The HARC-TD (High Antennas for Radio Communications-Tethered Drone) caused a lot of excitement when its design was first announced. Now it is due to generate more with the announcement that it is available to order from PPM Systems.
A lightweight expeditionary system, the HARC-TD uses an electric drone to provide up to 20 miles (38km) of radio range extension for any UHF Tactical Radio Waveform (225-450 MHz); adding dramatic network and communications range extension. Common waveforms used by tactical communicators in this band are SRW, ANW2 and AM/FM voice. They can be encrypted or clear-text. The HARC-TD system is waveform independent and optimised for network, data and voice communicators, operating equally well with military and civilian radios.
The system uses Lockheed Martin’s proven Indago drone. Electrically powered via its tether, the HARC-TD-50 drone can fly indefinitely, for hours or days, 50m (150ft) above ground level. The drone is small with a low visual profile, quiet, safe to handle and portable. It can fly at density altitudes of up to 3600m (12,0000ft).
The system allows the radio to stay on the ground while the antenna is high overhead. Deployment is simple with the drone rapidly ascending to a user-set altitude where it remains on station.
The Indago drone has been modified for HARC-TD to allow for tethered flight. Ground power to the drone can be universal input AC, including from a generator or DC from a vehicle supply. If power is interrupted, the drone safely descends using its on-board backup battery.