The Stalker XE is a hand-launched, electrically powered unmanned aerial system (UAS) that provides unprecedented long-endurance imaging capability in a variety of environments developed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. It is an operationally proven small, silent UAS that provides unprecedented long-endurance imaging capability in a variety of environments. Optionally powered by a ruggedized Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, Stalker XE uses propane to achieve 8+ hours of operation. To support the needs of the mission, the system can also be easily reconfigured in the field to a battery powered option that provides 4 hours of endurance.
The unmanned aerial system (UAS) was also upgraded with a vertical take-off and landing capability to provide users with greater mission flexibility for operations in austere locations around the world. Stabilized pan, tilt, zoom electro-optical, infrared, and low-light cameras with the ability to lock and track targets provide state of the art imaging capabilities in a small UAS for operations in all weather conditions, day or night. Launch options include bungee, rail, or vertical take-off/landing kit. The unique, custom droppable payload compartment allows the user to precisely drop a small payload from the air. The system features a digital backbone that allows for rapid plug and play of the latest technology, meaning better pictures and more capabilities.
The Stalker XE has a wing span of 12ft and a maximum take-off weight of 22lb, and can carry payloads weighing up to 2lb. The aircraft can be launched by a bungee cord ground launching system and land on its skid, and is operated and controlled by up to two operators. The UAS has fixed-wing assembly, with two main wings fitted to the upper part of the fuselage and a T-tail empennage. The Stalker XE and its payloads are remotely monitored and controlled from a laptop-based ground control station that serves as the user interface for the operator. The imagery and data captured by the payloads are down-linked and processed at the ground station.
In use by Special Forces around the world, the Stalker XE UAS is a proven system with unmatched capabilities for a platform of its size. The Stalker XE is intended to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data for warfighters. It can also be used for border patrol and other special operations. The basic Stalker UAS has been in service with the US Special Operations Command (USSOC) since 2006. Stalker UAVs have been used by Army and Marine Special Forces in Afghanistan to detect improvised explosive devices. Users haven’t requested changes to the airframe, but have requested endurance changes, with aircraft being put in the air two to three times a day, every day.