Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
07 Sep 18. BlueBird’s Dual-Hybrid (VTOL) Version of the ThunderB. BlueBird Aero Systems recently revealed a new VTOL Capability of its long range, long endurance ThunderB tactical UAS (~30Kg, 4m wing-span), only 2 months after exposing an exceptional Cargo Release Capability of the ThunderB UAV at Eurosatory 2018. The new dual-hybrid ThunderB VTOL is capable of taking-off vertically from a very small ground clearing or a small marine vessel by using its quad vertical electrical motors, transition to a level flight powered by its long endurance horizontal fuel-injection engine, and transitioning back to a precise, vertical landing after completing its operational mission while requiring much smaller logistical footprint than required using standard launch and recovery system. This VTOL capability is achieved by adding a VTOL kit comprising of two booms, with four vertical electrical motors, connected under the ThunderB’s wings, similar to the way the ThunderB carries its releasable cargo capsules. The ThunderB VTOL combines the advantages of a fixed wing UAV (long endurance, high speed, Strong wind penetration, large area coverage, ability to glide in case of emergency), with the advantages of a multi-rotor (ability to takeoff / land in confined areas, ease of transport).
With the VTOL capabilities, and its unprecedented combination of long range (150Km), long endurance (12 hours in VTOL configuration), advanced Full-HD real-time video image and its ability to operate in Com-Jam and GPS denied environments, the ThunderB VTOL can take the lead in tactical land and maritime operations, where takeoff / land areas are limited, like on a ship in mid-sea, on an oil rig or in a small forest clearance, for military, HLS, protecting exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and economical waters as well as civilian applications.
According to Ronen Nadir, CEO of BlueBird Aero systems, “The new VTOL capability frees the ThunderB UAS from take-off and landing space limitations, paving the way for ThunderB utilization by users who require precise point take-off and landing, together with the advanced operational capabilities already delivered by our field-proven system”. He added “We are happy again to lead the way, be in the forefront of the technology, applying solutions as a result of lessons learnt from operational needs required by our operational customers. BlueBird will continue to be responsive to our customer’s needs and supply them with cutting edge solutions to meet their challenges”. (Source: UAS VISION)
04 Sep 18. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the world’s leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, today announced the further expansion of Team Reaper Australia. Sentient Vision Systems, Team Reaper Australia’s newest member, is the only Australian provider of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) solutions that has been an integral part of every Australian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program to date. The inclusion of Sentient Vision further reinforces Team Reaper Australia as the only viable solution to meet the Project Air 7003 requirement, which now consists of ten Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities.
“General Atomics recognizes the importance of having a robust team of Australian industry partners to support the Air 7003 requirements,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “We continue to be committed to partnerships with Australian industry and to providing a capable, affordable RPA system to the Australian Defence Force.”
“Sentient is proud of our close collaboration with the Australian Government. From our foundations of the Defence Science and Technology Group’s Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) program, to our proud history of deployments in support of the Australian warfighter, Sentient sees the inclusion of our ViDAR wide area motion imagery payload as a part of Team Reaper Australia in support of the Air 7003 requirement as a reinforcement of Australian leadership in advanced autonomy,” said Simon Olsen, director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships at Sentient Vision Systems.
Team Reaper Australia, originally consisting of Cobham, CAE Australia, Raytheon, and Flight Data Systems, was first announced at the Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition (AVALON 2017) by Linden Blue and Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston, AK, DFC of Defence South Australia. Since Avalon 2017, Team Reaper Australia has expanded to ten companies, and now includes Cobham Australia, CAE Australia, Raytheon Australia, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics Australia, Airspeed, Quickstep Holdings Ltd and Sentient Vision Systems. Project Air 7003 will provide the Australian Defence Force with an Armed MALE RPA system that will include aircraft and Ground Control Stations (GCS) that will be fully inter-operable with Australia’s allies.(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
04 Sep 18. Innovators to work on next gen UAS tech. Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne has overseen the signing of two Defence Innovation Hub contracts to further develop unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities.
“The $2.1m contract signed with UAV Vision will allow the company to develop a lightweight, compact micro gimbal with several integrated systems to enhance performance and accuracy,” Minister Pyne said.
The Defence Innovation Hub partners with innovators to provide funding so that technologies can be matured in a collaborative way that supports Defence capability needs.
Minister Pyne said it was essential that Defence, as Australia’s largest and most experienced UAS operator, remained at the cutting edge of a capability that offers superior surveillance, intelligence and force protection.
“Textron Systems Australia signed a $283,000 contract to develop a small UAS including communications system, sensors and ground control systems,” Minister Pyne explained.
Brigadier Scott Benbow, Director General Aviation in Defence, said both innovators attended a demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area to see current UAS capability in action and speak with operators.
“These innovators are working on an exciting and important capability, key to modernising our Army and enhancing the capabilities of Australian soldiers on the battlefield,” BRIG Benbow said.
Industry and research organisations can submit innovation proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal at: www.business.gov.au/cdic. (Source: Defence Connect)
The British Robotics Seed Fund is the first SEIS-qualifying investment fund specialising in UK-based robotics businesses. The focus of the fund is to deliver superior returns to investors by making targeted investments in a mixed basket of the most innovative and disruptive businesses that are exploiting the new generation of robotics technologies in defence and other sector applications.
Automation and robotisation are beginning to drive significant productivity improvements in the global economy heralding a new industrial revolution. The fund allows investors to benefit from this exciting opportunity, whilst also delivering the extremely attractive tax reliefs offered by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). For many private investors, the amount of specialist knowledge required to assess investments in robotics is not practical and hence investing through a fund structure makes good sense.
The fund appoints expert mentors to work with each investee company to further maximise the chance of success for investors. Further details are available on request.