Teledyne FLIR Defense announced that they have been awarded $13.3 million through a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to expand on the capabilities of its R80D SkyRaider uncrewed aircraft system (UAS). It will autonomously perform chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance missions. 

Teledyne FLIR Defense integrates flight control software which enables the SkyRaider UAS to autonomously fly CBRN missions. These tasks are currently executed by soldiers hand-carrying detection sensors into hazardous areas. Integrating the new technology with SkyRaider’s existing capabilities allows soldiers to complete missions without directly controlling the drones. This also means they will not be exposed to toxic substances. 

“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. We’ll continue our customers’ important work to enhance situational awareness for mounted and dismounted operations, enabling greater maneuverability on future CBRN-contested battlefields.”

Cullen adds, “This project also complements our existing portfolio of CBRN sensing drone payloads – the MUVE™ C360, MUVE B330, and MUVE R430 – all of which allow users to remotely detect and identify a broad spectrum of potentially lethal threats.”

SkyRaider Will Integrate with Stryker

Both the autonomous SkyRaider and the new sensor payloads are 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. Teledyne FLIR Defense is the prime system integrator. 

As for the base contract, Teledyne FLIR delivers four SkyRaiders and six of each sensor payload. There will be options to support training, documentation, plus delivery of additional UAS and payloads. The award was made through the Joint Program Executive Officer 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). 

Initial deliveries have been scheduled for the Fall of 2023. The contract period of performance is 33 months as long as all options are exercised (Teledyne FLIR). 

Other use of UAS in Defense and Public Safety:

UAS-Based Products