Ghost 4 is a new autonomous vertical take-off landing (VTOL) small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) developed by Anduril Industries, a defence artificial intelligence and autonomous solutions provider based in the US.
The sUAS is designed to serve the needs of military customers. It has the capability to provide real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) which can create a common operating picture.
The multi mission drone is capable of performing various missions including cargo delivery, counter intrusion, signals intelligence and electronic warfare.
Anduril Industries unveiled the Ghost 4 sUAS in September 2020 and intends to commence the deliveries of the drone in the first quarter of 2021.
The potential customers of the drone will be the US military and the UK Royal Marines Future Commando Force as they have trialled earlier versions of the sUAS.
Ghost 4 VTOL sUAS design and features
Ghost 4 has a length of 2.72m, width of 0.42m and height of 0.43m. The rotor diameter of the sUAS is 2.27m.
The multi-mission drone is installed with the company’s Lattice AI software platform for performing 32 trillion operations per second which is 100 times faster than the existing computational speeds of other sUAS.
The unmanned aerial system is capable of carrying out fully autonomous operations. It is installed with Lattice platform which reduces the training need for personnel to operate the system.
The drone can be packed into a portable hard case or an expeditionary bag and the operator can easily assemble it in less than one minute.
The weatherproofed drone can operate in adverse conditions and challenging flight environments. It can also operate in maritime environments as can be submerged up to 1m. It can withstand mud, freshwater, and saltwater projection.
The sUAS can autonomously detect, classify, as well as track targets in low-bandwidth or contested environments. It is equipped with advanced flight control systems which enable the drone to operate in high winds.
The unmanned aerial system can view everything as it is installed with visible spectrum imaging, thermal imaging, and other specialised sensors. The target may not be able to detect the drone easily as its frontal cross-section is very small.
Payload of Ghost 4 sUAS
The man portable drone can carry various payloads such as electronic warfare systems, communication relay equipment, designators, spotlights, sensor balls and loudspeakers at a time. This allows the operators to switch between different mission profiles in a single flight.
Its gimbal can be quickly released and swapped within seconds for a specific ISR payload requirement, allowing the operators to pack and transport sensitive components separately.
Navigation and control
A group of Ghost 4 drones will be able to achieve mission objectives that cannot be accomplished using a single unit. The drones can communicate status data among them and can operate together to enable a battlefield handover for persistent target coverage.
Each aircraft can detect low battery levels and indicate another UAS to takeover the assigned mission without human intervention.
A single operator can handle a group of Ghost 4 unmanned aircraft from one ground control station as the drone is designed with swarm and teaming capabilities.
Ghost 4 can be operated from anywhere in the world with the help of local, secure, closed-loop networks and encrypted backhauled networks for distributed operations.
Ghost 4 VTOL sUAS performance
Ghost 4 is powered by 21700 lithium ion batteries and can fly at a speed of 136.8km/h.
It can endure airborne for more than 100 minutes while carrying a full mission payload with a near-silent acoustic signature.