Sponsored By Oxley Developments
23 Sep 20. BAE wants to halve the time and reduce the cost of building aircraft. BAE Systems hopes that future components and systems could be built at significantly less cost and in half the time through its work as part of Team Tempest and the implementation of a new ‘Factory of the Future’ concept. In an interview with Air Force Technology, BAE Systems Manufacturing and Materials Technology Director for the Air business, Professor Andy Schofield, said the company was looking to employ technological advances across the board in its quest to reduce the time and costs associated with building components, and complete air systems.
Schofield said: “We have a mantra of ‘halve the cost, halve [the] time’. We’re looking to reduce our engineering and manufacturing processes lead times and cost by half and that will result in a significant increase in our productivity.
“They are the challenges that we have within manufacturing which extends into our supply chain.”
Key to the BAE Systems Factory of the Future is the seamless combination of existing and groundbreaking technologies matched with new ways of working. The company is working hard to drive a transformative approach right across its supply chain, driving down lead times and ensuring the wider workforce are focused on adding value and embracing technologies to drive efficiency.
Part of this need for BAE, Schofield says, comes from the build rate difference between commercial and defence aviation, with the latter needing much more flexibility due to the typically lower build rate of fighter jets than passenger airliners.
Embedding advanced manufacturing technologies like additive manufacturing, robot-assisted assembly lines, intelligent logistics and autonomous robotics to boost productivity are all key to driving a more agile manufacturing capability to suit low and variable build rates.
A number of the manufacturing advances that will form the manufacturing solution for a Future Combat Air System (FCAS) are already reaching maturity according to Schofield, who cited the use of additive manufacturing of Typhoon components as an example of the technology in action.
Schofield said that one component currently flying on Typhoon aircraft is now additively manufactured from two parts when traditionally it was made from 16 parts.
Describing how digital manufacturing factors into the Factory of the Future, Schofield said the technology was of critical importance, particularly when it comes to achieving the flexibility in build-rates described earlier.
Schofield explained: “Digital manufacturing is critical; Intelligent Automation, the use of robotics and humans working together is really important. We need to replace the non-value-added, repetitive activities by the use of Intelligent Automation. This frees up the human operator to concentrate on more highly skilled tasks as a result.
“Moving parts around the factory using mobile robots is a significant enabler in the Factory and then we get into more detailed manufacturing processes such as additive manufacturing and metallic processes for joining, forming, and drilling holes, smart composite structures with embedded sensors and low-cost composite manufacturing.”
BAE Systems believes that using these technologies – which often collectively come under the banner of ‘Industry 4.0’ – is an example of how the Company is embracing ‘fourth industrial revolution’ manufacturing innovations. Schofield added: “We’re starting to see some real breakthrough innovative manufacturing methods that haven’t been seen before.
“Factory of the Future provides a step-change in our manufacturing capability and we’re seeing some real breakthrough assembly methods and manufacturing methods coming to fruition.”
Typhoon, Tornado, F-35: Lessons from the past
Schofield said. “Every single project that we’ve introduced over the last 50 years has always required, from a manufacturing point of view, some sort of physical demonstration that we need to put in place that enables us to prove that we can achieve what the requirements of the project are.”
Like advancements in titanium machining needed for Tornado, or composite material development needed for Typhoon, Tempest is no different. Schofield explained: “When we look at the challenges that Tempest gives us, then we start to translate that challenge into what it really means from a manufacturing point of view. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
23 Sep 20. USAF to Test Weapons Swarming Software in October. US Air Force researchers in October will test whether a software version of the service’s developmental weapons swarm can make its way through a combat mission and reroute itself as conditions change.
The demonstration is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Golden Horde initiative, a high-profile project to create munition swarms that autonomously work together when fired and “think” on their own to attack targets that match criteria given to the software.
Golden Horde assets could be used for traditional airstrikes, or carry sensors and other payloads for missions from reconnaissance to electronic warfare to aerial refuelling.
“We’re actually going to be demonstrating digital twin-enabled operations … where we’ll be using a software variant of a collaborative weapon flying out in a swarm mission, encountering some issues along the way that it did not expect, and collecting that data back over through an [Advanced Battle Management System] cyber-assured cloud, to then feed a digital twin model using some [artificial intelligence and machine learning] techniques to ascertain where we might put either some different playbooks or a software improvement into the weapon system,”
Craig Ewing of AFRL said during a Sept. 21 presentation on digital systems engineering in the Air Force.
Digital twins are virtual models of hardware that can be used in simulations to refine engineering work and speed up development of new military systems without relying as much on physical prototypes. They are a core piece of the Department of the Air Force’s new push to adopt digital engineering more broadly across its inventory.
Golden Horde is one of AFRL’s three fast-tracked “vanguard” programs that receives more attention and resources from across the service because it is so promising.
Program officials will use technology developed for Gray Wolf, an earlier effort to develop a swarming cruise missile, as the model for the demonstration. The Air Force said last year it would abandon Gray Wolf in its early stages of development at Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to focus on networking existing munitions through Golden Horde instead.
The data collected on Gray Wolf will help hone algorithms to ensure Golden Horde, a collection of Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs and Miniature Air-Launched Decoys, works as intended in real life. Scientific Applications and Research Associates and Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp. are networking those weapons together for the Air Force.
Gray Wolf is a potential experiment surrogate for the Golden Horde munitions, Christopher J. Ristich, head of AFRL’s Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office, said Sept. 16.
“We’re looking at a whole variety of things, from small [unmanned aerial vehicle] systems to explore the behaviours of these collaborative weapons, up to actual surrogates for the weapons themselves,” he said.
While the AFRL website notes that demos will begin late this year and “ultimately lead to an integrated capstone test event with … weapons working together to prosecute simulated targets in the fall of 2021,” Ristich said officials are rethinking aspects of the program as well as the schedule.
Defense News reported earlier this year that F-16 fighter jets would flight-test the CSDB-1 in 2020, followed by tests of the CMALD on the B-52 bomber next summer.
“The first flight test scenarios will be simple, helping the Air Force gauge whether the weapons are properly communicating across the network and acting in accordance with the mission playbook,” Defense News wrote. “For example, a team of CSDB-1s could come across a threat while en route to attack a target and would have to change trajectory to avoid it.”
The Air Force may vet the concept as an integrated swarm in 2022. (Source: UAS VISION/Air Force Magazine)
23 Sep 20. Flooding the zone: Future aviation capability tightens kill chain at Project Convergence. Army Futures Command shows off Project Convergence in new video.
Partnering helicopters and unmanned aircraft just a few years ago meant that a pilot could control a drone to fly ahead to conduct reconnaissance. Maybe it meant a pilot could control payloads or even the weapon systems on that drone.
But at Project Convergence at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, this month, manned-unmanned teaming took on a far more advanced meaning.
The Army’s Future Vertical Lift team rolled into the service’s weeks-long “campaign of learning” with 19 semi truck trailers and almost 200 people, Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of the Army’s FVL modernization efforts, told Defense News in a Sept. 22 interview.
The effort brings together future weapons and capabilities envisioned for a 2030s battlefield against near-peer adversaries such as Russia and China. It includes using a machine learning and artificial intelligence-enabled battle management system that is in development.
Rugen said he was “very, very proud” to see technology at the event mature to the point that allowed for data to be pushed across networks “faster than we’ve done in the past” through a tight-knit kill chain that included space, air and ground assets underpinned by Assured Position, Navigation and Timing (APNT) and an advanced network.
The team had 127 technical objectives it wanted to meet through 11 use cases and the three mission threads.
The breadth of the effort reflects that the Army is at a critical juncture when it comes to modernizing its fleet. The service is attempting to develop and field both a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) as well as a variety of Air-Launched Effects (ALE) capabilities along with a modular open system architecture that makes it easier to upgrade and modernize as time goes on. Leaders want all of this by 2030.
The next level of algorithmic warfare
A year ago, the Army’s Architecture, Automation, Autonomy and Interfaces capability, or A3I, was put to the test at China Lake, California. In that effort, an operator with a tablet in the back of an MH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter took control of a Gray Eagle drone and tasked it to fire a small, precision-glide munition at an enemy target located on the ground. At the last second, a higher level threat was detected and the munition was rapidly redirected toward a different threat, taking it out within seconds.
At Project Convergence, the final shot of the campaign came from a soldier on the ground taking control of a Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) munition surrogate (a Hellfire missile) on a Gray Eagle — representing a FARA — and firing on the target. This takes critical seconds out of the operation as the pilot of the aircraft wouldn’t have to focus on trying to locate the target himself, aiming and firing the missile.
At China Lake, the Army was able to use automation to reroute the Gray Eagle around poor weather. This year the aircraft were avoiding threat weapon systems, Rugen said. And while the precision glide munition used was inert last year, this time the Army used live rounds.
The Army also used an open system architecture that was flexible enough for payloads and capabilities to be swapped in out of its A3I Gray Eagles without having to rely on the original equipment manufacturer to do it, Rugen highlighted.
During the first mission thread, which focused on the penetration phase laid out in the Army’s Multidomain Operations warfighting concept, aircraft partnered with space-based assets, APNT, and LRPF capabilities to locate, then degrade and destroy enemy assets modeled after the Russian Pantsir air defense systems and other weapons.
The ALE pushed ingested data forward through the network to get it to the right shooters, whether that would be an Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system on the ground or a Gray Eagle or another ALE.
During the exercise, the team launched six ALEs “flooding the zone with our drones for the first time and we did that multiple times over,” Rugen said.
Flooding the zone brought a variety of capabilities to the overall force during the three phases of operations.
First, the Army was able to extend the ALE capability out to almost 62 kilometers, which provides deep standoff for manned aircraft like FARA.
“For a division commander,” Rugen said, “that’s just transforming his or her battlefield geometry.”
The ALEs performed both the reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting acquisition mission and worked as a mesh network to extend the battlefield. Two ALEs were truck launched and four were air launched.
“We did prove we could launch up to 80 knots forward speed on our FARA surrogate aircraft,” Rugen said.
The team was also able to recover all of its ALEs from the operation using the Flying Launch and Recovery System (FLAReS).
Rather than letting the drones belly land in the sand or on a runway, which would result in damage, FLAReS has a hook on the edge of the wing that catches the ALE’s wing in flight. “It’s been wonderful to see that innovation,” Rugen said.
In a classified operation related to the penetration phase of battle, an ALE dropped off a Gray Eagle at an operationally relevant altitude for the first time, Rugen noted.
In the dis-integrate mission thread, which aims to destroy and disrupt subcomponents of enemy capability such as command and control systems and intelligence capabilitiesas well as other critical nodes, the ALEs helped refine targeting information in a GPS-denied environment and passed it back to the ERCA system for long-range shots.
In that phase, a Gray Eagle, serving as a “munitions mule,” flew outside of the enemy weapon engagement zone, and another aircraft took control of a sensor-enabled munition deployed from the Gray Eagle.
In the third mission phase, where the goal is to exploit freedom of maneuver gained in the penetrate and dis-integrate phases in order to defeat enemy objectives, the air assets and Next-Generation Combat Vehicles were able to pass information back and forth using an internally developed system called Firestorm that works as the machine-to-machine brain.
During the phase, the team was able to demonstrate the ability to automatically route the engagement, Rugen said. This means the aircraft or vehicle was able to ingest data and then the machine automatically sets up its route to engage the target with no involvement from the pilot.
“Keeping the aviator out of it was the ingenious thing we were able to do,” Rugen said.
Project Convergence also wasn’t just about the technology but the tactics, techniques and procedures through which the Army worked, according to Rugen. “We’re not just hitting the technology button here,” he said. “Some of it is the advanced ingress techniques against our pacing threats.”
Overall, the interoperability between various battlefield capabilities from the ground all the way to space was an achievement, according to Rugen. “I’m not saying it’s flawless, but we are not in our stove pipes and it’s made us, at times, uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable is not necessarily bad.
“We definitely had to converge because we were forced to, and there was some forcing to it, but it’s been great,” he added. (Source: Defense News)
23 Sep 20. What does military AI need to detect COVID? Data from wearables. The U.S. Defense Department is expanding a research study that detects potential COVID-19 infections through wearable devices to “several thousand participants,” officials announced Tuesday.
The project, from the Defense Innovation Unit, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Philips Healthcare uses artificial intelligence to analyze biometric data to detect potential COVID-19 infections in asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers and slow the spread of the virus.
The early-warning system prototype is part of the DoD’s Rapid Analysis of Threat Exposure (RATE) technology and has been used for COVID-19 detection for a dozen different cohorts of military and non-military personnel in clinic trials, according to a press release. The system can detect early, “sub-clinical” symptoms up to 48 hours before overt symptoms appear, Lt. Col. Jeff “Mach” Schneider, a DIU program manager told C4ISRNET.
“The immediate priority was to work with cohorts that were either in some kind of front line capacity,” such as health care workers, “or that were more severely impacted from a readiness standpoint,” he said.
The technology is in use by about 700 workers in the U.S. Navy and Office of the Secretary of Defense, Schneider said. He added that the study will expand to about 5,000 new users across different services, commands and the United States Military Academy.
“As we continue to collect data and refine the algorithm, priority will continue to be provided to those first responders and those that have had to adopt new operational tempo to support their duty obligations,” Schneider said.
The RATE program uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze a person’s biometric data and detect small changes in a person before they experience any symptoms. The system can then alert a user they may be infected so they can quarantine or change their behavior to prevent further spreading the disease.
“RATE would allow us to non-invasively monitor a service member’s health and provide early alerts to potential infection that will help us to ensure troop readiness, better support their health and protect against the threat of further spread of the disease,” said Edward Argenta, science and technology manager at DTRA, said in a statement. “Unlike other more narrow approaches, this solution is designed to recognize a wide variety of infections and can help identify future novel threats.”
The RATE program’s COVID-19 detection application deployed to military units in mid-June, while Dr. Joseph Frassica, Philips’ head of research in the Americas, added that the algorithm is being further refined to better project COVID-19 infections. The RATE-COVID app is designed to work with all wearables and the team is looking to deploy to bring-your-own devices “in the future,” the release said.
RATE originally started years ago to slow the spread of general infections such as the flu, Frassica told C4ISRNET in an interview. In March, the partnership pivoted to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
“With Covid it became even more critical to find those people who are pre-symptomatic to get them out of the population before they have a high enough viral load to start to spread the disease,” Frassica said.
The RATE program uses large-scale machine learning to analyze data across 165 biomarkers from a data set owned by Philips that contains 41,000 cases of hospital-acquired infections. Biomarker data is then process and analyzed in the cloud, generates an hourly RATE score that service members can then access through a secure website. it looks at several biometric markers such as temperature and blood pressure. The press release added that the risk score also works for “multiple general types of infection,” with Philips scientists also working to generate a tool that can detect the “next new unknown infectious agent.”
“By combining commercial technology, a rich data source and simple-to-use wearables, we are effectively providing a check-engine light on the military service member and getting that alert before they’re broken down with a disease. In military speak, we’re targeting left-of-cough awareness,” said Christian Whitchurch, DIU human systems portfolio director, in a statement.
Schneider said that that project cost about $7m in total, including funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Texas A&M’s Engineering Experiment Station also worked on the project. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Sep 20. Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have been working with soldiers, aircrew and industry partners on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire in a unique experiment to see how humans and a new generation of smart machines can partner to change the way that military operations are conducted.
During a two week exercise at Copehill Down Village, soldiers and aircrew combined their core platforms with uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and autonomous ground vehicles (UGVs) developed by industry partners to look at the challenges and opportunities provided by technology that could help the Army improve military advantage. Helicopter pilots controlled UAVs from the cockpit, providing ground troops and vehicles with improved situational awareness. Tank commanders and dismounted troops used UGVs and UAVs to enhance their ability to find targets in complex urban environments.
Cpl Liam Fisher, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment said: “Technically it’s a big game of hide and seek. We can get ‘hands on’ with the drones, get ‘hands on’ with the ground vehicles and find the people you need to find. It will absolutely make a difference, there are parts where you can’t go, especially for your dismounts. So instead of using ground troops, you can push the UGVs out or other vehicles out and get them to do your job for you instead.”
The MOD is investigating how to reduce the collective burden of war fighting tasks on soldiers by exploiting software and autonomous vehicles to carry out tasks such as combat support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The trial falls under the Army Warfighting Experiment, a project that has been running for the last 10 years and gives personnel the opportunity to test a whole range of futuristic technology. Dstl’s scientific expertise identifies and carries out initial testing on viable industry proposals to deliver technology that shows the greatest potential to the end user and deliver clear military and strategic advantage to the UK.
Dstl’s Project Manager Jamie M said: “These types of experiments are really important for the future, if we’re going to keep pushing forward and understanding autonomous technologies and behaviours, we need to have these experiments where we can be right at the beginning of the science and get soldiers’ inputs straight away into the development of the systems. This has been a hugely demanding activity to pull together, particular during the Covid-19 pandemic with significant hurdles to overcome to deliver a trial of this complexity. It has been a privilege to work alongside Army colleagues to understand their challenges and help shape the development of industry delivered solutions that could address those challenges.”
The industry partners were selected through a competition enabled by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to look for innovative solutions to crewed and uncrewed teaming. Industry was asked to demonstrate some or all of the following:
- a semi-autonomous uncrewed system which can be demonstrated in the field by the end of the project (at AWE 2019)
- a control interface for the semi-autonomous system which can be operated by a single user who will not be required to maintain constant operation
- a control interface suitable for operation within an armoured ground or air platform but that can be removed from that platform and operate with its own power supply
- a system which seeks to consider and minimise cognitive load on the operator in relation to the crewed and uncrewed systems whilst not being fully autonomous
Industry teams were given 12 months to develop and deliver novel semi-autonomous uncrewed systems capable of being operated on the move in current Army platforms in a representative military environment.
22 Sep 20. DARPA R&D creates real-time, multi-domain kill webs.
Two DARPA-developed technologies – a novel decision aid for mission commanders and a rapid software integration tool – played a critical role in the recent Air Force demonstration of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).
The Adapting Cross-domain Kill-webs (ACK) program and the System-of-systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) were among a number of technologies employed in the 31 August – 4 September ABMS on-ramp demonstration, which involved attacks using live aircraft, ships, air defence batteries, and other assets.
ACK is developing a decision aid for mission commanders to assist them with rapidly identifying and selecting options for tasking – and re-tasking – assets within and across organisational boundaries.
Specifically, ACK assists users with selecting sensors, effectors, and support elements across military domains (space, air, land, surface, subsurface, and cyber) that span the different military services to deliver desired effects on targets.
Instead of limited, monolithic, pre-defined kill chains, these more disaggregated forces can be used to formulate adaptive “kill webs” based on all of the options available.
US Air Force Colonel Dan “Animal” Javorsek, ACK program manager, explained, “Once selected, the ACK software sent the ‘play’ to the C2 Incident Management Emergency Response Application (C2IMERA) and the ground-based Composite Tracker and Classifier (CTC) integrated fire control system that used automated messaging and machine-to-machine cuing over Link-16 to scramble fighters and intercept the cruise missiles.”
ACK was used in an air defence scenario during the ABMS demonstration, where an air commander faced incoming aerial threats and needed to quickly decide the best way to counter them.
The machine-to-machine communications to enable this distributed fire control was performed by the STITCHES integration toolchain. STITCHES is a software-only and fully government owned (non-proprietary) toolchain specifically designed to rapidly integrate heterogeneous systems across any domain by auto-generating extremely low latency and high throughput middleware between systems without needing to upgrade hardware or breaking into existing system software.
The toolchain does not force a common interface standard; rather it rapidly creates the needed connections based on existing fielded capabilities obviating the need to upgrade in order to interoperate.
“The DoD is acquiring more and more advanced electronic equipment each year which solve problems unique to our mission. These new systems need to work with systems deployed more than 40 years ago. STITCHES brings force composability directly to the warfighter by allowing data to be shared without system upgrades,” Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy “Reverend” Jones, SoSITE program manager added.
In addition to the ACK and STITCHES technologies, DARPA security and information system staff were able to rapidly accredit and host ACK, STITCHES, and other ABMS software on a secure DARPA network in a matter of days, significantly contributing to the overall demonstration success.
Tim Grayson, director of DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO), said, “We were extremely pleased to demonstrate two of many advanced technologies we’re developing under our Mosaic Warfare strategy, which is focused on providing fast, scalable, adaptive joint multi-domain lethality. We look forward to continuing to develop and test capabilities that will further enable ABMS.” (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Sep 20. US DARPA conducts fourth major OFFSET Field Experiment. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has conducted the fourth Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) field experiment as part of its efforts to explore new defence technology. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has conducted the fourth Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) field experiment as part of its efforts to explore new defence technology.
The latest experiment was conducted at the Leschi Town Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF) in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington, US.
DARPA’s OFFSET programme aims to develop future small-unit infantry forces comprising unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and/or unmanned ground systems (UGSs) to carry out different missions in urban environments.
The programme seeks to utilise emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming to enable swift development and deployment of advance capabilities.
In the latest experiment, DARPA tested swarms of autonomous air and ground vehicles where Swarm Systems Integrators tested their platforms.
The tests allow the Swarm Systems Integrators to gain insights and generate new strategies to improve in following test runs.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems and Raytheon BBN Technologies are engaged in the development of swarm systems architectures, advanced interfaces, and virtual and physical swarm testbeds for OFFSET.
DARPA Tactical Technology Office (TTO) OFFSET program manager Timothy Chung said: “The Swarm Systems Integrators have been steadily improving their capabilities, each approaching the testing scenarios in unique ways.
“Being able to test large-scale swarms in complex urban environments will allow us to extract new insights into the best ways to use a swarm, especially as our field tests increase in size, complexity, and duration.”
DARPA OFFSET researchers are scheduled to conduct six such planned experiments. Future experiments are expected to be conducted at six-month intervals. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Sep 20. Altitude Angel to launch commercial BVLOS drone corridor with no on-board hardware needed. UK UTM company Altitude Angel has announced the creation of “the world’s first commercial drone corridor” available to support fully automated drone flights beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) from any drone company which completes a series of basic technical integrations which do not require specialist hardware on-board the drone. General aviation aircraft and drones will share the same airspace.
The Thames Valley to the west of London will be the site of the corridor, an area of open and unrestricted airspace operated and managed by Altitude Angel according to plans submitted to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.
According to the company:
“The proposed zone, for which the necessary infrastructure deployment will begin within weeks, was put forward as part of the CAA’s Innovation Sandbox under the moniker ‘Project Arrow’ and will be situated south of Reading, Berkshire. It will be approximately 8km in length and 500m wide and will serve to extend enhanced Detect and Avoid capabilities to drones flying within the Zone. Drones flying within the ‘Arrow Drone Zone’ will be tracked and monitored via Altitude Angel’s UTM platform, GuardianUTM O/S, which communicates with ground and aerial infrastructure to provide automated navigation for drones flying within the Zone, pre-flight authorisations and automatic separation assurance.
“Nearby manned aviation and even other non-participating drones are mapped in real-time so safe distances are maintained, and appropriate avoidance actions can be taken if they are predicted to be breached. If a conflict is detected, drones involved will be automatically given appropriate avoidance instructions, such as an instruction to change flight path, hold, return or land. A remote pilot will also be alerted, and manual control of the drone can be taken at any time. Drones flying within Arrow Drone Zones need no specialist equipment, such as new sensors, to utilise the Zone.
“Unlike existing drone corridors or research facilities where the airspace is typically restricted or closed to general aviation traffic by redefining the airspace as a Temporary Danger Area (TDA), the Arrow Drone Zone will be in open and unrestricted airspace. This means drones and general aviation will be sharing the same airspace in a real-world environment.
“The zone will be open to any company which completes the technical integration and contrasts with other drone corridors which are often closed to organisations not directly involved in their funding, management or as part of a specific project. Once complete, Altitude Angel will ‘package’ the Arrow Drone Zone technology, allowing any organisation, airport, town or city which wants to establish and operate an Arrow Drone Zone to do so quickly, easily and cost-effectively through a simple licencing agreement.“
Richard Parker, Altitude Angel, CEO and founder, said: “Project Arrow and Arrow Drone Zones open the door to the next level in the evolution of UTM and automated drone operations. The size of this step cannot be underestimated: BVLOS automated flight in unrestricted airspace is a very significant barrier to overcome in order to realise the vision of mass-commercial drone usage.
“Drone technology has the potential to change the world in a myriad of ways, and Altitude Angel will be ready to support organisations and businesses around the globe to enable automated drone flights and manned aviation to operate safely side-by-side through the implementation of Arrow Drone Zones.”
For more information
https://www.altitudeangel.com/news/posts/2020/september/drones-and-planes-share-same-sky-as-altitude-angel-establish-drone-zone-open-to-all/ (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
21 Sep 20. Airbus reveals new zero-emission concept aircraft. Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035. These concepts each represent a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, exploring various technology pathways and aerodynamic configurations in order to support the Company’s ambition of leading the way in the decarbonisation of the entire aviation industry.
All of these concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source – an option which Airbus believes holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel and is likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to meet their climate-neutral targets.
“This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen. The concepts we unveil today offer the world a glimpse of our ambition to drive a bold vision for the future of zero-emission flight,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO. “I strongly believe that the use of hydrogen – both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft – has the potential to significantly reduce aviation’s climate impact.”
09 Sep 20. RPAS automation project helps set European standards. Mission accomplished for EDA’s ‘Enhanced RPAS Automation’ (ERA) project launched in 2016 by EDA on behalf of Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Sweden. The project aimed at standardising a set of key technical enablers for the operation of both civil and military RPAS in Europe and was formally closed at today’s 4th online stakeholder workshop, where its results were reviewed.
ERA has contributed to setting industry standards that provide the technical and procedural baseline for the certification in Europe of automatic take-off and landing, autotaxi and automation and emergency recovery functionalities. The validation activities required for standardization purposes were successfully carried out and nearly all performance and functional requirements were validated by the simulations, review, analysis, and flight tests.
The relevant information for standardisation has been provided to the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE). Finally, ERA’s consortium has led the standards’ development, following EUROCAE’s standardisation process and involving a broader stakeholder community, including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In the safety context, ERA has proposed the bow-tie methodology for the Operational Safety Assessment, as requested by the current EUROCAE guidelines. This methodology offers the advantage to get a complete picture of the hazards relevant to the whole operation, which include, but are not limited to, system failures.
These standards will be published by EUROCAE towards the end of 2020, once the open consultation, the last step in EUROCAE’s standardisation process, is accomplished. This would enable both Civil and Military Aviation Authorities to recognize these EUROCAE standards and include them in their certification basis for RPAS operations in Europe.
Follow on activities
The project originally involved a test campaign with an ultra-light manned aircraft that could not be accomplished due to several technical issues with the test aircraft in the final phases of the project. These problems together with the COVID-19 crisis during this period, forced the cancellation of the ‘Automatic Take-off and Landing’ and ‘Autotaxi’ demonstrations. These tests to be performed with a representative RPAS are now proposed as a follow-on activity.
Furthermore, regarding the Operational Safety Assessment, supporting EASA on the definition of Safety Assessment guidelines for RPAS in the certified category could be also envisaged for a potential next phase of the ERA project.
The ERA industrial consortium was led by Airbus Defence and Space, and composed of sixteen partners from five EDA Member States: Airbus Defence and Space and ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH from Germany; Safran, Thales and ONERA from France; Saab from Sweden; Leonardo from Italy; and nine partners from Poland: Air Force Institute of Technology (leadership Polish consortium), Institute of Aviation, Hertz Systems Ltd., EUROTECH, PIAP (Przemysłowy Instytut Automatyki i Pomiarów), Eskadra Grzegorz Trzeciak, Politechnika Rzeszowska (Rzeszow University of Technology – RUT), WB Electronics S.A., Asseco Poland S.A. (Source: EDA)
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.