24 Sep 15. Sagem announces Egyptian UAV agreement. The French company Sagem announced on 24 September that it has signed a “commercial and industrial collaboration agreement” with the Egyptian company AOI-Aircraft Factory to “address the requirements of the Egyptian Ministry of Defence [MoD]” for Patroller unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Sagem did not specifically say that the Egyptian MoD has ordered Patrollers, but said the AOI-Aircraft Factory will provide “system support and commission” for UAVs as well as set up a “dedicated training centre in Egypt to train staff to for the operation and maintenance of Sagem’s drone systems”. It added that the Egyptian company “could handle final assembly of Patroller drone in its Egyptian plants”. Sagem describes the Patroller, which is based on the airframe of the Stemme S-15 motor-glider, as a versatile long-endurance tactical UAV system with an open, modular design and 250 kg payload that enables it to perform a broad spectrum of military and security missions. It is currently competing against the Thales Watchkeeper for the French MoD’s requirement for an advanced tactical UAV system. The AOI-Aircraft Factory is part of Egypt’s state-owned Arab Organisation for Industrialisation (AOI) and is probably best known for assembling CATIC K-8 jet trainers for the Egyptian Air Force. The AOI website says it also produces ASN-209 UAVs: a type developed by China’s Xi’an Aisheng Technology Group Company. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Sep 15. US Navy tests RQ-20A Puma UAS abroad USS Gonzalez. The US Navy has successfully tested an unmanned aircraft system aboard its guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) during a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX). The newly tested RQ-20A Puma (Block II) is the latest version of the all-environment unmanned aircraft models. The system is suitable for situations that require enhanced manoeuvrability, such as maritime interdiction and counter-piracy operations.
Ensign N Sanchez said, “When I first checked aboard USS Gonzalez I wasn’t expecting to get the opportunity to run the Puma project, but after working with the equipment and people, I realised its capabilities are innovative and resourceful.
“It augments what we are already capable of doing. It really aligns with the chief of naval operation’s mandate to ‘operate forward and be ready’.”
The system has the capability to operate in temperatures ranging from -20°F to 120°F, an inch of rain per hour, and wind speeds of 25k.
RQ-20A Puma, which weighs 13.5lb with a wingspan of just over 9ft, features smart batteries and waterproof body and will be capable of performing a variety of missions worldwide.
The UAS can be controlled by a two-person team locally, while it can also be remotely controlled from inside the ship.
After completing operations, the system can land on the ship’s deck in a net or in the ocean with follow-on retrieval by rigid-hull inflatable boat.
Commanding officer commander Stefan Walch said: “It has been exciting to field this technology in a robust environment such as the Composite Training Unit Exercise.
“We have learned a lot of lessons that will prepare us for deployed PUMA operations on destroyers.”
USS Gonzalez is participating in COMPTUEX with the Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group. (Source: naval-technology.com)
22 Sep 15. Marines get a closer look at Black Hornet micro drone.
The PD-100 Black Hornet has deployed with Marine Corps special operations teams, but the micro drone’s manufacturer sees potential for significantly wider use among conventional combat forces.
Created by Prox Dynamics, this handheld helicopter is a powerful surveillance tool that can be tough to detect. It was on display here Tuesday at the Modern Day Marine exposition.
James Mitchell, a Marine veteran representing Prox Dynamics, said the drone — which the company calls a “personal reconnaissance system” — can track enemy movements, investigate suspicious objects, and help troops