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Air Platforms

Xponential 2019: Lockheed Martin adds tether to Indago 3 quadcopter UAV

30 April 2019
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Key Points

  • Lockheed Martin has added tether capability to its Indago 3 UAV
  • This allows the aircraft to fly longer than solely on battery power

Lockheed Martin has added a tether to its Indago 3 quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), providing the aircraft with continuous power compared with the limitations of battery life.

Michael Carlson, Procerus Technologies business development manager, told Jane's on 30 April that the tether also provides communications over wire and removes the security risk of radio communications. Radio frequency (RF) is sometimes detectable, Carlson said, adding that capability is desirable by customers in sensitive missions such as covert operations.

Lockheed Martin's Indago 3 quadcopter UAV, with tether, on display on 30 April at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Chicago. (IHS Markit/Pat Host)Lockheed Martin's Indago 3 quadcopter UAV, with tether, on display on 30 April at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Chicago. (IHS Markit/Pat Host)

The collapsible Indago 3 aircraft weighs less than 2.3 kg and folds into a man-packable unit that requires no tools for assembly. Indago 3 can be unfolded in 60 seconds and airborne in just 2.5 minutes, according to a company statement.

Indago 3 comes with two payload suites. One is a thermal infrared (IR) sensor called NOCTIS that provides long-wave infrared (LWIR) and can provide an operator with the ability to differentiate between small arms and rifles and other weaponry. The payload also allows a user to see tyre tread on the ground long after a vehicle has passed, said Carlson.

"One thing I do in the booth when I go to trade shows is I put my hand on my jacket and you can see my hand print on my jacket," he said at the 2018 AUVSI Xponential conference. "It's a cool demonstration of the sensitivity."

The other payload, ION3X, is a high-resolution electro-optical (EO) daytime camera with low-light settings that provide an operator with the ability to read a vehicle registration plate from a 305 m stand-off distance.

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