Last week, Teledyne FLIR Defense announced that it had been awarded a $13 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to make additional enhancements to its 80D SkyRaider unmanned aerial system.
The U.S. will use the drones to autonomously conduct chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance missions, the company said.
Teledyne FLIR Defense is part of Teledyne Technologies Inc.
Teledyne FLIR Defense will integrate flight control software that enables the SkyRaider Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to autonomously fly CBRN missions currently performed by soldiers hand-carrying detection sensors into hazardous areas,” the Wilsonville, OR-based company said. Blending the new technology with SkyRaider’s existing capabilities will allow soldiers to complete these missions without directly controlling the drone – and without exposing themselves to toxic substances.
Teledyne FLIR added it will also design and build prototype chemical and radiological sensor payloads for the R80D SkyRaider, as well as integrate existing detectors in the U.S. Army’s inventory. This effort builds on three years of investment by several joint program offices to develop new and improved UAS capabilities for CBRN missions, it said.
Teledyne will deliver four drones by fall 2023
For the base contract, Teledyne FLIR will deliver four SkyRaiders and six of each sensor payload, with options to support training, documentation, plus the delivery of additional UAS and payloads.
Both the autonomous SkyRaider and the new sensor payloads will be designed to operate with the command-and-control user interface for the U.S. Army’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV) Stryker platform, for which Teledyne FLIR Defense is the prime systems integrator.
“For many good reasons, militaries are shifting their CBRN defense strategy from manned to unmanned platforms,” said Dr. David Cullin, vice president of technology and product management at Teledyne FLIR Defense.
“Employing unmanned air and ground assets to assess risks from weapons of mass destruction is an increasingly sought-after capability,” Cullin added. “We’ll continue our customers’ important work to enhance situational awareness for mounted and dismounted operations, enabling greater maneuverability on future CBRN-contested battlefields.”
Initial deliveries are scheduled for fall 2023. The contract period of performance is 33 months, if all options are exercised.
The award was made through the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense; Joint Product Manager for Reconnaissance and Platform Integration (JPdM RPI); and the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Sensor Integration on Robotics Platforms Program Office (CSIRP).