More than 250 “portable” and “packable” mini-drones will be delivered to the British Armed Forces under a £129 million ($157 million) deal awarded to Lockheed Martin UK.
Replacing existing Mini Uncrewed Aerial Systems (MUAS) such as Desert Hawk 3, the 159 rotary-wing Indago 4 devices and 105 fixed-wing Stalker VXE30 drones, which are both capable of locating and identifying targets far from the operator, are due to be operational by the end of 2024.
Weighing a little over 20kg and with a 4.88m wingspan, the portable Stalker is a vertical-launched, near-silent drone providing more than eight hours of imaging capability and able to cover around 60 miles.
The packable drone, Indago 4, weighing only 2.27kg, can be folded and carried in a soldier’s backpack and deployed in just two minutes with a range of approximately eight miles. Its high-resolution camera systems provide incredible zoom capability to accurately identify people, objects, vehicles and weapons, day or night.
Both drone platforms will deliver imaging and surveillance, and provide greater capability for the Armed Forces, locating targets at multiple ranges across a variety of environments.
Already used by the U.S. military, the drones are designed to provide small military formations with immediate ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) capability.