US to deploy drones for chemical and biological threat detection
Teledyne FLIR Defense on 9 February announced that it had been awarded a $13.3 million contract by the US DoD to extend the capabilities of its R80D SkyRaider UAS to autonomously carry out chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance missions.
The company will integrate flight control software that enables the SkyRaider to fly CBRN missions currently performed by soldiers hand-carrying sensors into hazardous areas.
Teledyne FLIR will produce prototype chemical and radiological sensor payloads for the UAV, as well as integrate existing US Army detector equipment. This contract follows three years of work by multiple joint programme offices to develop UAS capabilities for CBRN applications.
David Cullin, VP of technology and product management at Teledyne FLIR Defense, said: 'Employing unmanned air and ground assets to assess risks from weapons of mass destruction is an increasingly sought-after capability. We’ll continue our customers’ important work to enhance situational awareness for mounted and dismounted operations, enabling greater manouevrability on future CBRN-contested battlefields.'
The company already offers a family of CBRN sensor payloads for UAS– the MUVE C360, MUVE B330, and MUVE R430.
The SkyRaider and its developmental payloads will be designed to operate with the C2 user interface on the US Army’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV) Stryker vehicle, for which Teledyne FLIR Defense is prime systems integrator.
For the base contract, the company will deliver four SkyRaiders and six of each sensor payload, with options to support training and documentation, plus the delivery of additional UAS and payloads. Initial deliveries are scheduled for autumn 2023.
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