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Xtend nears deliveries of Skylord Xtender sUAS under Pentagon contract

Xtend will start deliveries soon of its Skylord Xtender small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) to the Pentagon as part of a recent contract.

In the third quarter of 2021 the company will deliver dozens of Xtender tactical sUAS platform prototype systems to Pentagon tactical units for operational test and evaluation (OT&E). The award, issued in early 2021, is from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC), Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD). An Xtend spokesman said on 24 May that the company competed for the contract, but he did not provide further details.

Ido Bar-On, vice-president of business development and sales at Xtend, told Janes on 20 April that the Xtender is an indoor intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) solution built for close-quarters combat and urban warfare. The Xtender provides a unique, human-centric machine interface technology that enables operators to remotely intervene in dangerous situations from a safe distance.

An Xtender operator wears virtual reality (VR) goggles to view the aircraft’s video feed. Bar-On said this allows the operator to feel part of the aircraft.

The operator has one hand controller to direct the aircraft, which Bar-On said is similar to the that used by the Nintendo Wii video game system. Xtender was demonstrated at the 2021 US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) held from 5 February to 5 March at Fort Benning in Georgia.

The foundation of Xtender is the Skylord operating system (OS) built on UAS racing technology that allows an operator to fly the aircraft after 30 seconds of training. Bar-On said that it typically takes 9–12 months of training for an operator to achieve a high proficiency in unmanned aircraft operations. This also provides redundant capability as a specialist UAV operator is not required.

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