BlueBird Aero Systems has integrated a high-definition surveillance sensor and a communications payload into two of its unmanned air vehicles – the SpyLite Mini and ThunderB small tactical system.

The Israeli manufacturer says the integration has made it possible to enhance UAV operations by transferring long-range, high-resolution HD video in real time.

During recent testing, the SpyLite equipped with the HD payload reached its target range of 27nm (50km), while the ThunderB demonstrated a video transfer communications range of 81nm.

The HD payload has been developed by Israeli electro-optical and precision motion control systems manufacturer Controp Precision Technologies, while the communications payload is a BlueBird design, and the two UAVs can also carry a BlueBird HD mapping payload.

SpyLite - BlueBird

The Spylite UAV


BlueBird says that by utilising an advanced HD sensor and the integrated communications capability, the UAV can transmit HD throughput to the ground control station, allowing the operator to receive clear, high-definition video.

Video like this can provide better situational awareness and much better detection, recognition and identification capabilities, the company says.

According to BlueBrid chief executive Ronen Nadir, the successful integration on the mini and small tactical UAVs proves they can provide a long-range mission radius typically provided by much larger vehicles carrying more cumbersome payloads and communication equipment.