A STATE-OF-THE-ART drone which will help the emergency services in the line of duty has been unveiled.

The £6,600 'Sky ranger' will be able to provide real-time footage of areas and have the ability to fly in high winds and poor weather.

The military-grade device will be able to fly for two to three hours on five batteries and weighs no more than 2.5kgs.

Based at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service training centre in Chorley, the drone will be piloted by the six incident intelligence officers in the county.

The fire service and Lancashire police will be able to call on the drone for situations such as fires, floods, collapsed structures, wildfires and animal rescues.

Although the drone has the capacity to fly up to two miles away from where it took off, it will never go further 500 metres due to air regulations.

Tim Murrell, group manager and International Search and Rescue Manager for Lancashire Fire, said: "The drone is incredible.

"The amount of time we can save by having this drone up in the air is unbelievable.

"If we were searching for a missing person, we could set the drone to search an area instead of using dozens of police officers on foot.

"With moorland fires, we can get the camera up in the area and see exactly where the fire is and where it's spreading.

"This saves officers having to walk up there first with heavy equipment to survey the scene."

The drone will feature two interchangeable cameras, a HD video camera capable of taking 15 megapixels with an Infra-red camera attached.

There will also be a HD zoom camera that can take 20 megapixels images.

Craig Etherington, an incident intelligence officer for Lancashire Fire, said: "The drone is really easy to handle.

"We've had lots of time to practice with it now and feel confident to use it.

"There will always be two officers on call in the day with one at night, so if one of the stations needed the camera it could be taken out to the scene and deployed."

Insp David Oldfield, a police search advisor, said: "We work with Lancashire Fire a lot and we are very keen to use the drone together with them.

"We have used the Greater Manchester drone before and it saves a lot of time, and it could potentially save lots of lives."

The drone will be used in real situations from Thursday, September 1.