19 Aug 15. US Army, contractors to back up USAF UAV efforts. Key Points:
• The DoD plans to increase the number of UAV CAPs it flies over the next four years
• CAPs would be increased from 60 to 90 per day by 2019 in order to support increasing demand for ISR
The US Department of Defense (DoD) plans to increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) combat air patrols (CAPs) it flies over the next four years, a DoD spokesman said on 18 August.
US Army Lieutenant Colonel Joe Sowers said the Pentagon plans to increase CAPs in order to meet the increasing needs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in theatre. “The department plans to expand capability from 60 daily CAPS to up to about 90 CAPs by 2019,” Lt Col Sowers told IHS Jane’s .
The US Air Force (USAF) has warned that its MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper crews have been overburdened due to the high demand for their work. In order to alleviate the strain on the USAF, the army will conduct 10-20 CAPs, while Special Operations Command (SOCOM) flies about 10 and contractors fly another 10. Contractor-operated CAPs will be ISR-only, with “no legal force engagement”, according to Col Sowers.
He added that intelligence analysts are an important part of this ISR expansion. “As we grow our number of CAPs, we have to have the supporting backbone able to process the information and turn it into actionable intelligence,” he explained. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Aug 15. US Naval Research Lab’s Flying-Swimmer (Flimmer) UAV/UUV. NRL is merging two separate research areas — unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) — to significantly improve tactical availability of UUVs in time critical situations. Common across the services, autonomous vehicles are being seen as an effective projection of force, both above and below the water’s surface. Unlike an air-deployed Sonobuoy, ongoing research into novel bio-inspired UUV finned propulsion has potential benefits for autonomous motion beyond the insertion point. This combination of an airplane mode for UUV insertion is the thrust of the Flimmer program. UUV emplacement speeds are slow when long duration is required whereas UAV speeds are relatively fast and efficient. A flying emplacement is also not affected by high sea currents, opening the options for difficult-to-access areas. With NRL’s investigation into flapping pectoral fins for underwater propulsion, the question arises if these same fins can be used for aerodynamic control surfaces. The aero and hydrodynamics can be modeled similarly, making it possible to understand the optimization trade space for fin function in the two media. Initial experiments will equip the existing NRL swimming UUV with folding wings. The lessons learned will feed into a more optimized configuration, aided by CFD studies to rework specific fin issues such as handling landing loads. The project is developing flying UUV techniques and technologies for long-range air delivery of UUVs and investigating configurations for mixed-mode use of bio-inspired fins in both water and air environments. (Source: UAS VISION/US Naval Research Laboratory)
19 Aug 15. Israel to Supply Jordan with UAS to Fight Islamic State.
In its first arms sale to an Arab country, Israel has sold Jordan 12 advanced unmanned aerial vehicles of the Heron TP and Skylark types. They are urgently needed by the Jordanian Royal Air Force to beef up the counter-terrorism campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in which the Hashemite Kingdom is locked across its borders in Iraq and Syria. The Heron TP drone is an assault vehicle. Its speed is 370kph at an altitude of 7,400 km and it can stay aloft for 70 hours at a height of 14km. The Heron is needed for air strikes against Islamist targets deep inside Iraq or Syria and also as an effective weapon for halting enemy forces advancing on Jordan’s borders through the deep crevasses of the eastern Syrian Deir E-Zour region or from Iraq’