23 Jul 15. USS North Dakota deploys UUVs. The USS North Dakota has returned to its homeport in Connecticut after deploying and retrieving UUVs in an operational environment for the first time, the US Navy announced on 20 July. The Virginia-class submarine deployed the UUVs from its dry deck shelter in the Mediterranean Sea over a seven-week mission prior to the completion of its post shakedown availability. It joined a group of Virginia-class submarines for the mission.
Capt Douglas Gordon, US Navy, said, ‘The crew was very excited to be chosen to take the ship forward and conduct operations in support of fleet and combatant commanders’ operational objectives.
‘It was a rare opportunity for the crew to be able to deploy prior to executing its post shakedown availability. Many crew members had never deployed before and were able to experience first-hand the hard work and effort required in preparing a ship for deployed operations.
‘They trained hard and expertly executed our mission. I could not be more proud of their performance and the professionalism that they exhibited during our operations.’
Capt Jim Waters, commander, Submarine Squadron 4, said: ‘The timing within USS North Dakota’s schedule, along with its highly-trained and certified crew, made it the optimal choice to conduct this mission. The mission completed by North Dakota also demonstrated the promising and emerging technology of UUVs within the submarine force.'(Source: Shephard)
21 Jul 15. BCB International Ltd, have successfully delivered the first orders of a newly developed small VTOL UAV which weighs less than a typical large loaf of bread. In recent years, UK-based innovation powerhouse, BCB International, have developed a number of novel products which would not be out of place in a James Bond film including self-inflating body armour, ballistic protective underwear dubbed ‘Blast Boxers’ and non-lethal boat stopping systems. Earlier this year, the company commercialised its range of unmanned air systems which vary in sizes and can be deployed in confined spaces, maritime environments as well as in search and rescue operations. BCB International’s Managing Director, Andrew Howell, said: “Following successful trials and training in India as well as an unspecified European Country, the first deliveries of our SQ4 unmanned air system represent an important milestone for the company.
“The customers had quite different needs. One of the end users is a Police special surveillance team and the other a specialist military force. While the end use is different, both had similar evaluation trials in so far as the flight duration of 35 minutes and range at 2.4km were both rigorously tested and proven.”
BCB International also had to prove as part of the training package that the SQ4 was quick to launch and easy to operate. Weighing in at under 600 grams (battery included), the small, powerful and agile SQ4 falls into less rigorous regulatory controls than larger and heavier UAVs with comparable performance characteristics.”
22 Jul 15. Ultra Electronics Studies UAV Drop Options for Sonobuoys.
UK defence electronics firm Ultra Electronics is developing a new family of miniature passive sonobuoys that could be eventually deployed from unmanned aerial systems. The new, 12 inch-long “F” sized sonobuoys use the company’s new multi-static technology, which assesses data from other sonobuoys and other energy in the water to provide an increased probability of detection. The “F” size sonobouys retain the same standard sonobuoy diameter of 4.875 inches, but are two-thirds shorter than the 36 inch-long “A” active sonobuoys used by the US Navy on its P-8 Poseidon and P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, and around one-quarter shorter than the standard passive “G” class sonobuoys, which measure 16.5 inches.
The company believes these lighter sonobuoys could pave the way toward the development of a sonobuoy pod that could be fitted to a medium-sized UAV. Company li