Lockheed UK debuts canister-launched Outrider drone
Designed and developed at Lockheed UK’s Havant facility in Hampshire, in collaboration with Wirth Research, Outrider is described as small unmanned aircraft system (UAS). According to the company, the aircraft is just four inches wide and weighs a mere 1.7kg. Despite its diminutive dimensions, Outrider is capable of reaching speeds up to 50 knots (57.5mph).
“We are proud to offer Outrider which has been designed and built in the UK for the international market,” said Paul Livingston, vice president and group managing director, Lockheed Martin UK – Integrated Systems.
“It provides secure leading edge situational awareness capabilities in its class for ground, surface, air or sub-surface operational environments and can be launched at the press of a button.”
Once in the sky, the tube-launched drone can operate autonomously or be controlled remotely. Situational information is gathered via a high-definition TV and infrared camera, and Lockheed claims that Outrider’s payload capacity and endurance are the best in its class.
“We’re excited and very proud of our collaboration with Lockheed Martin UK on the Outrider project,” said Nick Wirth, CEO and founder of Oxfordshire-based Wirth Research, which specialises in motor racing engineering.
“Performance enhancement and innovation are fundamental to our motor sport heritage at Wirth Research. Transferring this approach from racing, combined with our rapid concept development and aero expertise, has been key to successfully meeting the technical challenges set by the Lockheed Martin team. Outrider is the leading edge result.”
While the drone has undoubtedly been developed with military applications in mind, Lockheed is also taking aim at the commercial market. As such, different models of the UAS will be available, one compliant with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and a second ITAR-free configuration.