14 Apr 16. Iran debuts Hamaseh unmanned aircraft. Iran has debuted a domestically developed and manufactured unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was first revealed in 2013, state media reported on 12 April.
The Hamaseh/Hamasseh (Epic) is taking part in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) ‘The Great Prophet’ military manoeuvres running from 12-14 April.
The Hamaseh is billed as a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) strike and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform. Despite being touted as a HALE UAV, images of the Hamaseh shows it to be more in either the tactical or medium-altitude, long-endurance classes.
The same images show what appears to be at least one underwing store, though this seems to be bolted to the wing rather than mounted on a conventional hardpoint. This would suggest that it is either a sensor of some description rather than a munition, or it is instead a mock-up. What appears to be a surface-search radar is mounted under the fuselage between the main landing gear, while a hump over the nose indicates provision for a satellite communications antenna. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Apr 16. USAF Global Strike Command Seeks Interceptor UAS. The US Air Force unit charged with guarding a nuclear arsenal is searching for mini-drones designed to electronically dogfight other mini-drones. A request for proposals released on 11 April by the Global Strike Command’s security forces directorate seeks a supplier for a small fleet of interceptor drones weighing less than 2.72kg (6lb) each. This counter-unmanned air system (UAS) force would be launched against small commercial drones sold in the USA, according to solicitation document.
The USAF envisions defeating small drones by disabling their communications equipment. The USAF drone would first detect signals commonly associated with commercial drones and wait for the all-clear from a ground operator. It would then attempt to broadcast a jamming signal over a narrow 60-degree arc up to a half-mile away.
The jammer should be able to disrupt at least four major communications frequencies – namely, 433MHz, 915MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. The USAF also would attempt to jam the drone’s navigation signal, targeting both GPS L1 and GLONASS L1 both separately and concurrently, the solicitation documents say.
Up to 38 anti-drone systems will be distributed across eight Global Strike Command bases, including Barksdale, Dyess, Ellsworth, FE Warren, Kirtland, Malmstrom, Minot and Whiteman, housing the USAF’s strategic bomber fleet and managing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The USAF expect the supplier to deliver all 38 systems within 90 days of contract award. (Source: UAS VISION/Flightglobal)
12 Apr 16. Unmanned plane for launching satellites goes to Phase 2. The Pentagon’s dream of cheap satellite launches using a reusable hypersonic aircraft that would get satellite payloads into the neighborhood of space before launching them is getting a little closer to reality.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Experimental Spaceplane, or XS-1, program is heading into Phase 2 of the development of an unmanned aircraft that could, researchers hope, fly up to 10 times in 10 days, delivering relatively small payloads into Low Earth Orbit.
With XS-1, the agency is hoping to significantly cut the costs of launching these types of satellites, a process that currently involves a lot of ground infrastructure, advance planning, large booster rockets and which can costs hundreds of millions of dollars. DARPA said one of its goals for the program is to get the costs for launches down to about $5m each.
The program’s plan calls for the XS-1 to reach suborbital altitudes at speeds fast enough to allow the use of a relatively small, inexpensive upper stage, DARPA said in arelease. After launch, the XS-1 would return to be prepared for the next day’s mission. Researchers said the program would start with representative payloads of 900 to 1,500 pounds, with