sUAS Payload for Laser Target Designation Launched 

Teledyne FLIR Defense’s StormCaster-DX payload is designed to manage target areas using a Laser Spot Tracker while affecting the terminal guidance of laser guided munitions By Phoebe Grinter / 13 May 2022

Teledyne FLIR Defense has launched an innovative, first-of-its-kind small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) payload that can be used to provide NATO-standard laser target designation for laser-guided weapons.

The Teledyne FLIR StormCaster-DX is an advanced, multi-role laser designator payload built especially for use on the FLIR R80D SkyRaider UAS platform. It is designed to manage target areas using a Laser Spot Tracker while affecting the terminal guidance of laser guided munitions. Until now, this capability was only possible with larger Group 4 UAS platforms or ground-based systems.

Potential applications for the technology range from manned or unmanned air strikes to precision-guided mortars, naval gunfire, or air-launched effects.

“StormCaster-DX is an absolute gamechanger for small unit operations and represents a significant force multiplier,” said Dr. JihFen Lei, executive vice president and general manager of Teledyne FLIR Defense. “For the first time, warfighters will be able to survey and manage the battlefield while performing laser designation with standoff from a rucksack-portable drone, allowing faster decision-making and targeting that help ensure mission success.

“We believe customers will embrace what StormCaster-DX can mean for troops in harm’s way: When seconds weigh heavily on an operation’s outcome, DX saves minutes,” Lei added.

User-defined target tracking on StormCaster-DX captures accurate coordinates, heading and speed of moving objects and vehicles, enabling clandestine monitoring and marking. 

Two FLIR Boson 640 longwave infrared thermal cameras support missions day or night. The DX payload delivers unmatched stability in all-weather conditions and leverages class-leading payload capacity, plus multi-modal operations – tethered or untethered, mounted or dismounted – as well as Artificial Intelligence/Computer Vision-based targeting features.

Other key features of the StormCaster-DX include:

  • Low Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) – Coded and compacted laser target designation from a 1250g payload using a rucksack-portable Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS
  • Non-Cooperative Laser Spot Tracking – Detect, decode, and geolocate the source or termination of off-board lasers
  • Highly Accurate Coordinate Generation – Gimbal stability, laser range finder, and ATAK integration enables precise tracking, placement, and coordinate accuracy; NATO STANAG-compliant

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Posted by Phoebe Grinter Unmanned Systems Technology’s digital editor and copywriter Phoebe takes a fresh and enthusiastic approach to researching, writing and posting the latest unmanned technology updates, and in managing the UST social channels. Connect & Contact