Red Cat To Send 200 Surveillance, Recon Drones to Ukraine

The initial order of the firm’s long-range, high-speed Teal 2 model is expected to arrive in June.

Red Cat drone

Red Cat’s rugged Teal 2 drone can fly in challenging conditions such as rain—or the battlefield. [Courtesy: Red Cat]

A drone maker based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the latest to earn a hefty order of UAVs for the Ukrainian war effort.

This week, Red Cat Holdings announced it will fulfill an order to provide 200 of its long-range, high-speed first-person-view (FPV) Teal 2 UAVs to Ukrainian drone pilots. The firm did not specify what entity placed the order, but the first Teal 2 delivery is expected in June.

Red Cat did not immediately respond to FLYING’s request for comment.

The aircraft, which come from Red Cat subsidiary Teal Drones, are designed specifically to enable nighttime surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Officially launched just a few weeks ago, the Teal 2 is compact and rugged, built for challenging environments like the battlefield. Certified as “Blue UAS,” Red Cat is authorized to provide the tech to the U.S. military.

The Teal 2 is equipped with Teledyne FLIR’s Hadron 640R electro-optical/infrared sensor, which provides high-resolution thermal imaging, particularly for night operations. Red Cat claims Teal 2 also boasts the highest power-to-weight ratio in the drone industry that provides increased maneuverability even in GPS-jammed conditions. 

Taking a look at specs, the drone offers a flight time of about 30 minutes, a top speed of 23 mph and a maximum range of 3.1 miles from the controller. The Teal 2 is manufactured at Red Cat’s factory in Salt Lake City.

“Fortunately, Red Cat has the U.S. manufacturing capacity required to quickly deliver on such orders,” said CEO Jeff Thompson. “We are pleased to provide our product to Ukrainian drone pilots, and we look forward to continuing to engage with them, including by providing our new nighttime drone, the Teal 2. Much of drone activity is performed at night, and the Teal 2 is at the forefront of nighttime drone capabilities.”

In February, Thompson and a delegation from Red Cat met with NATO leaders to demonstrate Teal 2, a move that may have precipitated this week's order. And Teal Drones last month supplied 15 Golden Eagle drones to a NATO member country committed to deploying them in Ukraine.

According to Red Cat, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) has also placed an order for 54 Teal 2 drones. Previously, the firm agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract to provide the agency with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for reconnaissance, surveillance, and tracking.

The Teal 2 could soon pop up in the U.S. Army as well. Teal Drones is one of three  manufacturers participating in the Army’s Short Range Reconnaissance Tranche 2 program, which aims to supply small UAS for platoons to conduct surveillance. That relationship bodes well for an Army use case for the Teal 2.

Ukrainian soldiers will likely use the drone the way CBP and the Army plan to use it. Soldiers will be able to store the Teal 2 in a rucksack, deploying it to identify targets and map the battlefield when visibility is low, giving them an advantage when night falls.

That probably won’t turn the tide of the war. But added support from Red Cat could make life easier for the Ukrainian military, which is also receiving drones from Draganfly, AeroDrone, One Way Aerospace and others.

Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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