The University of Hawaii has developed a concept to ruggedize an existing thermal infrared hyperspectral system for use in the NASA SIERRA UAV. The Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology has developed a suite of instruments that acquire high spectral resolution thermal infrared image data with low mass and power consumption by combining microbolometers with stationary interferometers, allowing us to achieve hyperspectral resolution (20 wavenumbers between 8 and 14 micrometers), with signal to noise ratios as high as 1500:1. Several similar instruments have been developed and flown by our research group. One recent iteration, developed under NASA EPSCoR funding and designed for inclusion on a microsatellite (Thermal Hyperspectral Imager; THI), has a mass of 11 kg. Making THI ready for deployment on the SIERRA will involve incorporating improvements made in building nine thermal interferometric hyperspectral systems for commercial and government sponsors as part of HIGP’s wider program. This includes: a) hardening the system for operation in the SIERRA environment, b) compact design for the calibration system, c) reconfiguring software for autonomous operation, d) incorporating HIGP-developed detectors with increased responsiveness at the 8 micron end of the TIR range, and e) an improved interferometer to increase SNR for imaging at the SIERRA’s air speed. UAVs provide a unique platform for science investigations that the proposed instrument, UAVTHI, will be well placed to facilitate (e.g. very high temporal resolution measurements of temporally dynamic phenomena, such as wildfires and volcanic ash clouds). Its spectral range is suited to measuring gas plumes, including sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which exhibit absorption features in the 8 to 14 micron range.