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04 Jan 13. Japan is considering introducing U.S. spy drones to boost surveillance of its territorial waters near islands in the East China Sea at the centre of a bitter dispute with Beijing, Kyodo News said Monday. The Japanese defense ministry hopes to introduce the unmanned Global Hawk aircraft by 2015 “in a bid to counter China’s growing assertiveness at sea, especially when it comes to the Senkaku Islands”, the news agency said, citing unnamed government officials. Beijing has been sending maritime patrol vessels into waters around the Japanese-controlled islands, which China claims as Diaoyu, since Tokyo nationalized the chain in September. (Source: Defense News)

31 Dec 12. National UAS Integration Evolving Differently. Achieving a legal framework to permit routine flights of unmanned aircraft in unsegregated airspace has been the goal of both industry and regulators worldwide for some years—but efforts to harmonize operating rules are moving slowly. Some nations are creating relatively permissive environments for commercial UAS, while others—most notably the U.S.—still effectively keep their airspace closed to civilian-operated remotely piloted aircraft. Some nations allow UAS operations with hardly any questions asked; others “require an application very similar to something you might have for commercial airline operations,” Mark Sickling, of Scottish company Cyberhawk, told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s UAS Operations conference here in September. Other countries do not permit any commercial UAS flights at all, he said. (Source: glstrade.com/AvWeek)

03 Jan 13. “Sky Rider” to be integrated within the DAP (Digital Army Program). By Lior Tzror. The Israeli Artillery Corps “Sky Rider” Unit is preparing to deploy a new UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) which will introduce a significant improvement in its takeoff, flight and visual capabilities, transferring aerial footage of the situation directly to the battalion. The system comprises a new version of “Skylark®”, the UAS operated by the Unit, and a new operating system called “Version 10”, which will be integrated within the Unit in the coming days. The Israeli Ground Forces have specified an objective by which Sky Rider soldiers recruited in November 2012, whose dedicated training will commence this March, will be trained to operate the new version of the system. “The new version will be substantially better than the currently existing systems”, said Sky Rider Commander, Lt. Col. Uri Gonen. “Among other capabilities, it will provide a link between the new “Tamnoon” command and control (C2) system intended for the Unit and between the DAP (Digital Army Program) system, thus enabling the “Sky Rider” system to continuously operate in the “Massuah” environment”, he added. Once attached to the DAP, battalion commanders will be able to pinpoint UAS location on their screens and determine the area it is observing.
In addition to the presently operated regimental UAS, the Unit is currently involved in the development of an additional UAS for the Brigade level, along with the Department of Military Equipment and the Israeli Ground Forces’ Technology Division, as well as the defense industries. The approval of the development of this new UAS follows a “Sky Rider” flight trial that was held between the months of November 2011 to March 2012, examining the operational need for such a UAS. “The aim is to create a force within the unit, platoon or company, which will operate in the brigade level”, explained Lt. Col. Gonen. This UAS will address more comprehensive visual needs suiting the activity of a brigade, as compared to a battalion, which examines a smaller area. “I believe that this UAS’ operational capabilities will be evident in the field within 18 months”, he added. A verbatim translation of an article published on 13 December 2012, in “Ba’Machane”, the official IDF news magazine.

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