Lockheed Martin UK has developed a tube-launched micro-UAV that it claims has a competitive endurance for the class of system it falls under.
Outrider has proven in excess of 2.5-hour flight time, which given that it is a class 1B system − categorised as sub-2kg at 1.7kg − means it has enhanced performance for its size.
‘‘Our USP is that we have such a lightweight fixed-wing asset that can achieve an endurance of over 2.5 hours,’’ Paul James, international business development manager for the company, told the DSEI Daily. ‘‘There is nothing that will fly for that level of endurance in the marketplace.’’
It can be launched from a range of platforms, including from the subsurface signal ejector on a submarine, which James says is the most challenging way to deploy it. The canister reaches the surface of the water, where it receives positional data, and the arms of the tube keep the system stable atop the sea.
It can also be vehicle or ground-launched, or removed from the tube and deployed by hand.
Outrider was originally designed to be expendable, but Lockheed is seeing demand from potential customers to be able to recover the system, so is looking at recovery options.
The company is pitching it to the military and commercial markets, with search and rescue operators of particular interest.
It carries a forward-looking infrared/HD TV camera at the rear of the fuselage, and can be integrated into a common ground control station along with other Lockheed UAVs.