Lockheed Martin [LMT] recently developed a ruggedized version of its Stalker Unmanned Air System (UAS), called the Stalker eXtreme Endurance (XE) UAS, according to a company press release.

The Stalker XE system quadruples Stalker’s flight endurance to eight-plus hours without impacting the mobility of the unmanned system or the flexibility of its payload capabilities, the company added.

"Missions requiring real time eyes-on a situation for extended periods of time, like border patrol, pipeline surveillance and special operations can now be conducted by a small UAS versus a larger, more costly system," said Tom Koonce, Lockheed Martin’s Stalker program manager. "The convenience and lower cost of a small UAS combined with extended endurance is a true game-changer."

The Stalker XE system is powered by Ultra Electronics‘ hybrid energy source using a propane fuel cell with a small, conventional lithium polymer battery to handle power peaks. The Stalker XE system includes two aircraft, fuel cells, command and control ground station, support equipment, and small propane fuel storage tank. The standard air vehicle sensor is a modular dual daylight and night-time imager that allows persistent surveillance during the visual/thermal transition from day to night.