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FLIR Systems has introduced the StormCaster family of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) payloads for its SkyRanger R70 and R80D SkyRaider airframes. The new line launches with two multi-sensor products – StormCaster-T, which delivers continuous zoom and longwave infrared (LWIR) imaging; and StormCaster-L, which provides ultra-low-light imaging, tracking, and mapping.

The next generation line of UAS payloads delivers multi-sensor capabilities for ISR, event overwatch, search and rescue, and force protection missions. It offers a 7X improvement in line-of-sightstabilisation, enhanced range of motion, and greater geolocation accuracy – all in a rugged package. Interoperability across the StormCaster family enables users to change modules on the FLIR SkyRanger and SkyRaider UAS systems. The StormCaster line provides small units with the capability to conduct demanding intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

“StormCaster-L and –T are just the beginning of this new line of advanced, high-performance payloads for our small, tactical UAS platforms,” said David Ray, president of the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR. “For mission needs ranging from force protection and border security to clandestine operations, FLIR StormCaster will provide heightened situational awareness, bolstered by our aircraft’s onboard, real-time artificial intelligence. “We will develop more multi-sensor payloads through 2020 that deliver on our promise to offer capabilities at the individual operator level that previously required larger, more expensive UAS,” Ray added.

The StormCaster-T features a FLIR Boson thermal camera to support detection, recognition, identification, and target acquisition day or night, with maximum range and time-on-station. Its continuous zoom lens, with a 75-millimeter maximum focal length, permits long distance ISR while providing clear, actionable imagery. The StormCaster-L ultra-low-light imaging camera offers superior ISR and mapping performance during twilight and night-time operations. Key features include 4K recorded video and full-colour night vision in low-light conditions.

Developed for U.S. defence and federal agencies, the R80D SkyRaider delivers a Group 2 and 3 payload capabilities with the agility and single-operator deployment footprint of a Group 1 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. SkyRaider can carry multiple payloads up to 4.4 pounds and features an open architecture, plus one of the most powerful embedded AI computing devices available on a UAS. Similar in capabilities to the R80D but for non-U.S. military customers, the SkyRanger R70 was designed for UAS operators within the global defence, security, and public safety markets.

Christian Kanig