Many UAV drones have issues when it comes to strong winds and adverse weather, but if you're a soldier needing a birds-eye view, you don't always have time to wait for the sky to clear up. Aeryon Labs' SkyRanger UAV deploys from a backpack within seconds and boasts a new airframe that can remain aloft in high winds and extreme temperatures.

Aeryon designed its new small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) as a portable surveillance tool built especially to handle rough weather conditions. In the air, it remains stable in sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), but is able to endure 55 mph (90 kph) gusts without any issues. The entire device is also ruggedized and weather-sealed to protect it from minor bumps and moisture, and it remains operational in temperatures ranging from -22 to 122º F (-30 to 50º C).

The UAV was made for field work, so most of its external pieces (battery, arms, legs, etc.) can be replaced without any tools, and the fully-assembled quadcopter weighs only 5.3 lbs (2.4 kg). In flight mode, it measures 40 x 9.3 in (102 x 24 cm), but the arms and legs fold down to a much more compact 10 x 20 in (25 x 50 cm). When folded, the quadcopter's appendages protect its camera or payload and allow it to slip into an accompanying backpack for quick access later.

Once deployed, it can take off and land vertically and is able to remain in flight for 50 minutes on a single charge. A lone operator pilots the SkyRanger with a tablet-like Ground Control Station using simple touch controls to program a flight path or aim an on-board camera.

Aeryon Labs has also included an optics system that houses both an EO camera that captures 1080p30 HD video and 15 MP photos, and an IR camera that records 640 x 480 video and still images. The controls and images are broadcast through a 256 bit AES-encrypted network with a range of 1.9 mi (3 km) beyond line-of-sight.

The company recommends the SkyRanger mostly for military and security purposes, from gathering covert intelligence to thwarting pirates at sea. The new UAV is now available to order, though you'll have to contact Aeryon Labs to receive a quote, and the company has stated it is giving priority to military and government customers.

Check out the video below to see how the Aeryon SkyRanger can go from a backpack to an airborne set of eyes in just a few seconds.

Source: Aeryon Labs

View gallery - 10 images