The RAF Force Protection (RAF FP) Centre has become one of the first units within defence to take delivery of the Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS), Parrot Anafi USA.
It gives a potential solution to RAF Force Protection expeditionary Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements, offering increased situational awareness to personnel, the Air Force said.
Flight Lieutenant Clarke, RAF FP RPAS Senior Operator, said the system provides "advanced durability and imaging capabilities in one small, easily deployable package".
"The platform features an industry first 32x zoom, 4K HDR video and thermal imaging capabilities designed around two 21-megapixel cameras," Flt Lt Clarke added.
The Parrot Anafi USA is lightweight, compact and capable of being launched by patrols in under one minute, according to the RAF.
Also able to operate in adverse weather conditions, its Forward Looking Infra-Red camera provides greater reliability of imagery and detail to commanders.
Originally designed for the US military, the system is being used as part of Force Protection Experimentation (FPX).
Last July, the UK signed a £65m contract to build its first three Protector drones – the first UK-operated system capable of strike missions anywhere in the world.
The aircraft are set to enter service by mid-2024 and will replace the RAF's current fleet of Reaper drones.
Cover image: An RAF servicemember conducts pre-flight checks with the Parrot Anafi USA (Picture: RAF).