite will provide mobility and high accuracy for a range of missions – now and in the future.’
Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin