French Armed Forces sign $89 million contract for FLIR drones

Thermal camera maker FLIR in recent years has been ramping up its presence in the drone industry. And that presence is about to get a lot bigger.

FLIR has been awarded an $89 million contract to supply its drones to the French Armed Forces.

The Oregon-based thermal camera more specifically signed a contract with the French Defense Procurement Agency’s French Operational Pocket Drone (DrOP) program, where it will provide its FLIR Black Hornet® 3 nano-unmanned aerial vehicle and Personal Reconnaissance System.

The Black Hornet PRS claims to be the world’s smallest combat-proven nano-drone and is intended to help military troops “maintain situational awareness, threat detection, and surveillance.” The drone has a flight time of 25 minutes and is equipped with electro-optical/infrared sensors.

My friends at Roswell Flight Test Crew take a deeper look at the Black Hornet drone:

The French are not the first to use the drone. It is currently deployed in more than 30 countries.

FLIR isn’t just focusing on military drone. It has made major headway in the commercial drone market as well. Last month, major drone manufacturer DJI launched the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual. So what’s the dual? This drone houses both a side-by-side 4K sensor for capturing visible light, and a FLIR Lepton thermal microcamera for capturing thermal data. The Lepton is FLIR’s smallest thermal microcamera. FLIR also has partnered with DJI on numerous occasions in the past. The first of those partnerships was the introduction of the XT camera in 2015. In March 2018, the two companies unveiled the Zenmuse XT2 thermal imaging camera which improved upon that Zenmuse XT camera, which was an Infrared camera designed to be integrated with DJI’s line of drones. The XT2, like the new Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, includes not just the infrared camera, but a dual sensor to show a traditional 4K video feed in real-time as well. 

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