C4iSR: Air

AUSA 2019: FLIR Systems announces new StormCaster-T camera for SkyRaider UAV

16 October 2019

FLIR Systems' R80D SkyRaider multi-mission unmanned rotorcraft on display at the 2019 AUSA convention. The large camera on the bottom of the aircraft is a new StormCaster-T thermal camera with FLIR Boson sensor. Source: IHS Markit/Pat Host

FLIR Systems is offering a new StormCaster-T thermal camera with FLIR Boson sensor for its R80D and R70 SkyRaider multi-mission unmanned rotorcraft that features a 15–75 mm zoom optic, according to a company official.

Mark Holden, FLIR director of product strategy for the US government, told Jane’s on 16 October at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) convention that this new camera is a 7x improvement over standard Group 1 payload in localisation, accuracy, and dynamic stability.

The camera, Holden said, can determine and count people outside a vehicle and determine whether they are carrying a shovel or a rocket launcher at 5.2 km from a target. The SkyRaider, he said, can conduct actionable sensing operations past 5 km with its 60x electro-optical (EO) camera.

The StormCaster-T is a longwave infrared (IR), continuous zoom intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) payload. The camera has 640x512 resolution and 31 degree to 6 degree optical continuous zoom and 2 degrees with digital zoom. The camera weighs 1 kg and can operate between -20 deg and 45 deg Centigrade.

The StormCaster-T permits clandestine operation by increasing the aircraft’s standoff while aircraft-embedded NVIDIA TX2 processors enable real-time artificial intelligence (AI), including object detection and classification. The StormCaster-T can be used for missions including immediate ISR, targeting, situational awareness, event overwatch, force protection, and advanced target recognition.

The R80D SkyRaider also features four downward-facing monochromatic vision cameras that allow the aircraft to operate in Global Positioning System (GPS)-denied environments. Holden said a front-facing EO/IR camera allows a more defensive sensor posture that permits an operator to hand off control of the bottom sensor over a network to another operator while maintaining a first-person view of that front facing EO/IR camera.

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