Marine Corps buys dozens of SkyRaider drones

The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded FLIR Systems a $10 million contract for dozens of SkyRaider drones, the company announced June 30.

FLIR Systems says the R80D SkyRaider is the company’s most advanced military small unmanned aerial system, equipped with long-range, high-resolution electro-optical/infrared sensors and able to carry loads of up to 4.4 pounds. The company says the SkyRaider platform was specifically developed for U.S. defense and federal government customers.

The U.S. Navy has purchased two MQ-9A Reaper systems it's been using in Afghanistan since 2018. (U.S. Air Force)
Navy buys two used MQ-9A Reaper drones

The U.S. Marine Corps has been using the two drones in Afghanistan in a Contractor Owned Contractor Operated agreement since September 2018.

“The R80D SkyRaider is a superior asset for highly mobile expeditionary and multi-mission combat operations, such as those that put Marines at the tip of the spear,” said David Proulx, vice president of product management for the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business at FLIR. “We’ve worked hard to develop a smart, versatile sUAS aircraft with next-generation capabilities and are honored to support SkyRaider’s deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps.”

The manpackable small dronesboasts advanced edge-of-network processing that can detect and classify objects, enable semi-autonomous flights, and continued operations in GPS- or communications-denied environment, according to the company’s website.

The SkyRaiders will be delivered in the third quarter of 2020.

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