Air Platforms

FLIR Systems enhances tethered UAS operations

14 November 2019

FLIR Systems has boosted its tethered UAS capabilities with the acquisition of Aria Insights. Source: FLIR Systems

FLIR Systems will use the recently acquired intellectual property (IP) and assets of Aria Insights to enhance its Tether Kit system and further expand its tethered capabilities, the company has told Jane's .

The company announced that it had acquired the tethered drone assets of Aria Insights, which was previously known as CyPhy Works, in early October. Aria Insights specialises in the development of small tethered unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), notably the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) platform.

Roger Wells, vice-president of FLIR's unmanned division, told Jane's that "Aria had really solved a lot of hard and challenging problems" for tethered systems, notably around power conversion, cable management, and "the control aspects required to effectively deploy a tethered UAS system … we see that as a key piece of our tethered solution moving forward".

FLIR's major offering in this domain is its Tether Kit, which can be used with the company's R70 and R80D systems. The kit comprises a detachable harness/power converter, battery-replacement modules, and interfaces with off-the-shelf ground stations. It plans to release successive new versions of the system over the coming months and years and plans to incorporate Aria's technology into these new systems, Wells said.

Tethered systems provide users with two primary benefits: the power connection means the system can stay in the air for extended periods of time, allowing for long-range persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and other missions; secondly, these can act as "a key link between UAS and unmanned and ground-based systems".

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