US-based FLIR Systems has developed a tether kit that can dramatically increase the endurance of its SkyRanger R70 and R80D SkyRaider small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to company officials.
The tether will provide continuous power to a UAV, enabling the aircraft to stay airborne for 24 hours instead of less than an hour with battery-powered free flight. By anchoring a UAV to one ground location, the tether makes it easier for operators to monitor and control the aircraft.
FLIR envisions the tether kit being used to perform a wide range of missions, including persistent surveillance. For communications relay, the company considers tethered small UAVs to be easier to field than large, sensor-equipped towers.
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