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17 Aug 23. Dutch C-UAS Order from Elbit. Defense More Resilient to Drone Threat with New Systems. Defense will be given capacity to combat so-called unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The new systems should mainly offer protection against small drones up to 20 kilos. The contract with manufacturer Elbit Systems was signed today by the Ministry of Defence.
Defense has been testing means to make smaller drones harmless for some time. The systems are deployed at all Dutch air bases and the naval port in Den Helder. Furthermore, the army’s special counterdrone unit also operates them.
A system consists of special sensors to detect, classify and identify UAS. In addition, it has resources to neutralize or render harmless a drone in various ‘soft-kill’ ways – Think ‘jamming.’
Threat is increasing
The use and threat of drones is increasing worldwide. It is therefore necessary to further expand the counter-UAS capacity. In the field of combating larger UAS, the Ministry of Defense already has various air defense systems such as the Patriots and Stingers.
The Ministry of Defense had been looking for the right capacity for drones up to a maximum of 20 kilos for some time. It has now been found at the Israeli Elbit Systems. The counter-UAS systems help to defend the armed forces’ units and main weapon systems against enemy action. They can also be used to protect vital non-military infrastructure and processes in the Netherlands. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Netherlands Ministry of Defence)
11 Aug 23. These soldiers to assess the Army’s new do-it-all device for infantry. Soldiers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York will begin assessing the newest version of the Army’s do-it-all heads-up display device on Aug. 18.
For a week, the soldiers will take the Integrated Visual Augmentation System version 1.2 through a series of fit and comfort tests, weapons compatibility checks and evaluate its lowlight sensor and run mission planning tasks all in a heads-up display, said Lt. Col. Denny Dresch, the IVAS product manager for Program Executive Office Soldier.
If ongoing testing and development go as planned, the 1.2 version could begin production by 2025 for the $22bn program.
But before then, there will be a series of assessments from the squad to platoon, and possibly even at the battalion level.
“We would like to emphasize testing at scale,” Dresch said. “If afforded the opportunity we would like to be able to test at the battalion size level for the operational tests.”
While the device aims to offer a multitude of individual and squad-level features for each soldier and their team, the device’s ability to turn each soldier into a sensor opens the door for the Army to create a networked battlefield.
Information sharing is key.
That’s because larger efforts of networking soldiers within a squad take on outsized roles as tactical computing expands. Those soldiers can serve as information nodes and sensors for a company, battalion, brigade, or division commander at a tactical operations center some distance from the battlefield.
And tracking individual soldier positions, their condition, or even weapon usage and accuracy through the device gives commanders a wider and deeper insight into what’s happening within their formations.
Formerly that was only available at the unit, perhaps vehicle or aircraft level, and a century-old method of field reports with aggregate data on soldiers’ condition.
The Army ordered 5,000 each of the 1.0 and 1.1 versions from Microsoft in 2022. Approximately 50 of the 1.0 devices are scheduled for delivery to units at Fort Moore, Georgia on September 18, said Frederick Shear, a communications specialist with the Soldier Warrior program. The earlier versions’ evaluation will add more soldier input to ongoing design work on version 1.2 and beyond.
The 1.2 version may be the one soldiers first take to combat, but it will not be the last version of this device, which is designed for regular software and likely future hardware upgrades, he said.
Microsoft, the developer of the device, delivered 20 prototypes of the 1.2 version to the Army in late July, according to an Army release a fiscal quarter earlier than previously scheduled.
The overall IVAS program has seen a few delays from its initial fielding plan due to funding hiccups and technology design that’s pushed the boundaries of what has been done with a first-of-its-kind combined night vision and augmented reality device with wide-ranging applications.
Some applications include mapping, route planning, rapid target acquisition, troop location tracking and terrain modeling, virtual shoot house training tools and “instant replay” style after action reviews, among other features planned for the device.
In 2018, early prototypes of IVAS 1.0 built off the Microsoft HoloLens technology for augmented training, education and gaming. Plans called for fielding an early version of the device by 2022. But early problems with field-of-view distortion, a warping of the visual imagery displayed on the screen, moisture problems and soldier nausea, common with some augmented reality and virtual reality devices, delayed that date by a year.
A subsequent Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released in redacted form in 2022 raised concern that the service might be wasting funding on a device that soldiers “may not want to use or use as intended.”
But by the time the report had been released, PEO Soldier spokesman David Patterson told Army Times many of the problems listed in the report had been resolved or were in the process of being fixed.
Congressional leaders, however, continued to scrutinize the program, holding back procurement funding beyond versions 1.0 and 1.1 until operational testing of version 1.2 could verify progress on the device.
Army budget requests earlier this year sought $165m in fiscal 2024, split into $76m for developing version 1.2 and the remaining for procurement. But until operational testing shows success, that means most of the funding for this version will continue to flow to research and development, said Col. Anthony Gibbs, Soldier Warrior program manager.
In January the Army awarded a “task order” to continue development on version 1.2, which is more ruggedized, has a flip-up style helmet mount instead of the goggle design of earlier versions and a separate controller for ease of use.
The 1.2 version allows for better peripheral view, addresses the warping of the display that caused previous delays and adds an improved lowlight sensor, which puts the device’s night vision capabilities on par with the recently fielded Enhanced Night Vision Device-Binocular.
PEO-Soldier commander Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider previously told Army Times that the transition from advanced analog night vision technology to digitally based night vision created its own challenges.
Though legacy technology has clear night vision, it doesn’t allow for information sharing and all the applications that the Army wants the device to access.
Schneider emphasized in a 2022 interview with Army Times that while many look at IVAS as a night vision device, it’s better to see it as a way to put cloud-computing capabilities in the hands of an individual dismounted soldier on the battlefield.
And the dismounted part is only one feature.
Early testing has shown that the IVAS can link into tactical Wi-Fi-enabled systems on Bradleys, Strykers and helicopters. In those tests, soldiers have been able to see vehicle and aircraft camera views outside the hull. They’ve been able to pass data soldier-to-crew and vehicle-to-vehicle. Those are the options that developers aim for with the device — an all-encompassing situational awareness tool. It’s akin to fighter pilot visibility inside the rifle-toting grunt’s heads-up display. (Source: Army Times)
15 Aug 23. SIG SAUER, Inc. announced the award of a contract within the Support Weapons Sighting System (SWESS) program of the British Armed Forces to include the ROMEO8T, JULIET3, and JULIET4 from SIG SAUER Electro-Optics.
“This combination of the ROMEO and JULIET products chosen for the Support Weapons Systems Sighting Program by SIG SAUER Electro-Optics will easily increase the effective range and accuracy at greater distances for operators in both day and night operations,” said Andy York, President, SIG SAUER Electro-Optics. “Further the SIG designed system is completely versatile and will easily compensate for bullet drop at various distances and designed to withstand the rigors of the 5.56 and 7.62 lightweight or medium machine gun platforms.”
The SIG SAUER ROMEO8T is a 1x38MM full-size red dot sight with an exceptionally large field of view, a rectangular lens, in a ruggedized housing with integral steel shroud designed. The optic is designed and tested to withstand extreme conditions and will maintain zero under the most hostile temperature differentials.
The SIG SAUER JULIET3 and the SIG SAUER JULIET4 magnifiers extend the effective range and augment the red dot experience with crystal clear optics in a ruggedized aluminum housing and a flip to side mount. Combining any SIG SAUER JULIET series magnifiers with a ROMEO Red Dot allows hits on targets, with ease, beyond 200 yards. The JULIET3 offers 3x magnification and the JULIET4 4x magnification.
For complete information about the SIG SAUER Electro-Optics ROMEO and JULIET series optics visit sigsauer.com. The SIG SAUER ROMEO8T, JULIET3, and JULIET4 optics are now available for civilian purchase at retailers and sigsauer.com.
15 Aug 23. Milkor establishes Polish division, signs MoU with Germany’s AeroData. Milkor Polska, the newest addition to the Milkor Group, has kicked off its operations in Poland by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AeroData AG to bring airborne maritime surveillance into the unmanned domain.
The MoU was signed at the Paris Air Show in June, bringing together Milkor South Africa and AeroData, which supplies airborne maritime surveillance sensors and systems. AeroData will provide a maritime surveillance solution for the Milkor 380 medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).
“We are bringing new capabilities to Poland, especially in the unmanned aerial domain with our Milkor 380 UCAV,” said Juandré de Bruyn, Managing Director of Milkor Polska. “Europe is investing a lot into new UAV technologies and our advanced aerospace offerings fits into that space. There is a need in Europe for ITAR (US International Traffic in Arms Regulations) free platforms of this size and calibre.”
The Milkor 380 has a payload agnostic architecture, making these collaborations and opportunities possible, the company said. It enables end users to have a wide variety of choices on which payload option to have integrated to fit their specific needs. “This gives Milkor Polska a unique edge on the UAV market in Europe,” the company added.
The flagship Milkor 380 has a wingspan of 18 metres, endurance of up to 35 hours and payload capacity of 210 kg (maximum takeoff weight is 1 300 kg). With such a large payload, a wide array of weapons and equipment can be carried, such as synthetic aperture radar, jammers, electro-optical gimbal etc. Five hardpoints can carry precision guided weapons like the AL TARIQ X-series and HALCON Desert Sting or Thales Belgium FZ602 rocket launchers etc. All avionics, communications and payload integration capabilities of the aircraft have been developed in-house. The Milkor 380 was unveiled in 2018 and started taxi testing in early 2023.
Milkor said its new Polish company will serve the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Europe, with Poland an ideal location to establish a European presence. “We have been anticipating Poland’s rise as military power in Europe as we have noticed their efforts in the past few years. This trend has recently been confirmed by Poland allocating 4.25% of their GDP to their defence budget, the highest in NATO. We would like to contribute to their success”, de Bruyn said. He added that Milkor Polska has the potential to give new life to the private defence industry in Poland as it intends to export to the rest of NATO from there.
Milkor Polska will be exhibiting at the MSPO exhibition between 5 and 8 September in Kielce, Poland. The company will be showcasing a wide variety of weapons as well as other systems that make up their air, land and sea offerings, giving the Polish industry an opportunity to get acquainted with their newest partner.
Milkor has been expanding around the world and now has offices in India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Poland as well as South Africa. With the shifting geopolitical landscape, Milkor believes it is well positioned to make the most of these changing conditions and is setting its sights on meeting new global defence demands. This has seen its product lineup grow from 40 mm single-and multi-shot grenade launchers to UAVs, armoured vehicles, and patrol craft. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
14 Aug 23. Confronting the FPV threat: Ukraine turns increasingly to home-grown solutions. Ukraine is ramping up its industrial capabilities to deal with the increasing threat of Russian loitering munitions and first-person view (FPV) kamikaze drone attacks. Ukraine has signed multiple deals with other nations to supply jamming and counter-UAS equipment but the recent increase in volume and ferocity of Russian FPV and loitering munition attacks has meant that the number of systems required deal with the threat can no longer be accommodated by large number of systems supplied from abroad.
Recent additions to Russian FPV capabilities have meant that many of these imported systems may not provide the level of effectiveness needed to cope with latest threats. Many rely on bringing down USD400 Russian FPVs with missiles that cost USD10,000 or more – which is not a sustainable way to fight a war.
The first challenge is sheer numbers. According to Samuel Bendett, Researcher at the Center for Naval Analyses in the USA, in a LinkedIn post.
“If we count the most optimistic estimates of total Russian FPV/combat quadcopter production, assuming all numbers are true and verified, we get the following: military companies like Almaz-Antey and Kalashnikov at 3000 each, “Hydrangea” at 3000 per month, plus numerous volunteer efforts like Sudoplatov, KatyaValya, Project Archangel, DroneZ, multiple other smaller efforts across Russia that also assemble FPV drones, plus a few smaller defense companies, we can get an additional maximum of 5000-6000 drones per month so far. Therefore, the total number of such drones supplied to the Russian forces “can” be around 15K – assuming all numbers are indeed verified, which we cannot do so far for large Russian defense companies’ claims – no videos yet of their use. In reality, the actual numbers are so far probably smaller, given the uncoordinated volunteer efforts and Russia’s defense-industrial enterprises preferring to manufacture their own small drones instead.”
However, even 10,000 FPV drones a month rolling off the production lines produces a considerable battlefield threat.
And the most recent Russian FPVs have been adapted to avoid many first-generation C-UAS systems. According to Russia’s TASS news agency: “Developers have designed a flying relay station that boosts the flight range by a factor of two for the Upyr FPV drone produced in Russia’s Ural region.” Other reports (see sources at the end of the article) say Russian Joker FPV drones now can be programmed to go into a kind of ‘sleep mode’ before being reactivated for an attack, while Merlin and Poseidon kamikaze drones are equipped with high-capacity batteries to provide a long flight time and use military-grade encrypted Crossfire or Express LRS radio control links.
In response, the Ukrainian government has incentivised the Ukrainian defence industry and civil software engineers to develop increasingly agile solutions to the threat. According to a recent Reuters report, the government is distributing USD3m in prize money to teams of electronic warfare technology experts who have developed the most effective and affordable C-UAS defences again Shahed drones and other related threats.
This is the latest government initiative in a programme of developing indigenous capabilities which has seen a wide range of new, more affordable Ukrainian-developed C-UAS systems with niche counter-FPV and loitering munitions capabilities now entering the battlefield.
According to Ukraine’s Defence Express news site: “Ukrainian Piranha-Tech company specializing in anti-drone solutions has developed a portable EW system they called Piranha – Armored Vehicles Dome 360 designed specially for armoured vehicles. When installed on a vehicle, the equipment goes into the armoured hull with only minimalistic antennas emerging to the outside. The device is declared to be capable of suppressing both radio communication and satellite navigation of UAVs.
“Importantly, the Piranha – Armored Vehicles Dome 360 not only jams the standard channels used for controlling commercial quadcopters and FPV drones but also covers the frequencies at which Lancet loitering munitions operate. Furthermore, it shuts down GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo satellite navigation systems. The power output of the EW kit is 150 to 250 W; it creates a protective field with a radius of 700 meters (~2,300 feet) for all 360°.”
Belgian defence analyst Tim de Zitter (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-de-zitter/) in a Linkedin post has reported on the first deployments of a new portable C-UAS electronic warfare backpack, equipped with four antennas, one each working in the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz range, and two in the 900 MHz range, from an unknown Ukrainian source.
“The device was placed in a protected backpack. The backpack is waterproof and can withstand temperatures in the range from -40 to +65°C. The degree of protection of such a backpack is IP67. This means that the portable electronic device inside it will not be affected by dust. Moreover, the case with its load can be immersed in water to a depth of 1 meter.”
And Ukrainian defence news source MILITARNY reported in July 2023 the first C-UAS tank protection modules, configured to operate at a frequency of 900 MHz with an operating power of 50 watts, had been fitted to the first set of combat vehicles.
“Within three weeks on combat missions, this little box performed all the tasks perfectly without a single even tangent hit from FPV, though the neighbouring crews caught two cumulative each on one of the numerous missions,” said the developers.
These are just a handful of home-grown C-UAS defence systems which are reaching the battlefield and will, after the conflict, provide a potentially important export opportunity for Ukraine’s defence industry. The key area of expertise where Ukrainian industry will need to develop further capabilities is in tactical radar and passive detection systems, which need to be integrated into the mitigation capabilities now being developed in the country.
For more information
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/inside-ukraines-tech-push-counter-russian-suicide-drone-threat-2023-07-05/ (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
14 Aug 23. Three bidders announced for Indian Army’s air defence/C-UAS gun tender. The Indian Army has reportedly received three bids for its air defence, including counter UAS, tender. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has announced a partnership with Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A while Larsen & Toubro and Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd (AWEIL) are also reported in the Indian defence press to have put in bids.
A request for proposal for 220 air defence guns was issued by the Ministry of Defence in October last year. The proposal includes 1.42 lakh rounds of ammunition and the estimated contract value is marked around Rs 6,500 crore.
For more information: https://www.financialexpress.com/business/defence-bhels-air-defence-gun-partnership-with-a-foreign-vendor-raises-concerns-3208623/ (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
11 Aug 23. US defence department funding supports Teleidoscope prototype AI air defence system. The US Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is helping to develop a prototype AI-based visual recognition and identification system with increased performance capability compared to the legacy system while reducing projected sustainment costs, says the agency.
The timeline for fielding the improved integrated camera system has accelerated by several years due to a critical USD16.77m funding award via the Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT) in May of this year.
After an 18-month prototype that concluded after reaching a final decision in April 2023, Teleidoscope, a first-time, non-traditional DOD vendor has been awarded a USD100M ceiling production contract with orders of the system already in progress.
Teleidoscope is a California based company that provides complete tracking, targeting, autonomy and imaging systems, originally focusing on, and supporting customers in the commercial augmented reality sector. Teleidoscope specializes in advanced tracking, targeting and autonomy software, and integrating this with platforms and sensors, including EO/IR, radar amongst others.
DIU’s prototype process and APFIT funding allows the Program Executive Office for Digital to field the update, and to procure the majority of the required cameras and AI/ML systems in FY23 for the Joint Air Defense Operations Center enhancing surveillance, identification, and tracking capabilities.
The new systems leverage commercial market advancements in cameras, computer vision, augmented reality and machine learning, to greatly improve the air defense operator’s ability to detect, identify and track aircraft.
The NCR-IADS modernization effort focuses on upgrading the cameras and eye-safe lasers used for tracking and visually warning aircraft in violation of the special flight rules within the NCR. The updates significantly improve air defense operators’ ability to positively identify aircraft and aim warning lasers at much further ranges.
The auto-tracking capabilities of the system are applicable to full-motion-video feeds, regardless of the domain, opening the door to augment remotely piloted aircraft video feed tracking capabilities. This prototype has the potential to run on any edge device, or cloud-provided full-motion video feed.
The technology has broad national defense applicability across the Services for both defense against asymmetric and near-peer threats like UAS and cruise missiles.
Lt. Col. Kurtis Engelson, US Air Force and the materiel lead for Battle Control Systems said: “The leadership and support from DIU’s top-notch acquisition professionals has been instrumental in the prototyping effort for the camera and visual warning system – and…we’re looking forward to the next stage advancing past prototyping to production of the new systems with Teleidoscope.”
Th3 transition into production has been made possible by the vote of confidence from the Director of OSD R&E and the USD16.7M APFIT funds, added Engelson. “These funds are paramount to our ability to field sharper “eyes” for the NCR’s air defenders on the earliest timetable possible.”
The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) aims to field and scale commercial technology across the U.S. military at commercial speeds. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, Chicago and inside the Pentagon, DIU is the Department’s gateway to leading technology companies across the country. For more information visit: www.diu.mil (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
09 Aug 23. Israeli security personnel ‘thwart attempt smuggle reconnaissance drones’ into the country. The Israeli Ministry of Defense reports its security personnel have prevented the entry of reconnaissance drones hidden inside a minibus entering the country at the Erez Crossing. According to a LinkedIn post, Ministry “security personnel thwarted an attempt to smuggle 10 reconnaissance drones concealed within a black bag inside a minibus at the Erez Crossing. The drones are suspected to have been intended for reconnaissance purposes by terrorist groups operating within the Gaza Strip”. For more information visit: www.mod.gov.il (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
14 Aug 23. Hensoldt marks milestone as Belgian police aircraft continue to use their airborne sensors. As the Belgian Federal Police Air Support Unit marked its 30th anniversary, Hensoldt took the opportunity to celebrate the Unit’s 20 years of using Hensoldt airborne sensors on its helicopters. Since 2005, Hensoldt’s electro-optical systems have been integrated into the Belgian Federal Police’s fleet of MD902 and MD520 helicopters for airborne observation, bolstering their ability to carry out various police missions, such as security operations, crime prevention, search and rescue, firefighting and VIP escort and protection. Four generations of Hensoldt airborne observation systems have been in use by the Belgian Federal Police, with continuous product support from Hensoldt over this time, the company said, adding that the most recent upgrade, the ARGOS-II, further enhances the Unit’s operational effectiveness.
The ARGOS-II airborne electro-optical system is designed for installation on helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The stabilised system combines multiple sensors and electronics into a single interchangeable unit. Its features include a high-definition (HD) MWIR (medium wave infrared) thermal imaging camera with continuous optical zoom, a unique HD (high definition), multispectral zoom TV-camera and either an HD multispectral spotter camera, or a short-wave infrared (SWIR) spotter camera for enhanced capabilities in challenging conditions with low visibility.
Hensoldt said that advanced image processing functions, such as picture-in-picture display, edge enhancement, haze penetration, pseudo colours and day/thermal image-fusion, ensure optimised image-performance across diverse operational conditions.
“Of particular interest is the system’s continuous optical zoom capabilities that provides optimal information from the scene of interest, which enhances situational awareness and operational efficiency without losing a single video frame,” said Chris Haines, Head of Sales for Optronics in South Africa.
Hensoldt’s electro-optical systems are in use by law enforcement agencies around the world, including in South Africa. In addition to the Belgian Federal Police, the Thuringia State Police and the German Federal Police have also chosen the ARGOS-II for their helicopter fleets.
“We congratulate the Belgian Federal Police Air Support Unit on their remarkable 30th anniversary – their unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements serve as an inspiration. We express our gratitude for their loyalty and trust in Hensoldt’s products, which have played a vital role in their crucial missions,” said Deon Olivier, Chief Executive for Hensoldt South Africa Optronics.
Hensoldt South Africa exports its solutions to more than 45 countries across the world in addition to supporting local customers. The Goshawk 350 and LEO II are used by the South African Police Service Air Wing on its AS350 helicopters as well as its Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter fixed wing aircraft. The South African Air Force uses the Argos 410 on its Caravan surveillance aircraft while the Argos 410 LUH is fitted to the A109 Light Utility Helicopters. Argos M systems are installed on the Super Lynx maritime helicopters and Hensoldt is the prime contractor for the EO/IR targeting sight on the Rooivalk helicopter.
Hensoldt South Africa recently launched its new lightweight ARGOS-8 compact electro-optical system, designed for the smaller and lighter unmanned aerial vehicle market. The ARGOS-8 (with an 8-inch gimbal), weighs 6 kg and is equipped with laser designator and range-finder capability. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
07 Aug 23. Israel National Police seek industry partner for C-UAS sensor, soft and hard kill systems. The Israel National Police (INP), the R&D Division (MAFAT), the Division for Technology and IT (ATUV), are seeking information on technological systems and/or solutions that can aid in countering the threat of drones in an urban environment, as an initial step before releasing a tender to select providers across various categories of C-UAS technology. The deadline for submissions is 28 August 2023.
The INP is particularly interested in three key technology categories:
- Sensors: This includes RF, Radar, Electro-Optics, Acoustics, and other relevant sensor technologies.
- Soft Kill: Encompassing a range of solutions from jammers to takeover mechanisms.
- Hard Kill: This category involves aiming devices, ammunition, and drones designed for combating unmanned aerial systems.
The INP seeks effective, proven, and innovative solutions available on the market that are specifically tailored for the Homeland Security (HLS) sector and suitable for managing complex urban environments.
To participate in this opportunity, interested companies are required to work through an Israeli representative.
According to a Linkedin post
“Once we receive applications, we will carefully evaluate them against the specified requirements and shortlist the most qualified companies. These selected companies will then be invited to demonstrate their C-UAS solutions in September.”
For more information: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18Y63Wk6uVgrNAvD2ejwm_Q19yN69ZK44
10 Aug 23. Vulnerability of manned aircraft to drone strikes; EASA to present study results – 25 October. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is presenting the results of the research work on ‘Vulnerability of manned aircraft to drone strikes’ at an on-site event on 25 October 2023. The project was funded by Horizon 2020, managed by EASA and implemented by QinetiQ.
EASA aims to complement the drone regulatory framework with full understanding the consequences of potential collision of drones with manned aircraft. Indeed, close encounters, mainly due to non-compliance with rules, still exist. When they occur in the vicinity of major airports, immediate consequence is traffic disruption with safety of commercial operations potentially at stake. It is essential to understand the collision phenomena and its potential consequences to inform future actions and ensure appropriate safety measures are in place.
This thread of actions started with the EASA drone collision task force, carried out in 2016, and continued within the EASA counter-UAS action plan. Following recommendations, EASA and the European Commission worked to establish an experimental project to provide proper scientific/technical basis for the understanding of the collision phenomena. The three-year project “Vulnerability of Manned Aircraft to Drone Strikes” was launched in June 2020 to provide such basis.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations are rapidly growing. EASA, in cooperation with the European Commission and with stakeholders, is ensuring their safe integration into the airspace by means of initiatives in several domains: regulatory, technical, social. The operation-centric regulatory framework for drones provides a portfolio of mitigation means, hinged on drone design, remote pilot skill, operator organization, operational limitations and services supporting the operation such to preserve adequate safety of drone operation. In particular, regarding the risk of drone collision with manned aircraft, key factor will be the establishment of U-space services, the fundamental pillars of which have been put in place with the adoption of the U-space regulation and the publication of related acceptable means of compliance (AMC). For more information visit: www.easa.europa.eu (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
14 Aug 23. HHLA Sky to present UTM digital solutions to visitors at government open day in Berlin. Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) subsidiary and drone system provider HHLA Sky is presenting its technology solutions at the open day hosted by Germany‘s Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV), together with the Federal Chancellery on Saturday, 19 August and Sunday, 20 August, 2023 in Berlin.
HHLA Sky’s fully integrated system consists of process management and control center software which maps the process from planning a drone flight to secure data transmision ready for integration into a UAV Traffic Management Systems (UTM). HHLA Sky also provides a UTM system that enables safe coordination with other aircraft in the same airspace (U-Space) as a result of the digital networking of this UTM solution.
The open day is intended to give citizens the opportunity to get to know the workings of the government and its ministries better, to find out about the various departments, subordinate authorities and their responsibilities. Representatives of the business community will also be on hand to present their technologies and business models to citizens.
For more information visit: www.hhla.de (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
08 Aug 23. Orange Belgium continues 5G roll-out, provides catalyst for drone industry applications. Working closely with industry partners, Orange Belgium is implementing 5G technology to cover most of the country by 2025. The telecom operator is supporting the implementation of several government funded 5G-standalone technology use cases, including drone applications.
For example, SkyeBase was established in 2020 with the aim of carrying out faster, more efficient and better inspections of industrial sites, tank terminals, container terminals and infrastructure thanks to the use of drones for robotic inspections. Although the Antwerp company automates its drone and robotic inspections, the process still involves many manual tasks. For instance, an operator flies a drone around a silo to take pictures. When the drone lands, the inspector removes the SD card from the drone and checks the footage on a desktop or laptop. If the report turns out to be incomplete, the drone operator must return to the location. Through discussions with Orange Belgium, SkyeBase quickly realised that thanks to 5G standalone, a drone can forward footage instantly, says the company.
Next to working on a proof of concept of industrial drone inspections using 5G, another aim of the collaboration is to simplify remote communication with experts, Tom Daniëls, co-founder and CIO of SkyeBase, explains: “Experts cannot always be on site, but a live stream allows them to follow an inspection from a distance and share their knowledge in a secure manner. The 5G standalone network ensures a guaranteed bandwidth, which is crucial for connection reliability. We inspect critical infrastructure in the port and the petrochemical industry, amongst other locations. It is therefore crucial that the expert receives real-time footage, especially when an incident occurs.”
According to the company press release, Orange Belgium’s 5G equipped customer base has now reached more than 1 million clients (B2C + B2B), meaning that 1 in 3 Orange customers owns a 5G-compatible device. This includes devices such as smartphones, tablets, modem modules, connected objects, dongles, datacards, USB modems, etc. that are compatible with and can support 5G frequencies.
Orange Belgium aims to have 1,200 sites equipped with 5G by end of 2023 combining several frequencies to ensure the best possible experience at customers’ premises. In the coming months, more and more urbanized zones will start to see 5G coverage*. With the adaptation of emission norms also enabling the roll-out of 5G in Brussels, Orange Belgium is currently submitting its environmental permit applications to the Brussels Environment authorities. Once the permits are granted, the operator will be able to start deployment of 5G on its various antennas in the capital. 5G frequencies will initially be available at defined high-traffic locations, such as railway stations. The majority of 5G deployment in Brussels is scheduled for 2024, with some additional last rollouts in 2025. For more information visit: www.orange.be (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
11 Aug 23. Indian Army inducts Swathi WLR mountain variant. The Indian Army has announced the induction of six units of a mountain variant of the Swathi Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) to enhance battlefield surveillance.
The WLR, also known as the Swathi Mark II, was delivered to the Indian Army by state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in early August.
A BEL spokesperson told Janes on 9 August that the company received an order for the six Swathi Mark II units in December 2021, and that all were delivered by March 2023. “We are expecting more orders for the Swathi Mark II from the Indian Army,” the spokesperson said.
The Swathi WLR – developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – is a mobile 3D electronically scanned phased-array radar that can automatically locate artillery, mortars, and rocket launchers of hostile troops and enable their destruction by facilitating counter bombardment. (Source: Janes)
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