Aerosonde has flight-tested an experimental high-definition television sensor with its Mk4.1 unmanned air vehicle which could be used to detect improvised explosive devices in combat areas.

Aerosonde North America president Greg Holland says the US Office of Naval Research-supplied payload has been used to detect “an object the size of a soft drink can” from 500ft (150m), but the sensor can spot a similar-sized target from almost twice this altitude. “It is amazing resolution, [but] does not give very much range.”

In another initiative, Aerosonde is preparing to conduct flight tests with a 4.5kg (15lb) synthetic aperture radar to be supplied by an undisclosed manufacturer. “There are still some integration issues to be sorted out, mainly because of the movement of the aircraft,” says Holland.

The company has also unveiled a catapult launcher that would allow the long-endurance, low-altitude Aerosonde UAV to be ship-launched.

Source: Flight International