Zenith AeroTech has integrated an advanced flight radar, gimbaled EO/IR camera, and mobile ad hoc networking radio on the company’s US made tethered drone, the Quad 8.
It’s a complex integration project that takes the term “flexible payload” to the next level – and expands the possible applications for the Quad 8. “The engineering work, which was done at the behest of an unnamed Federal customer, demonstrates how the long-endurance, tethered sUAS can support force protection and early warning missions,” says a Zenith press release.
The tethered Quad 8 already offers significant benefits: it can fly at 400 feet AGL for hours or even days at a time, connected to an easily transportable power source. Headquartered in Afton, Virginia, Zenith AeroTech designs, fabricates, assembles and tests their tethered drone systems at an 84,000 sf facility located on a secure 10-acre site near the Blue Ridge mountains. With markets that include emergency services, law enforcement, industry, and defense, Zenith AeroTech is one of only a few US made tethered drone providers.
The Quad 8 can carry payloads from 10 to 24 lbs: but until now, the company has never flown this combination of advanced sensor and communications equipment.
“We are very excited to have worked with so many cutting-edge industry partners on this effort,” said Kutlay Kaya, CEO of Zenith AeroTech. “With their collaboration, we were able to have our Quad 8 carry Echodyne’s Advanced EchoFlight radar, Trillium Engineering’s HD45 gimbaled EO/IR camera, and the Persistent Systems MPU5 mobile ad hoc networking radio.”
Stay tuned to see more demonstrations of what this new payload combination can do. “We plan to show how we can simultaneously collect high-resolution imagery, both electro-optical and thermal, as well as air- and ground-based radar anomalies and then securely deliver these collections through the MPU5, providing a robust overwatch capability,” Kaya said. “The MPU5 also acts as a radio/data relay to support disaster recovery operations and provide secure communications.”
Kaya says that while meeting a customer need was the impetus for the project, it demonstrates the company’s willingness to customize payloads for unique needs. “Whether our customer is a first responder agency, media company, or armed service, we strive to develop and deliver relevant capabilities in a timely fashion,” Kaya said.