30 Sep 15. Mexico purchases Dominator UAS, Latin American state orders Hermes 900. Mexico has purchased the Dominator XP ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) gathering unmanned aerial system (UAS), while an unnamed Latin American state acquired a Hermes 900 platform, the Israeli makers of both systems announced recently. Aeronautics sold its largest UAS, the Dominator XP, to the Mexican government, which intends to use it for domestic security missions, the company announced on 29 September. The Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) aircraft completed “a series of maiden flights in Mexico”, Aeronautics added. The sale was facilitated by Mexican security company Balam. Based on a DA-42 twin star commercial plane, the Dominator XP offers long-range ISR flights, Aeronautics said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Sep 15. Northrop Grumman Corp has won a contract worth up to $3.2bn for continued development, modernization and maintenance of all U.S. Air Force variants of the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance plane, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. The umbrella contract will allow the Air Force to order parts and services as needed through Sept. 30, 2020, with all work to be completed by Sept. 30, 2025, the U.S. Defense Department said in its daily digest of major weapons contracts. Northrop builds several variants of the high-altitude surveillance drone for the U.S. Air Force, and a maritime surveillance version for the U.S. Navy. Company officials were not immediately available to comment about the contract award. A senior U.S. Air Force general this month said a new electro-optical sensor and other upgrades for the Global Hawk plane could cost as little as half the previous estimate of $4bn. It not immediately clear if the contract announced Wednesday would encompass those upgrades.
The Air Force hopes to carry out the upgrades to the Global Hawk before it retires its aging fleet of manned U-2 spy planes built by Lockheed Martin Corp. It says it cannot afford two high-altitude surveillance aircraft. The contract was awarded two years after the Air Force sought unsuccessfully to retire most of the Global Hawk planes, citing their high cost. U.S. lawmakers rebuffed that attempt, as well as the Air Force’s bid in last year’s budget to start retiring the U-2 fleet in fiscal 2017. Air Force officials said they opted for Global Hawk given sharp declines in its operating costs. (Source: Reuters)
29 Sep 15. Iran Unveils 500 Km Range Mohajem 92. The Iranian Air Force (IRIAF) has unveiled a new indigenous drone named “Mohajem (Attacker) 92” with a range of 500 kilometers. The drone was shown to the public in the Aerial Exhibition, which commenced last week. The Drone ‘Mohajem 92’ enjoys 6-hour flight endurance and is able to fly as fast as 200 kilometers per hour at the sea level. The drone has a weight of 80 kilograms and can carry out operations within a 100-km radius.
The version that has been displayed in Tehran is a reconnaissance drone, and is not a combat aircraft. However, it is possible that the military version would also be manufactured based on the Army’s needs.
The Islamic Republic is now in possession of a broad range of UAVs that can be used for both civilian and military purposes. Back in May 2014, the Iranian version of the US advanced RQ-170 drone was unveiled in a ceremony attended by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. The IRGC Aerospace Force manufactured the stealth drone through reverse engineering. A US made Lockheed Martin RQ-170 sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle was captured by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran on December 4, 2011. (Source: UAS VISION/Defense World)
28 Sep 15. MQ-9 Guardian Gets New Maritime Capability. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has introduced a new sonobuoy capability for its MQ-9 Guardian maritime unmanned air vehicle which, alongside a number of other developing technologies, could make it a contender