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In an effort to increase soldier’s situational awareness on the battlefield, the U.S. Army has been looking for production sources and information for consumer quadcopter drones.

Among other U.S. Army initiatives such as the “Soldier Borne Sensor” and the “Short Range Reconnaissance System Platform”, the search for a “Squad Class 1 Unmanned Aerial System”  is an effort by the U.S. Army to purchase and distribute small reconnaissance UAVs to smaller sized forces in the army. Similarly, the U.S. Marine Corps is also looking into the use of small quadcopters as part of the “Quads for Squads” programs.

The U.S. Army is looking for a quadcopter drone that is capable of taking off and landing vertically in harsh combat environments. The drone should be capable of providing real time surveillance for combat outposts, route clearance, and tactical advancements. The Army wants a drone that requires very little training and is easy to operate.

The quadcopter needs to be capable of running encrypted communications between the drone and the operator. The drone should have a range of at least 5 kilometers, and a minimum flight time of 45 minutes. reports that the entire quadcopter system should be able to fit in a small backpack and be easy to carry and deploy. The Army is looking for a drone that weighs less than 4.5 kilograms, including the battery and payload.

As for the payload, the quadcopter should carry a high definition, controllable optic camera, with the possibility of switching out payloads for a thermal infrared camera. For the sake of future applications, the drones should be compatible with various other payloads.

Situational awareness on the battlefield is one of the more important factors for the combat soldier. The more squads you have that are using drones, the more soldiers you have that are aware of their environment.