Lockheed’s UAV systems switch to Kestrel flight control systems

Lockheed’s UAV systems switch to Kestrel flight control systems

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US: Lockheed Martin's Group 1 family of unmanned aircraft systems is switching to using its Kestrel Fly Light flight control systems and mobile Ground Control Station (mGCS) software.

The mGCS enhancements are proved to reduce operator workload through interface, touchscreen, and joystick functions and operator warnings, cautions and advisories. Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk III small unmanned aircraft system exhibited the benefits of the mGCS with better situational awareness to operators.

Lockheed also informed media that three systems acquired by the company have progressed from research and development phase to operational readiness. These three systems are Indago vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) quad-rotor, its handheld ground control station (GCS), and a commercial Avionics Suite. “After two years of developing these capabilities, we will now be able to deliver affordable and effective products to both military and commercial customers,” said Kevin Westfall, director of unmanned solutions at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business.

The compact Indago VTOL, which folds up and requires no assembly, achieves ranges of up to five kilometers for up to 45 minutes when operated using the handheld GCS. The VTOL features a 360 degree panning capability to aid area surveillance and provide enhanced situational awareness and actionable imagery in support of emergency response needs including search and rescue situations, disaster relief or other surveillance missions. The handheld GCS, which runs for four hours and is designed for outdoor readability, can be used with Indago and as a standalone system with other aircraft.

The three services have joined Lockheed Martin’s portfolio of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and will support ground control stations ranging from the Desert Hawk III small UAS, to the rail-launched Fury UAS, to the K-MAX cargo resupply UAS.

Source: AUSVI and Lockheed Martin