AeroVironment, Inc., a developer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), has announced that the United States Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) is evaluating the company’s new tethered unmanned aircraft system, named Tether Eye, for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and security applications. The CTTSO funded the development program under a US government contract.
The AeroVironment Tether Eye unmanned aircraft system is designed to provide continuous, 24-hours-a-day surveillance at up to 150 feet above its launch point. Tether Eye deploys automatically from a small, weather-sealed, self-contained base station and ascends to a pre-determined hover altitude from where viewers of its video feed take advantage of its 360-degree field of view. The specially designed and ruggedized tether connecting Tether Eye to its base station provides continuous power, thus enabling uninterrupted long-term operation.
“Having the ability to deploy a ‘virtual observation tower’ at a moment’s notice above buildings and vehicles represents a game-changing capability for ISR and security operations that has the potential to save lives,” said Amanda Toman, Program Manager at the CTTSO. “We look forward to continuing our evaluation of Tether Eye’s capabilities with AeroVironment as a possible deployable capability across government facilities.”
Current Tether Eye payloads include electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) cameras and AeroVironment’s encrypted Digital Data Link (DDL). The EO/IR camera provides both day and night imagery with full motion video transmitted directly to a Ground Control Station (GCS) that operates each platform within AeroVironment’s market-leading family of small UAS and Tactical Missile Systems. The Digital Data Link, integrated into each of AeroVironment’s platforms, provides secure communication with the unmanned aircraft system and communications relay with other platforms.
“Tether Eye effectively complements our family of small unmanned aircraft systems by providing a valuable new capability – continuous ISR and security for buildings or stationary vehicles in defense, security and commercial applications,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “We intend to continue developing Tether Eye through to production and include it as a standard component of our product portfolio. Close communication with our initial customers will guide and inform future enhancements and production releases, resulting in another effective AeroVironment solution that helps our customers succeed.”