22 May 15. Robonic and Lockheed Martin Team on New Generation Tactical Drone Launcher. Robonic Ltd Oy of Finland (Sagem/Safran) and Lockheed Martin of the United States have signed an agreement to develop a smaller, more efficient and transportable fourth generation pneumatic launcher for drones, called OHTO.
Under the terms of this agreement, OHTO will be part of the ground support equipment (GSE) suite for the Lockheed Martin Fury, a Group III unmanned aerial system (UAS). In addition, the agreement facilitates licensed production of OHTO in the U.S. by Lockheed Martin.
OHTO will provide outstanding launch capabilities for Group II and III unmanned aerial systems and target drones. It is based on the Kontio launcher, but with significant changes including a higher power-to-weight ratio, reduced footprint and improved mobility, lower operating costs and enhanced reliability. The Lockheed Martin Fury already uses a Robonic Kontio third-generation launcher to support flight testing and initial operations in its development program.
“This relationship marks an important step forward for Robonic” said Managing Director Juha Moisio. “The Lockheed Martin Fury is a prime example of the depth and breadth of new capabilities that Group III UASs are now offering military customers and prospects in the commercial market. We are very pleased to be working alongside Lockheed Martin, and bringing OHTO into the U.S. market as a fully integrated part of the Fury system.
“OHTO incorporates extensive lessons from the operational deployment of other Robonic launchers over the past decade, in environments ranging from the hot and high deserts of Afghanistan, most notably on Sagem’s Sperwer tactical UAV deployed by allied forces, to the extreme cold of the Arctic.
“OHTO is an outstanding fit with the Fury family and will expand its operational capabilities. Our Kontio was the world’s first third-generation catapult launcher for unmanned aerial systems. Robonic is fully committed to continuous innovation, and OHTO clearly demonstrates our current leadership and future objectives in the UAS launcher market.” (Source: UAS VISION)
22 May 15. US Air Force Moves to Bring About RPA Mission Relief. The US Air Force is pursuing a range of options that will, in combination with a reset in the number of sustainable combat air patrols, help alleviate long-term stress on Remotely Piloted Aircraft crews.
Initial efforts were announced by the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff earlier this year; new initiatives include incentive pay increases and bonuses for crews, directing additional funds to the mission, augmenting current crew manning, increasing the number of RPA pilot graduates, and increasing the use of Guard and Reserve Airmen as well as contractors to bring relief to a community in high demand.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the Air Force will continue to support Combatant Commanders with RPA missions while also focusing on initiatives that reduce stress on personnel and build readiness that is sustainable over time.
“Balancing ISR capability across the range of military operations with finite resources remains a challenge,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “In order to best meet mission demands and sustain the force, the SECDEF has approved a CAP reset to improve RPA pilot operations tempo. We needed to do this to ensure the long-term viability of this capability.”
After spending much of the last decade in surge mode, the Air Force is looking to put into place measures to bring additional relief to the high-demand remotely piloted aircraft community.
“What our Remotely Piloted Aircraft professionals are doing in today’s fight and in preparing for future conflicts is simply incredible,” said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander. “RPAs fulfill critical demands in every theater 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Operating at a surge capacity for nearly a decade has taken a toll on the force. In