The Air Force is planning to purchase a new quadcopter drone, known as the InstantEye.
In a May 23 announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities web site, contracting officials at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base said they plan to order the InstantEye MK-3 GEN4-D1 Unmanned Aerial System from Physical Sciences Inc.
The contract is expected to be placed as a sole source order, meaning that no other company was considered for the contract. The Air Force said in the announcement that Physical Sciences Inc. is the only company that produces Air Force approved quadcopter systems.
The order is expected to include two small unmanned aircraft systems, one tactical sensor controller with two batteries, one charger, one spare kit, and one transport kit, the announcement said.
The MK-3 GEN4-D1 is part of the InstantEye digital fleet. As a security precaution, the drone transfers data to a ground control station and does not store information on the aircraft.
According to the InstantEye Robotics website, the Mk-3 GEN4-D1 weighs about 3 pounds and can carry a payload of 3 pounds. It has a video range of 4 kilometers and can fly for up to 30 minutes depending on wind speed and payload.
The InstantEye can withstand up to 20 mph wind, which allows it to have high accuracy in charge placement for improvised explosive devices. InstantEye Systems also feature thermal imaging systems, still photo, and geo rectification capability, which links photos to a coordinate system so they can be located on a map.
The InstantEye is not new technology for the Department of Defense. For fiscal 2019, the Navy and Marine Corps requested 200 InstantEye quadcopters, likely part of a “quads for squads” program.
Kelsey Reichmann is a general assignment editorial fellow supporting Defense News, Fifth Domain, C4ISRNET and Federal Times. She attended California State University.