2021 was a remarkable year for the drone industry, seeing the technology utilised in new and innovative ways. With drones becoming more widely accepted by both society and professional organisations, it is unsurprising to see the vast adoption of drone technology by Military & Defence organisations.
Through the later stages 2020 and 2021, we saw a large investment from manufacturers, such as Sky-Hero, Parrot and Typhon, put towards creating task specific drone technologies for defence purposes.
In this list, we will look at some of the most exciting technology that is available on the market for Military & Defence organisations heading into 2022.
The ANAFI USA initially hit the market in 2020, and is still one of the best drones in its class a year and a half later. With 32-minute flight time and an IP53 rating, the drone is suitable recce operations in harsh weather conditions such as rain or snow.
Additionally, the ANAFI USA is one of the lightest drones in its class, weighing just 499grams. This makes it easily portable for troops in vehicles or backpacks.
However, perhaps the main selling point of the ANAFI USA is its data security. Produced in America by French company, Parrot, the ANAFI USA complies with all European Union General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
No data is shared by default without the consent of the user. Should you decide to share flight data, the logs are stored on secure servers in Europe and as a local copy on the drone.
The drone itself operates an AES-XTS 512-bit encryption, and includes secure WPA2 Wi-Fi connection to authenticate and encrypt the link between the remote controller and ANAFI USA.
Its signed firmware prevents any malicious modification of the drone’s software, and Parrot uses trusted standards and open protocols to ensure the utmost interoperability and security for all recorded data.
The Loki Mk2 is an internal tactical drone manufactured specifically for military and defence organisations. Building on foundations of the somewhat experimental Mk1, the Mk2 provides a rugged solution for searching and clearing rooms during tactical operations.
The main goal for the Loki Mk2 is to reduce risk, by providing remote surveillance before troops enter the premises. It does this through its 15-minute flight time, and 3hr sentry operation time – where the drone is able to sit idle in a location and can be used to monitor activity via its camera and microphone. The drone also has a built-in night vision camera, for any after-dark operations.
The Mk2 is built to handle all sorts of wear-and-tear, from crashing into walls to being thrown on the ground. Sky-Hero has incorporated a feature named ‘turtle-mode’, where it can flip itself over it crash lands upside down, removing the need for an operator to do so manually.
A drone of this calibre would be useless without proper security. That’s why the Sky-Hero Loki Mk2 is AES-256 encrypted. There also is no ability to record on the Loki Mk2, meaning that no data will be stored locally on the drone or controller. This means that if the drone falls into the wrong hands, you won’t have to worry about any video feeds etc.
Additionally, the connection between the drone and controller is analogue, meaning that connection for the drone will not abruptly cut out when it loses connection. Instead, the operator will see a slow degradation of quality, which will indicate they either need to move forward to another vantage point or bring the drone back in.
Lastly, the Sky-Hero Loki Mk2 also has various payload options that can be attached to the underside of the drone, providing extra support for boots on the ground officers.
The Typhon distraction is a non-lethal payload that can be connected to both the Sky-Hero Loki Mk2 and Parrot ANAFI USA. A fully loaded Typhon payload weighs a total of 96grams and is capable of holding 5 cartridges. Each event created by a cartridge displays an ear-piercing 169dB and can be set off using the same controller that is used to operate the drone itself. You are able set off events either via single shots or burst rounds, giving the operator ultimate flexibility.
Typhons development of the non-lethal distraction payload was set out due to extreme number of injuries caused to operators by use of conventional flashbangs. Therefore, their aim is to increase safety while maintaining the same, if not higher, level of efficiency.
Our second payload from UK manufacturer Typhon is something that is set to release in Q2 2022. Building a similar adaptation system to that of the distraction payload, Typhon are developing a glass breaker for the Sky-Hero Loki Mk2.
Weighing just 140 grams and clipping to the underside of the Loki Mk2, the payload will change the way the tactical entry is conducted by special operations forces.
The GMOE unit is designed to break toughened, safety glazed sealed units (double/triple glazed), up to 42mm. It will also compromise laminated and tempered glass but will not ‘drop’ the glass from the frame.
Register your details to be made aware when the payload is available for demo/pre-order.
Our next drone is one that you may be more familiar with than some of the other products, and that’s the DJI Matrice 300 RTK. The M300 is commonly recognised as one of the best drones across the entire drone industry.
The stats speak for themselves. The drone has a 55-minute flight time, unrivalled for quadcopters, and is also IP45 rated meaning it can fly in adverse weather conditions. The M300 can also simultaneously operate up to 3 payloads and carry up to 2.7kg additional weight.
But that’s just the start. By pairing the DJI Matrice 300 RTK with the Zenmuse H20T, you unlock a world of other abilities. The H20T has 3 cameras, top of the range 640 x 512px thermal camera; 12MP wide camera; and 20MP Zoom camera that has up to 200x maximum zoom.
The payload boasts smart tracking and pinpointing capabilities, allowing users to following selected targets autonomously and send the pinpointed flight data to other flight operators. In addition, DJI have made it possible to daisy-chain operators meaning that you can pass over control remotely to a colleague who is in a separate location.
Running in tandem with this is the dual operator function, whereby you can have an operator piloting the drone on one controller and an additional operator controlling the payload on a slave controller. This allows your drone pilot to focus on their flight path while the other gathers data.
Ready to revolutionise your operations?
We are excited to see how drone solutions for military & defence evolves. We regularly work with the police, army, navy, air force and other defence organisations to find the right drone solutions for their projects. We have a wide variety of commercial drones with differing capabilities, as well as the expertise to understand the aims and scope of your project and the drones that will be suitable.
Click below to request a call from our business development manager – Sam Denniff