09 Mar 15. US Soldiers Give Black Hornet Thumbs Up. U.S. Army manoeuvre officials here just finished testing miniature drones and
other high-tech soldier kit at Fort Benning, much of which is designed to help infantry squads and platoons spot the enemy first. From March 2 through March 5, soldiers from the Army’s Experimentation Force, or
EXFOR, participated in the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, an annual event aimed at evaluating innovative equipment with the potential to revolutionize infantry combat. This year, the AEWE focused on 75 prototype technologies ranging from network communications gear to loadbearing kit, to sustainment and force protection equipment. Many showed promise, but it was the pocket-sized Black Hornet and backpack-sized InstantEye unmanned aerial systems that captured the imaginations of 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, the unit that makes up the EXFOR. Hosted by the Maneuver Center of Excellence, the AEWE puts untested gear into the hands of infantrymen for a short period of intense field exercises. The experiment puts the EXFOR through a series of day and night missions and several fragmentary orders, or FRAGOs, to make test conditions as challenging as possible. Despite all the impressive technology, none of it can attack and seize an objective and defend it against an enemy counterattack. The EXFOR platoon still had to adapt to imperfect orders, like the planned March 4 night attack that turned into a daylight mission to seize what was likely a battalion-size objective at the Selby MOUT Site here. Soldiers then tell AEWE officials from Benning’s Maneuver Battle Lab how the gear performed and how it could be improved. To Private First Class Logan Mims, the Black Hornet PD-100 Personal Recon System is something that every squad needs. The PD-100 is practically silent and resembles a tiny helicopter when it’s hovering near its target. It has an onboard camera that takes video and extremely clear pictures. It averages about 20 minutes of flight time. It’s great for flying into an urban setting, Mims said, describing how it can hover outside of a window and take pictures of a potential enemy inside. Made by Physical Sciences Inc. /Tactical Robotics Group, the four-propeller, vertical takeoff and landing system is popular with the special operations community. It can fly at speeds up to 35 miles per hour out to about 1,000 meters and can provide real-time video and thermal imaging of an objective for 20 to 30 minutes. (Source: UAS VISION/Military.com)
09 Mar 15. The government of Japan, a country with a proven track record in electronics and robotics, is looking to fast track industry-friendly regulation to give its drone sector an edge over the United States. Companies from motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor to security firm Secom Co are readying drone technology and services, as advisers to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drive a regulatory overhaul. The Robot Revolution Realization Committee, an advisory panel appointed by Abe, will review existing radio and civil aeronautics laws and set up industry-run best practice for drones. Another panel is asking companies for ideas on how to open up new special economic zones in Tokyo and other big cities to drones on a test basis. The Fukushima area, blighted by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, could also become a “field test zone” for robots and drones, largely free of regulation.
“We want to keep an eye on the world’s drone market, starting with the United States, and consider Japan’s way of doing things,” said Tamotsu Nomakuchi, who heads the robot panel. “It’s not about copying other markets, but learning about them and creating something better.”
The only aviation regulations covering drones in Japan require that they fly below 150 meters and at least 9kms (5.6 miles) away from airports. Drones used in agriculture need two operators, with precautions for the surrounding environment. Japan has been using drones in