Among the 30 or more companies exhibiting their unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities at IDEX 2015, Lockheed Martin (Stand UM-18) displays a remarkable breadth of applications.
“In the public mind, UAVs − or drones – are mostly associated with the military, but law enforcement and a range of civilian applications are equally important,” Jim Hedges, international business development director, MENA, explained. “Featuring a certain amount of overlap in their range of applications, our systems are used in border control, disaster relief, pipeline and power line security, besides the usual missions like reconnaissance, search and rescue, and combat operations.”
To illustrate the point, Lockheed Martin has on display a series of models, from the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter, with its ability to supply forward-operating bases, to the proven man-portable, hand-launched Desert Hawk III and highly versatile Indago VTOL quad-copter with perch-and-stare capability.
Other UAS innovations include the operationally proven Stalker with an unprecedented long endurance and low-light HD imaging capability, able to fit in a small vehicle, and the company’s range of aerostat systems. Designed for integration in C4I networks or as standalone sentries, aerostats can provide persistent wide-area surveillance and communications. Noteworthy is the fact that Lockheed Martin provided its first lighter-than-air-based persistent ISR systems to the US Navy more than 75 years ago.
“Our name and brand are key differentiators in the UAS market, which is growing by the day,” Hedges said. “None of us can be sure where we’ll be tomorrow in terms of technology, but Lockheed Martin’s UAS technologies draw on a spirit of invention and innovation, as shown by the Skunk Works logo on some of our displays. It shows we’ll continue to define the solutions of the future.”