Area-I Rolls Out Air-Launched Effects Drone With Increased Endurance and Payload Capacity

Area-I Altius-700 6 photos
Photo: Area-I
Area-I Altius-700Area-I Altius-500Area-I Altius-600Area-I Altius-900Area-I Altius air-launched effects drone
Unmanned aircraft systems developer Area-I has unveiled the latest addition to its Altius family of air-launched effects (ALE) drones: the Altius-700. The new drone is a multi-domain, multi-platform ALE with game-changing payload capacity and endurance that is capable of adapting to any mission requirements.
Air launched effects are a type of unmanned aerial vehicle that can be carried and launched from larger aircraft and detect, disrupt, decoy, and deliver lethal effects against threats. Area-I Altius (Agile-Launch Tactically Integrated Unmanned System) is a modular, flexible ALE that works in various complex missions.

Built by Area-I in collaboration with defense tech company Anduril, the Altius-700 offers greater payload capacity and higher endurance than its predecessor, the Altius-600. The drone weighs between 20 and 27 pounds (9 and 12 kgs).

The system is designed to be recoverable, and it features wings that unfold after launch. It carries payloads that include electronic warfare, munitions, and signals intelligence that can weigh up to 21 lbs (9.5 kgs).

Altius-700 has a range of 276 miles (440 km) and flight endurance of up to five hours of flight, depending on the payloads it carries.

In less than a year, Area-I designed the prototype and tested it, demonstrating its capabilities. The drone can be launched from ground and utility vehicles, watercraft, and fixed or rotor wing aircraft in both high and low altitudes.

ALEs can be used in both contested and denied environments. Thus, they represent a critical component of the Army's vision for Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programs. They provide a variety of integrated intelligence and operations functions and anti-drones technologies.

Not only that, but they also play a crucial role in extending the tactical and operational reach of manned platforms by allowing them to remain undetected by the enemy's sensors and weapon systems.

Last year, the U.S. Army tested the Altius-600 from a helicopter and from a moving vehicle on the ground, and it doesn't plan to stop there.

"Over the next couple years we're going to demonstrate a lot more autonomy, a lot more collaboration from manned/unmanned systems, a teams of teams approach," Nate Bordick, AvMC TDD-Aviation intelligent teaming lead, said in a statement following the system demonstration.
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Editor's note: Gallery includes images with other Altius unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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