Thursday, August 30, 2007

USJFCOM: Dragon Eye Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Dragon Eye is a five-pound, back-packable, modular unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to provide the Marine small unit commander with a reconnaissance and surveillance capability to see over the next hill or building. It is an important component in the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab's Project RSTA, an effort to develop a reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition network of sensors that portrays a picture of the battlespace, enabling enhanced situational awareness for small unit leaders on the ground.

Description: The Dragon Eye UAV is battery-operated and capable of fully autonomous flight. Made of lightweight material, it is designed to disassemble into five separate pieces and is intended to be carried in an individual Marine's pack. Dragon Eye has a 45-inch wingspan once assembled and weighs about five pounds. Missions are programmed via a wireless modem that is integrated into a twelve-pound ground control station. After being hand- or bungee cord-launched, Dragon Eye flies to pre-assigned GPS waypoints and has the ability to be reprogrammed in flight. Its sensors include full motion color, low light and infrared cameras, each capable of transmitting video line-of-sight to a range of ten kilometers. Dragon Eye flies up to speeds of 35 knots and has a battery endurance of one hour.

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