Rain Industries, a leader in rapid initial wildfire suppression, has announced their next-generation autonomous firefighting demonstrator aircraft: the Rain MK2. The MK2 is an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) based on a proven helicopter airframe. In conjunction with Rain’s fire agency launch customers, the MK2 will be used to demonstrate rapid initial wildfire response and containment.
“We have worked very closely with our fire agency partners to develop this system, and we continue to incorporate their feedback.” explains CEO Maxwell Brodie. “The MK2 is a demonstrator aircraft, which means that it will be deployed with our fire agency development partners in a limited capacity to inform requirements for a full-scale deployment.”
The MK2 is currently Rain’s largest autonomous system, and carries approximately 30 gallons of payload. It is designed to fly for over an hour with a 23-mile response radius. Equipped with Rain’s automation technology, the MK2 is capable of all phases of flight of a traditional helicopter: takeoff, hover, cruise, and landing with the exception that there is a remote operator providing oversight, rather than a pilot on-board.
“Every wildfire starts small. Automation enables us to position firefighting assets in high-risk regions, where it would otherwise be impossible to staff humans 24/7,” says Brodie. “The launch of our MK2 airframe is the culmination of 18 months of research and development efforts, and is a major step towards our goal of eliminating catastrophic wildfires.”
The MK2 demonstrator aircraft will support numerous pilot projects with fire agencies in California during 2023 as part of Rain’s build-up program to provide autonomous wildfire suppression services to high-risk regions.