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22 Jun 17. Elbit Systems says innovation key to crowded drone market. Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd (ESLT.TA), (ESLT.O) is moving quickly to innovate and maintain its edge in a global market in which it faces increasing competition from China, France, Turkey and others.
The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) maker’s vice president Elad Aharonson told Reuters his firm is adding new capabilities to its drones and boosting their data processing power to meet the needs of his Australian, Brazilian, South Korean, Indian and U.S customers. Elbit unveiled a new remotely-operated drone at the Paris Airshow, SkyStriker, described as a “long-loitering munition” that is designed to fly for hours while sending back live video and data and to also be guided onto a target to deliver explosives. The drone offers a “kill” function that allows an operator to abort the strike at the last minute.
New products like the SkyStriker UAV are an example of the constant need for innovation, said Aharonson, who also leads Elbit’s intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) division created in 2015.
The division allows Elbit to fuse drone data collection with data management and analysis.
Aharonson said customers need more than just hours of footage from flying drones. “A lot of data is collected on the desk of the officer, and he doesn’t know what to do with it,” Aharonson said.
In the U.S. military market the firms with the most annual sales are General Atomics, Northrop Grumman NOC.N. and Textron (TXT.N) according to analytics firm Govini, which tracks the public records of federal contracts. Currently, Elbit considers its main competition to be U.S. and Israeli firms, Aharonson said.
At the end of the first quarter, Elbit posted higher profits boosted by a rise in revenue. At the time, Chief Executive Bezhalel Machlis said he saw larger defenses spending “especially in the electronic defense sphere.” (Source: Reuters)
22 Jun 17. Paris Air Show: Additional payload requirement for MEUAS III. The NAVAIR and MEUSS III awards announced recently, which will enable Textron Systems to put itself forward for future UAS-based tasking orders, has been met positively by company officials.
On 14 June the company was selected to compete for Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS) III task orders from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
The company is eligible to compete for opportunities to provide contractor-owned, contractor-operated (Co-Co) operations with its Aerosonde UAS.
MEUAS III is a follow-on contract for UAS intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services supporting SOF operations at multiple international sites.
This includes planning, coordination, certification, installation, pre-deployment, deployment, logistics, maintenance, flying operations and post-deployment efforts.
Meanwhile on 8 June the company was one of four awarded a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for sea-and land-based UAS intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services in support of the Department of Defense and other US government agencies by US Naval Air Systems Command.
According to a statement from the Pentagon, the aggregate amount for all contracts over the next five years is $1.73bn, with the companies having an opportunity to compete for individual task orders.
Speaking to Shephard, David Phillips, VP of small and medium endurance UAS at Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, said that the award was similar to the contract previously awarded to the company, although additional requirements had evolved during this period.
‘The change is for more payload capability, with the [US] Navy putting this requirement into the proposal,’ he said, adding that the specific payloads were classified.