28 May 14. Kazakhstan to evaluate Predator XP. Kazakhstan has signed an MoU with General Atomics, paving the way for in-country evaluation of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc Predator XP. A General Atomics spokesperson told IHS Jane’s on 27 May that General Atomics Systems Integration, a subsidiary responsible for defence and aerospace services, had signed the MoU with Kazakhstan’s state-owned defence industrial firm Kazakhstan Engineering (KE) to allow the firm to lease the Predator XP for testing and evaluation in Kazakhstan. A timetable for the testing and evaluation period was not available. General Atomics Aircraft Systems Group President Frank Pace told IHS Jane’s in November 2013 that the company was targeting Kazakhstan, the Gulf States, and Chile as candidates for the Predator XP. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
05 Jun 14. Schiebel´s dedication to the maritime domain and its ability to respond to the evolving unmanned systems requirements lead to a series of trials for the Brazilian Navy from 2nd to 5th June near San Pedro, Brazil, from the Brazilian Amazonas Class Ship APA. Schiebel’s unmanned helicopter CAMCOPTER® S-100 convinced representatives of the Brazilian Navy and Ministry of Defense of its outstanding capabilities as a VTOL UAS (Unmanned Air System), after series of sorties were flown from the sea near San Pedro, Brazil (160 km east from Rio de Janeiro). In support, a number of presentations were given over four days to the attending officers, covering the unique maritime capabilities of the S-100. The demonstration flights were conducted using scenarios agreed with the Brazilian Navy and designed to evaluate the capabilities of its payloads: L3 Wescam MX-10, Selex ES SAGE ESM, Selex PicoSAR Radar and AIS (Automatic Identification System), highlighting the extensive portfolio of available payloads for the CAMCOPTER® S-100. All trials were carried out during both day and night at ranges out to 44 nautical miles with target detection out to 90 nautical miles. The programme successfully demonstrated the CAMCOPTER® S-100 capability to meet the operational needs of Maritime Commanders in such complex, dynamic environments.
30 May 14. Israel has phased out the AH-1S Cobra helicopter gunship, in favour of using more drones, the Reuters news agency reports. The increasing reliance on unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) has evolved through the years, as the unmanned aircraft assumed increasingly complex missions, and proved themselves as an indispensable asset in the continuous war against terror along and beyond Israel’s borders.
Despite the improvements and extensive support, the Cobras have encountered significant ageing challenges, some causing fatal accidents. One squadron has been disbanded few years ago, the second was closed late in 2013. But, according to Reuters, The Cobras were axed as part of budget cuts. “They were sort of stuck in the middle in terms of the role they could fulfil, so we decided to do without them,” a senior military officer told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Israel has retained two squadrons of Apache helicopters, operating AH-64A and D models. Squadron 161, formerly the second Cobra squadron, was commissioned in 2012 at the Palmahim base, as a Hermes 450 (Zik) UAV squadron. Squadron 160 decommissioned in August 2013 is likely to follow. According to Reuters, operations have been shifted toward drones rather than manned aircraft and helicopters. According to the agency’s correspondent Dan Williams, the mission of the Cobras are now performed by unmanned aircraft, currently operating under several squadrons. Israel is known to be operating the Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 and newer Hermes 900, as well as the IAI Heron TP dubbed Eitan. (Source: Open Source Information Report)
31 May 14. Russia will start creation of shock UAVs in 2014. Developmental works on creation of shock unmanned aerial vehicles with a big duration of flight will begin in Russia i