Vesper is durable enough to tolerate a 200-pound force in its case, is waterproof, and can operate in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. (Vantage)
The military-grade unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used by the Department of Defense (DoD) and other U.S. federal agencies, Vesper, and its Vision Ground Control Station (GCS) will become available to commercial customers for the first time, Vantage Robotics, the UAV’s manufacturer announced on Dec. 8. Vesper has capabilities like stealth and low-light cameras, endurance, portability, and a modular design.
“We’re incredibly proud to introduce Vesper, our elite small EO/IR drone with unequaled endurance, zoom, stealth, and low-light capabilities,” Tobin Fisher, Vantage's CEO and co-founder, told Avionics International in an email. “After years of development and rigorous testing by the U.S. Department of Defense, Vesper is now ready for the most challenging reconnaissance missions. We look forward to significantly increasing capabilities for our U.S. government customers as well as select first responders, security, and inspections customers.”
Some of the commercial or civilian uses envisioned by Vantage for Vesper include facilities management, inspections of secure infrastructures, private security, wildlife management, oceanographic research and law enforcement. Vesper will become available for commercial purchase on Jan. 15, 2021.
Vesper can fly in low light at less than 0.01 lx illumination and uses a 3-axis stabilized tri-sensor payload for stable video with an 18x combined optical and digital zoom, according to Vantage.
According to Vantage, the Vesper has a flight time of 50 minutes and is able to reach speeds up to 45 mph and becomes unseen as well as inaudible at 50 meters. The gimbal can be swapped, and it also features two battery and rotor set options.
Operators control the drone using a 7-inch 1080p daylight viewable screen that has a four-hour battery life.
Through its partnership with the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Blue sUAS Project, the Vesper was approved to fly in national and DoD airspace, according to Vantage. DoD secure user authentication, AES-256 encryption on communications and stored data, and bonded construction to prevent tampering are among the security features implemented into its systems architecture.
“Following months of cyber penetration testing and supply chain analysis, the US. Air Force granted Vesper and Vision GCS an ATO (Authority to Operate), further supported by redundant testing conducted by the Department of Defense’s Digital Defense Service,” Vantage said in a press statement.