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AUSA 2021: Teledyne FLIR unveils new Ion M640x tactical UAS

The Teledyne FLIR Ion M640x tactical UAS unveiled on 11 October at the Association of the United States Army's annual convention in Washington, DC. (Janes/Pat Host)

Teledyne FLIR launched its new Ion M640x tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) on 11 October at the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) annual convention.

Thomas Rambo, senior director for unmanned and integrated solutions at Teledyne FLIR Defense Technologies, told Janes on 11 October at the show that the aircraft improves on the Altavian Ion M440 with a 640×512 infrared (IR) sensor and a near-IR laser illuminator.

The M640x's laser illuminator allows a user wearing night-vision goggles to point at objects without an adversary knowing it is being targeted, Rambo said. According to him, the laser illuminator also makes it easier for operators to find and transmit co-ordinates to other soldiers.

The M640x includes new object tracking that allows an operator to designate a target for the aircraft to detect and track while it moves. The aircraft also has tri-band radio capabilities.

Rambo said the M640x performs general surveillance missions and was born out of the US Army's Short-Range Reconnaissance programme, which directly supports the service's programme executive officer for aviation as a project developing small, unmanned quadcopters that focus on open-source tools.

The M640x has 35 minutes endurance and weighs just over 1.8 kg. Rambo said the aircraft is backpack-capable, and can be deployed in under two minutes. He said an operator can only control one Ion M640x with one ground control system.

Teledyne FLIR developed the Ion M640x in response to customers who wanted better sensors, the laser illuminator, and removable media. The aircraft, Rambo said, uses an AES256 digital data link, and has a 3 km line-of-sight range.

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