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A new partnership between Rheinmetall Canada and Elistair aims to provide military customers with an on-the-move ISR solution that will combine Elistair’s fully automated KHRONOS tethered drone with Rheinmetall’s Mission Master family of UGVs.

Elistair’s CEO Guilhem de Marliave stated: “We are very excited to be collaborating with a major defense contractor like Rheinmetall Canada. By combining their Mission Master family of UGVs with our push-button, long-endurance, automated KHRONOS drone, Rheinmetall Canada can provide customers with an advanced solution for unmanned reconnaissance and convoy escort.”

According to Interesting Engineering, Elistair’s KHRONOS is a 30 kg tethered drone that can be deployed from a transportable drone box in under two minutes and remain in the air for up to 24 hours, even operating from a moving platform. It provides continuous coverage of an area with a radius of 10 kilometers day and night. The drone can also fly in difficult weather conditions or GPS-denied and RF-denied environments.

Rheinmetall’s Mission Master SP is an electric-powered UGV designed for resupply missions and payload carriage. It is a compact platform that provides aid and safety to dismounted troops over a range of 450 kilometers without needing additional charge. It can even cover 50 kilometers when its batteries run out. Finally, it has space to transport light payloads like section sensors and weapon systems.

This revolutionary system is designed to operate in challenging environments and can be deployed rapidly and be operational in under two minutes from a portable “drone-in-a-box,” making it exceptionally suitable for urgent and dynamic scenarios.

An issue arises when tethering a drone to a ground vehicle since it makes it inherently more vulnerable than a “free-flying” drone. However, the companies claim that the ability to provide persistent surveillance, secure communications, and greatly improved energy efficiency outweigh the cons under certain mission circumstances.

The KHRONOS system is highly versatile and easy to integrate with vehicles, and an excellent tool for public safety agencies, border patrol units, military forces, and vehicle integrators. It is expected to be a simple yet highly effective long-endurance ISR asset, and the first deliveries are set for March 2024.