Designed to project a long controllable stream of fire, flamethrowers are widely known as a war weapon used during World War I and II. Since then, they’ve been utilized for many other uses, one of which was recently announced by Throwflame. The company is a flamethrower manufacturer for personal and commercial use and is now selling a drone-attachable flamethrower, the TF-19 Wasp.
Throwflame already has two other backpack style flamethrowers on the market that use CO2 as a propellant, both the X15 and XL18.
“As we move into the future of electrification and sustainability, we wanted to put a flamethrower on an aerial platform that was a bit more green,” said Throwflame’s Founder, Quinn Whitehead. “This system is all-electric, making it our most environmentally friendly flamethrower to date and most likely to comply with new “green deal” regulations.”
By integrating with commercially available drone platforms with a payload capacity of 5 pounds or more, the TF-19 Wasp allows “recreational and commercial users to remotely ignite aerial and ground targets from up to several miles away with a first-person view”. The flamethrower has a fuel capacity of 1 gallon, 100 seconds of firing time, and can hit targets within a 25 feet range.
Why attach a flamethrower to a drone?
For a long time now, farmers have been using the “flame weeding” method to destroy the plant structure in the weed leaves so they can no longer perform photosynthesis and grow. Although it’s not quite clear how effective this method is compared to others, flamethrowing tractors have been built specifically for it, as demonstrated in the video below.
According to Throwflame’s website, their flamethrowers are designed to incinerate “weeds and other unwanted ground plants” as well as “ground-clearing or controlled agricultural burns”. Instead of tractors, maybe we will see automated drones attached with a flamethrower flying around farmers’ fields in the future.
In 2017, maintenance workers in Xiangyang, China, attached a flamethrower to a drone to remove a net that had severely affected electricity supply after becoming entangled in a power line.
Additionally, it could be used for ice and snow melting/clearing, firefighting and training, grassland management, and more.
“A significant amount of interest comes from UAS operators contracted for forest management,” Whitehead told Commercial UAV News. “They hope to use the TF-19 on their drones for extended range back burning and fire management.”
The TF-19 kit is now available for $1,499, and the company points out the DJI S1000 as their platform of choice. While flamethrower drones are federally legal and not considered weapons in many states, users are still required to comply with the FAA’s UAS rules in addition to local ordinances.