NRL's Electronic Warfare Division, in collaboration with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), developed an affordably expendable airborne sensor platform, Dragon Eye, to demonstrate Small Unit reconnaissance and threat detection capabilities. The ONR/MCWL sponsored Dragon Eye consists of a man-portable, 5.5 lb., bungee launched air vehicle and a miniature Ground Control Station (GCS) to provide command and control and receive the aircraft's video and GPS position. The vehicle characteristics enable an operational capability in adverse weather conditions. Dragon Eye features autonomous flight capability to allow one-person operation. The endurance is 45 minutes at 35 kt airspeed using an electric propulsion system with primary lithium batteries. Interchangeable modular component payloads for Dragon Eye include daylight, low light, and infrared imaging systems. Dragon Eye has successfully transitioned to Marine Corps Systems Command production.

Sponsors: ONR, USMC
Program type: 6.2 Exploratory Development, 6.3 Systems Development
Years: 2000-2002