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The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is funding advanced technologies for Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk Extended Endurance and Range (DH EER) UAV, including upgrades that will allow maritime operations.

AFRL’s Advanced Power Technology Office has recently awarded Lockheed the contract, which will focus on a technology demonstration but also includes some development in the UAV’s propulsion system, power management system, and airframe structure according to

The contract is meant to prepare the current, hand-launched, 8kg DH ERR UAV which is able to operate for 10 hours, for an operational assessment. Development will continue through next May, followed by integration efforts and a final demonstration scheduled for November 2018. Lockheed intends to make the DH ERR fully waterproof for water landing and retrieval, allowing employment in maritime environments, a Lockheed spokeswoman said.

According to Lockheed’s site, the UAV has been deployed in the global war on terror by United Kingdom military forces. The Combat proven device continues to evolve to meet the changing demands of the warfighter. Among these new needs and options, the planners have made it possible for the UAV to be used for several missions, including strike or intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.