Indago Quad Rotor Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAS, United States of America


The Indago quad rotor is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) designed and developed by Lockheed Martin's Procerus Technologies division, for military and civil applications.

The unmanned aircraft system was unveiled in August 2012 and achieved operational readiness in April 2014. It was demonstrated at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) 2014 show in Florida.

The lightweight VTOL system features improved flight time and enhanced situational awareness capabilities. It can be deployed in aerial surveillance, reconnaissance, law enforcement, search-and-rescue (SAR), and enhanced situational awareness missions performed by military forces. It can also be used for disaster relief, emergency response, fire and other police operations.

Followed by the FAA approval in November 2013 for use of small UAS in agricultural applications, Lockheed Martin partnered with FourthWing Sensors for offering Indago to US agricultural customers during 2014 growing season.

Global Observer is a new high-altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by AeroVironment in collaboration with the US Department of Defence (DoD) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Indago Quad Rotor UAS design and features

The Indago VTOL quad rotor features a modular, compact design with foldable airframe. The small UAS requires 60 seconds to setup and can reach its operating height in 2.5 minutes. It features improved stability and can operate in remote areas under all weather conditions.

The rugged and fixed-wing unmanned air system has a length and width of 32in and a height of 7in, while the quad rotor weighs 2.26kg (5lb). It is provided with vision-aided guidance for better navigation.

The air vehicle can be equipped with digital IP data link to transmit synchronised video and communication data to the ground control station (GCS). An analogue data link, which is compatible with various frequencies, is also incorporated in the system.

The advanced Kestrel 3.1 autopilot system equipped in the UAS allows it to perform operations in the event of low battery, and loss of communication with the GCS and global positioning system (GPS). The autopilot employs Fly Light avionics technologies and failsafe algorithms to enable auto-land in emergency situations. It incorporates data from sensors and GPS and sends it at high rate to the air vehicle's motors.

Indago UAS payloads

The Indago quad rotor VTOL UAS is equipped with multiple, hot-swappable dual sensor payloads and advanced avionics to provide actionable imagery and continuous 360° panning capability. Lockheed Martin Procerus Technologies' high performance gyro-stabilised Perceptor Duo electro optical / infrared (EO/IR) gimballed imager fitted to the UAS provides high resolution imagery and videos and improved situational awareness. A 300mW laser illuminator can also be incorporated in the UAS.

The air vehicle is also integrated with a commercial off the shelf (COTS) EO imager, FLIR Quark IR 640 thermal sensor, 10X optical zoom EO camera, and other COTS EO cameras.

The Procerus OnPoint Onboard Vision Processing Unit aboard the UAS ensures the detection and tracking of moving targets, while Lockheed Martin's interface printed circuit board (PCB) allows access to the autopilot system and the Indago VTOL platform.

"The air vehicle is also integrated with a commercial-off-the-shelf EO imager."

Ground control station

The Indago quad rotor VTOL system can be controlled by a wireless hand-held ground control station (GCS), which runs for four hours. The GCS incorporates a large, outdoor-readable screen, an integrated C2 transceiver and video receiver, and data storage capabilities.

The UAS can be optionally controlled by a full Virtual Cockpit 3.0 laptop-based GCS, which is fitted with a user-friendly 3D map interface, way point navigation, powerful mission planning tools and in-flight re-tasking. The optional GCS can be connected with a Wi-Fi link, allows complex mission planning and provides support for fixed wing and VTOL platforms.

Indago quad rotor performance

The man-packable Indago unmanned air system can fly at a speed of 48km/h and can operate for more than 45 minutes with a payload capacity of 200g. The UAS can reach a range of up to 5km when controlled by the GCS and a line-of-sight range of up to 10km using directional communication devices.

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