10 Jun 16. India Asks US for Predator C. Reliable sources told India Strategic that the Predator C requirement has been mentioned at a very high level during the current visit of the Indian Prime Minister. Now that India is getting into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), President Barack Obama will ask the State and Defense Departments to consider the Indian request. Predator C is made by General Atomics Aeronautical System Inc. (GA-ASI), which has already offered an unarmed version, Predator XP, to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy for reconnaissance purposes. The number of drones required by India is not known but the UCAV, also known as Avenger, will be operated by the Indian Air Force which in any case is also short of manned combat jets. In the troubled terror-infested environment around India, a combination of manned and unmanned precision strike aircraft and systems are an immediate necessity. IAF had in fact asked the Indian Ministry of Defence for strike drones – or UCAVs – at least six or seven years ago. Avenger is a further development of MQ 9 Reaper, which is extensively used by the US CIA to neutralise terrorists with precision strikes and minimum possible collateral damage. Avenger has a turboprop engine, some stealth features, a highly sophisticated Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for reconnaissance and targeting, and can carry air to ground missiles like the Hellfire. It can be controlled from anywhere in the world through satellite connectivity. Notably, although a strike drone like the Predator C has no onboard pilot, its operation requires a couple of people at the control station to monitor the target area, and then to command the machine to shoot after due verifications. The control pilot can also do instant Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) to ensure the success of the mission. (Source: UAS VISION/ India Strategic)
06 Jun 16. Bluefin’s SandShark a new breed of small, versatile underwater drones. The skies are slowing being dominated by drones of all sizes being used by industries, consumers and militaries around the world. We could see the same thing under the sea within the next decade or so as well. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has noted the military plans to invest $600m in unmanned undersea technologies within the next five years, and while much of the talk surrounding UUVs has focused on large platforms such as the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle and others that can perform mine countermeasures, conduct intelligence, surveillance an reconnaissance and handle communications, smaller tactical platforms could be a boon to Naval capabilities across a complicated domain.
One example is the SandShark, an autonomous UUV weighing less than 15 pounds that was developed by General Dynamics subsidiary Bluefin Robotics. The notion of low-cost and expendable UUV platforms not only opens several capability doors for both conventional and Special Operations Forces, but it fits neatly within the military’s Third Offset Strategy.
A tactical vehicle such as SandShark fits in with a Navy/Special Ops trend, where it’s less about programs and more about taking products and capabilities and integrating them in unique ways, Tracy Howard, senior manager at General Dynamics Mission Systems, told Defense Systems.
SandShark “could be used for any one of the sort of normal undersea mission sets that you might find in the U.S. Navy,” as well as with several additional missions, Rand LeBouvier of Bluefin business development Autonomous Undersea Vehicles, told Defense Systems. These could include intelligence missions, small-scale survey missions recovering data, communications relays, conducting training, or functioning as a decoy. LeBouvier said these tactical systems can also perform swarming missions, a concept that the Office of Naval Research has demonstrated both on the surface of the water and in the air. “Having large numbers of various types of vehicles that form de facto arrays that can d