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Lockheed Martin unveils Condor UAS

Lockheed Martin unveiled its latest small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at the 2019 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), which was held in Tampa, Florida from 20 to 23 May.

The Condor, which has been developed as a Group I fixed-wing UAS in collaboration with the US Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory, is designed to support small unit teams with tactical intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and targeting support.

Lockheed Martin’s Condor UAS seen at the 2019 SOFIC. (Andrew White)

Lockheed Martin’s Condor UAS seen at the 2019 SOFIC. (Andrew White)

Lockheed Martin’s Steven Fortson, who is responsible for spectrum convergence and unmanned solutions at the company, told Jane’s that the Condor’s mission flexibility is centred around a single battery configuration, which provides an endurance of 4.5 hours.

This can be further extended to 6.5 hours with a pair of batteries, although this would reduce the payload capacity of the UAS.

Additional power supplies including fuel-cell technology or expendable batteries could also be integrated to extend mission endurance out to between seven and 10 hours.

Describing the 2019 SOFIC as the “first public outing” for Condor, Fortson also confirmed the UAS is due to undertake Foreign Comparative Testing with the USAF later in the year. Areas of interest will include developments in fuel-cell technology.

“Modular payload and power bays allow the operator to configure the aircraft to favour either mission endurance or mission capability,” he explained. “Because the payload bays form the air vehicle’s ‘outer mould line’, larger volume payloads are easily accommodated.”

Fortson also noted that the Condor’s 6- and 12-inch mission equipment payload bays as well as its adaptive fuselage system enable carriage of ‘non-standard’ payloads. Additionally, the airframe and payloads can be subdivided into approximately 12 pieces for man-packable carriage by dismounted small unit teams.

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