Utah drone maker Teal is working to supply reconnaissance drones to Ukrainian troops

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Teal Drones Founder and CEO George Matus and his team have developed a high-performance reconnaissance drone that fits easily into a backpack and can help keep troops on the ground safe as a lookout-capable tool. around corners or over the next hill, in combat conditions.

In addition to sharing an announcement Monday that Utah-based Teal has just been awarded a second development contract with the U.S. military, Matus is trying to get his Golden Eagle drones into the hands of Ukrainian soldiers who are currently fighting the invading Russian forces in this independent Eastern European country.

He fears that if Ukrainian resistance fighters use one of the widely available drones made by Chinese market leader DJI to conduct battlefield reconnaissance, those planes could expose vital tactical information to the Russian military.

“Drones in this category can be one of the most impactful technologies in a war,” Matus told Fox Business News Monday morning. “And there is a huge need for drones right now for reconnaissance purposes.

“But the Chinese DJI drones that have monopolized the industry for the past decade simply cannot be used by allies. They actually have a backdoor that the Russians can use to track all DJI drones in the world. airspace, which is really dangerous in a situation like this when the Ukrainians use them.

In an interview with Deseret News on Monday, Matus said he and his team have spoken with many groups in Ukraine, as well as with European allies of the United States, to put the Teal Golden Eagle drones designed and manufactured by the United States into the hands of Ukrainian troops as quickly as possible. possible.

“Teal is one of the only companies in the world that can deliver that, at scale, now with its technology, manufacturing and resources,” Matus said. “And I have no doubt that the technology will help save many lives.”

Teal Drones developed the highly advanced Golden Eagle reconnaissance drone as part of a US Department of Defense development program. Today, the company is working to get the Golden Eagles into the hands of Ukrainian troops fighting the invading Russian forces.

The US Department of Defense has long been aware of security concerns regarding foreign-made drones and warned last year that DJI drones “pose potential threats to national security”. In 2018, the Department of Defense banned the use of all off-the-shelf commercial drones, regardless of manufacturer, due to “cybersecurity concerns”.

On Monday, Teal announced that he was among a very small group of manufacturers to participate in the second installment of a US Army prototype development program, which could lead to a multi-million supply contract. dollars for a new high-performance battlefield reconnaissance. drone.

“The rigorous technical requirements and program objectives of (Short Range Reconnaissance Tranche 2) have dramatically narrowed the field from over three dozen drone manufacturers to just a handful that have been selected by the military to advance the program” , Matus said in a statement. “We believe this places us among the most elite drone manufacturers in the world and therefore is a significant recognition of our capabilities.

“The $1.5 million prototype contract we have been awarded…reinforces the sophistication and technical expertise of our entire Teal team. We look forward to developing the Army’s next-generation small unmanned aerial system to improve the safety and lethality of our warfighters.

Matus founded Teal Drones in 2014 when he was 16, but his company has since developed and launched several high-performance drone models and attracted over $20 million in venture capital before being acquired by Red Cat. Holdings in an all-stock acquisition. case last year.

In the first installment of the Department of Defense and U.S. Army UAV Prototype Program, Teal developed the Golden Eagle, a rugged, fast, and portable advanced drone that was developed under an innovation contract and 18 month test. The Golden Eagle was one of five company-developed vehicles in the initial tranche approved for use by all branches of the Department of Defense as well as other federal agencies.

The Golden Eagle is packed with high-tech capabilities, including a high-resolution 4K sensor unit as well as a future-proof infrared thermographic camera, optimizing use for variable lighting conditions, including low light. and no light; a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 embedded mobile computing platform; data security which includes Advanced Encryption Standard security with a key length of 256 bits; obstacle avoidance system and on-board artificial intelligence to allow autonomous flight; and a modular design that allows easy and quick exchange of components to minimize downtime.

The vehicle has a rugged airframe, can fly for up to 50 minutes on a charge, and travel over 50 mph. High-voltage propulsion allows the Golden Eagle to fly in winds of 30 mph or more and temperatures ranging from minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also very stealthy with a low acoustic signature that the company says makes it inaudible at minimum ranges.

Teal recently expanded its manufacturing capacity in Utah and now has a 20,000 square foot facility and testing area nearby.

Matus said Teal will design its next-generation reconnaissance drone from the ground up, striving to meet Department of Defense performance and technology benchmarks that include high levels of autonomous operating capabilities, advanced systems nighttime obstacle avoidance and more.

In 2021, Teal joined a quartet of independent innovation companies owned by publicly traded Red Cat, all working in the rapidly evolving drone and drone-related technology industry. Matus said the acquisition by Red Cat resulted in immediate benefits, including a new $60 million investment deal.

Matus said that while investing in drone innovation companies was a hot venture capital target five or six years ago, the industry is still maturing but is approaching a point where drones will become a much larger, integrated facet of the world outside of military applications.

“Drone technology has just reached significant inflection points and regulatory functions are coming into focus,” Matus said. “Previous predictions had it earlier, but we’re still on a trajectory where drones will be integrated into everyday life.”

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