31 Jul 14. Brazilian company Flight Tech claims country’s first UAV export deal. Joining an increasingly crowded field of countries vying for sales in the international unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market, São Paulo based Flight Tech (FT Sistemas) announced a deal to provide Horus FT-100 Mini-UAVs to an undisclosed African nation. The company also did not disclose the value of the deal, but said that it is the first export of UAV systems by the South American country. Units are set for delivery in late 2014, with options for additional sales stretching into 2015.
The UAV market remains dominated by the US and Israeli defence contractors, but other nations have been heavily investing in the technology especially for more cost-effective, less technologically advanced solutions. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Jul 14. Israel debuted a locally developed micro robot in its ongoing onslaught against the labyrinth of tunnels and concealed shafts supporting subterranean arms depots, command posts and cross-border attacks from Gaza. Built by Roboteam, the Micro Tactical Ground Robot (MTGR) is the latest tool to be fielded under fire by infantry and special units targeting Gaza’s elaborate and often explosives-rigged network of tunnels. The Tel Aviv-based startup, a newcomer to the global robotic market, beat US and Israeli bidders in a rush tender for up to 110 shoulder-carried robots, defense and industry sources said. Several systems are already operating with combat engineering units and specialized infantry against the dozens of tunnels and multiple access points concealed in homes and civilian structures throughout the Gaza Strip, sources here said. Measuring 60 centimeters across, MTGR is similar to the width of soldiers tasked for the high-risk surveillance, mapping and explosive-ordnance-disposal missions. It weighs less than 20 pounds, carries its weight in payload and is built to clear obstacles, climb 8-inch stairs and maneuver in tight, dangerous terrain. Its five onboard cameras, internal microphone and infrared laser points generate intelligence and targeting data 360 degrees around the vehicle, while an encrypted radio streams secure voice and video to tactical operators and commanders. The system is soldier-carried, travels at 2 miles per hour and has a line-of-sight operating range of some 1,600 feet. Roboteam was informed of its winning bid during the second week of Operation Protective Edge, now in its 21st day, an Army procurement officer said on July 28. Israel’s Ministry of Defense declined comment on the unannounced down-select, and Roboteam executives referred questions to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In an interview last October, Yosi Wolf, Roboteam co-founder and co-chief executive, highlighted smuggling tunnels and other underground threats as ideal missions for MTGR and another smaller, 2.5-pound system developed by the company. Wolf cited Roboteam’s selection, less than four years after it launched operations, as priority provider to the Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), the authority managing interagency programs for special operations and low-intensity conflict. According to the CTTSO’s website, 100 MTGRs have been earmarked for ‘priority fielding’ to special forces and explosive-ordnance-disposal units, while another 35 were destined for the US Homeland Security Department and other domestic users. Since its 2009 founding by Wolf and Elad Levy, former junior commanders of an Israel Air Force special unit, Roboteam and a US subsidiary based in Bethesda, Maryland, operate parallel production lines supported by some 100 subcontractors in both countries. (Source: Defense News)
28 Jul 14. OSCE to deploy drones to monitor situation in Ukraine. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is likely to deploy drones to support its special monitoring mission (SMM) in the disputed region of south-east Ukraine. The drones will need to have the ability