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Teledyne FLIR Defense Wins Contract for Remote CBRN Detection Using Autonomous Drones

Will integrate enhanced autonomy features and control on SkyRaider drones, plus develop new chemical and radiological sensing payloads to assess toxic threats on the battlefield. Credit: Teledyne Technologies

Teledyne FLIR Defense, part of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, announced that it has been awarded a $13.3 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense to further expand the capabilities of its R80D SkyRaider unmanned aerial system to autonomously perform chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance missions.

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. 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 also will 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.

“For many good reasons, militaries are shifting their CBRN defense strategy from manned to unmanned platforms. 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.

Dr. David Cullin, vice president of technology and product management at Teledyne FLIR Defense.

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.

“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,” Cullin added.

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. The award was made through the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND); 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 are scheduled for fall 2023. The contract period of performance is 33 months, if all options are exercised.

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