By Andy Choi
The Skate small unmanned air vehicle system (SUAS) of Aurora secured the first place in the 2012 Border Security Technology and Product Challenge, which recently took place at the 2012 Border Security Expo in Phoenix, Arizona. The technology or product demonstrating maximum innovation in the border security arena receives the top prize.
The Skate SUAS is a lightweight, electric-powered portable system enclosed in a small rucksack. Its refined design allows quick installation and assembly. With exceptional VTOL capabilities, it is capable of being deployed and uninstalled from vehicles, confined spaces, and urban areas, without using recovery equipment. Weighing only 2 lb, Skate features more than 50 knots of hover speeds, and life-time of over one hour. It can effectively transport various available payloads to its destination located at a distance of up to 5 km. Available payloads include HD video payload pods that can capture 5 MP resolution and record video at 1080p, full-motion color video payload pods and Electro Optical (EO)/Infrared (IR) payload pods with Long Wave IR (LWIR) cameras having resolutions up to 640 lines. Payload pods are capable of being swapped within a minute, enabling the operator to optimize the Skate system according to the mission requirements.
By using a Digital Data Link (DDL), the Skate system can perform safe transmission of both video and data up to 5 km away from the ground control station (GCS). AES128/AES256 key encryption and a range of operational frequencies are also present. Skate's GCS supports stabilized ‘fly-the-camera’ manual flight control and fully autonomous waypoint navigation.