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Drone-Maker Touts New Civil-Military Surveillance Suite

AeroVironment Inc., the Simi Valley, California-based maker of unmanned aerial systems, is touting a new surveillance-reconnaissance suite for both commercial and military use.

The so-called Mantis i45 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) gimbal payload is designed for the company's Puma AE (All Environment) small unmanned aircraft systems, the company announced Monday at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International XPONENTIAL 2016 conference and trade show now underway in New Orleans.

AUVSI 2016 is being held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center through Friday and the company is inviting anyone interested in the new payload to see it demonstrated at the company's booth, located at No. 1525.

Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment's Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment, said the Mantis i45 represents a dramatic leap in small image resolution and approaches capabilities inherent in platforms many times the size and cost of Puma AE.

"This enhanced capability enables commercial and military users to see more and farther, with greater detail, than ever before, make better decisions and perform their missions with greater certainty," he said.

In combat, Flittie said, the Mantis i45 will enable operators to ID targets more accurately and with greater detail while operating from a greater distance. The higher resolution imagery also aids in target analysis, positive identification and better enables operators to identify threats to friendly forces, he said.

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