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06 Mar 19. XQ-58A Valkyrie Demonstrator Completes Inaugural Flight. The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle completed its inaugural flight March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. The Air Force Research Laboratory partnered with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to develop the XQ-58A.
This joint effort falls within the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, which has the objective to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft. The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle, completed its inaugural flight March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. The Air Force Research Laboratory partnered with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to develop the XQ-58A.
The objectives of the LCAAT initiative include designing and building UAS faster by developing better design tools, and maturing and leveraging commercial manufacturing processes to reduce build time and cost. Developed for runway independence, the aircraft behaved as expected and completed 76 minutes of flight time. The time to first flight took a little over 2.5 years from contract award. The XQ-58A has a total of five planned test flights in two phases with objectives that include evaluating system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.
“XQ-58A is the first example of a class of UAV that is defined by low procurement and operating costs while providing game changing combat capability,” said Doug Szczublewski, AFRL’s XQ-58A Program Manager. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Air Force)
07 Mar 19. Turkish Bayraktar Tactical UAS to Begin Trials in Ukraine. The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 tactical unmanned aerial vehicle systems on supplies of which the Ukrainian and Turkish sides have previously agreed are already in Ukraine and their trials will begin soon, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.
“I can disclose the information that there will be the testing of the new powerful tactical unmanned aerial vehicle complex Bayraktar, which I was able to negotiate with the President of Turkey [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan]. I can even say that these complexes are already in Ukraine,”
Poroshenko said while opening a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in Kyiv on Wednesday. As reported, during an official visit to Turkey on November 4, 2018, Poroshenko visited the production facility of the Baykar Makina company, which is one of the world’s leaders in the manufacture of powerful unmanned aircraft systems.
On January 12, 2019, Ukrainian state-owned company Ukrspecexport and the Turkish company Baykar Makina signed an agreement on the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 drone systems for the Ukrainian army.
According to Poroshenko, the agreement between Ukrspecexport and Baykar Makina is part of measures to expand military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey and “fully complies with Ukraine’s strategic course” towards NATO and with its “standards and the open world arms market.”
“These newest tactical drones, in addition to high-tech characteristics, can also be equipped with modern high-precision missiles systems to destroy armored vehicles, engineering facilities and fortifications, as well as naval targets,” Poroshenko said on Facebook to comment on the signing of the contract. (Source: UAS VISION/Inter Fax- Ukraine)
05 Mar 19. USAF MQ-9 detachment in Poland becomes fully operational. The US Air Force (USAF) has achieved the full operational capability of the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) detachment at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland. The event was marked by a ceremony attended by US airmen from Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and the 118th Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard.
MQ-9 RPA detachment became fully operational at the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, which is assigned to the 52 FW. Developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), the MQ-9s have been operating out of Poland since May. The 52 FW operates the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft to promote regional security and stability.
The USAF completed the construction of several facilities, including secure processing centres, a large aircraft maintenance shelter, communications infrastructure and living dormitories for personnel assigned to the mission. Operating the aircraft from forward locations in Europe will enable the US to boost relationships with Nato allies and partners. In January, the USAF’s new Block 50 ground control station controlled an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time.
Designed to support surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the aircraft offers an endurance of more than 27 hours and can achieve speeds of 240k true airspeed. Powered by Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, MQ-9 has the ability to operate at an altitude of up to 50,000ft and can carry a payload of 3,850lb. GA-ASI has delivered the aircraft to the airforces of the US, UK, Italy, Spain and France. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
06 Mar 19. UAV Factory Supplies UAVs to National Armed Forces of Latvia. Latvian National Armed Forces will acquire unmanned aerial vehicles based on the agreement signed between the Ministry of Defense and the high technology company UAV FACTORY.
“Cooperation with local manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles is crucial for national defense capability development. The key criteria in the selection of unmanned aerial vehicle suppliers was supply security. In general, Latvian unmanned aerial vehicle companies can ensure the supply security in times of crisis, which is critical given the regional security challenges,” stresses the Ministry of Defense.
“We are truly proud to be supplier of our aircrafts and solutions to the Latvian Armed Forces. These capabilities will enhance the security for Latvia and our global allies,” says Konstantin Popiks, UAV Factory CEO. “Our team is dedicated to provide our customers with the end-to-end solutions they need to make critical decisions, regardless of the industry they operate.”
Delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles will enhance aerial surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the National Armed Forces, as well as reinforce indirect fire support control capabilities.
The unmanned aerial vehicles delivered to the Latvian army will also be used in search, rescue and other similar civilian operations.
UAV Factory meets the requirements of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Development Concept of the National Armed Forces. The agreement signed by parties envisage gradual expansion of the cooperation after the initial unmanned aerial vehicle delivery for testing.
About UAV Factory
UAV Factory is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturer of fixed wing composite small unmanned aircraft and subsystems for the under 55lbs class unmanned aircraft. Established in 2009, with offices in Latvia and the U.S., UAV Factory produces and supports unmanned systems and software technology providing modern solutions to current security challenges. To the date, UAV Factory systems have accumulated more than 6000 flight hours. Vertically integrated operations with in-house capability results in continuous and rapid technology innovation and product advancement. Product portfolio includes best-in-class tactical unmanned aircraft vehicles under 55 lbs., sub-systems, payloads, ground control stations, fuel injected engines, generators, catapults and other accessories. (Source: UAS VISION)
06 Mar 19. Kaman to Develop Next Generation K-MAX. Kaman Aerospace Group, a division of Kaman Corporation announced that it is developing the next generation K-MAX unmanned aircraft system that will allow operators to have the capability to fly either manned or unmanned missions. Kaman expects to offer unmanned system kits for new production and existing aircraft in 2020.
Concurrently, Kaman is exploring opportunities to support the U.S. Marine Corps in developing co-use versions of autonomous aerial technologies that will have both commercial and military applications.
“Whether the need is night-time aerial firefighting, resupplying troops in austere environments or delivering critical supplies in support of humanitarian missions, the next generation of the unmanned K-MAX will continue to demonstrate its unmatched readiness and efficiency no matter the requirement,” stated Roger Wassmuth, Senior Director Business Development, Air Vehicles & MRO Division.
The unmanned K-MAX has a proven record providing combat support while reducing the risks faced by our service men and women. In the 33 months the unmanned K-MAX supported the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan on combat resupply and logistical support missions, they moved over 1.5 million pounds of cargo to remote outposts. Typically operating at night, these unmanned missions replaced the equivalent of 900 convoy vehicles and eliminated 46,000 hours of exposure time to IED’s, direct fire and other threats to our troops on dangerous roads.
“We are excited to take the next step in advancing co-use unmanned capabilities for commercial operators while at the same time building on our history in supporting the U.S. Military,” stated Darlene Smith, VP & GM, Air Vehicles & MRO Division.
Development of the K-MAX was led by Kaman founder and former CEO, aviation pioneer Charles H. Kaman, and received Federal Aviation Administration certification in 1994. The single-engine, single-seat K-MAX is a rugged low-maintenance aircraft that features a counter-rotating rotor system and is optimized for external load operations and designed specifically for vertical reference flight. The aircraft can lift up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg)(Source: UAS VISION)
05 Mar 19. Chinese navy deploys new VTOL UAV. Training exercise held in late February in the South China Sea. An image released by Chinese media shows what appears to be a Sea Cavalry SD-40 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being deployed with the People’s Liberation’s Army Navy (PLAN): a development that suggests the platform is either being trialled by or has already entered service with the Chinese navy.
Published on 26 February on the PLA-sponsored China Military Online website, the image shows the hybrid fixed/rotary-wing platform operating from Luyang II (Type 052C)-class destroyer Lanzhou during a training exercise held in late February in the South China Sea.
The SD-40, which was developed by the Xiamen Han’s Eagle Aviation Technology Company, has a central fuselage with a bay for the sensor payload and a rear-mounted internal combustion engine for forward propulsion. It has twin booms, one either side, in which electric motors powering eight rotors are installed to provide vertical lift.
Possible payloads are electro-optic imaging sensors, communications relay equipment or a mini-synthetic aperture radar. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Mar 19. TAI’s Anka 2 to Make First Flight this Year. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) continues its efforts to meet the country’s demand for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems. The engine of Turkey’s new UAV ANKA-2, which will have a higher payload capacity than the current UAVs, delivered a successful performance during testing. The brand new ANKA-2 is expected to make its first flight this year.
Having previously developed the advanced Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) class unmanned aerial system, TAI introduced the ANKA Blok-B UAV, which has an endurance of more than 24 hours, a payload capacity of 200 kilograms and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet.
By benefiting from the capabilities of ANKA-B, TAI also developed ANKA-S that can be controlled via satellite and has a task range of thousands of kilometers and brought it into the country’s inventory.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) currently has eight ANKA-S’s in its inventory. At a previous defense industry committee meeting, the decision to provide 22 UAVs for the military was taken. Accordingly, 16 ANKA-S’s and six ANKA B’s will be delivered to the security forces. The timeframe for the delivery has not been disclosed.
TAI has launched the ANKA-2 project with its own resources to develop the new UAV with a higher payload capacity. The ANKA-2 is the twin-engine version of ANKA-S.
The mid-altitude, long endurance, double-engine ANKA-2 can conduct a range of missions such as real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). With a 25,000-feet altitude range and a 24-hour flight time, ANKA-2 can carry more than 700 kilograms in payload.
The engine used in the development process of ANKA-2 will be replaced by the PD170 turbo diesel aerospace engine developed by Turkish Engine Industries (TEI) and will operate with the ANKA-2 domestic engine. The PD170 engine successfully completed its first flight with ANKA in December 2018. In a statement to Anadolu Agency (AA), TAI General Manager Temel Kotil said their projects focus on meeting the needs of the allied countries, especially the TSK, with their engineering power and design capabilities, stressing that they have launched the ANKA-2 Project with their own resources with this approach.
“We have left behind an important stage in the project and ran ANKA-2’s engine two days ago. The first flight of our vehicle will take place within this year. We built the ANKA-2 on the ANKA platform,” Kotil said, stressing this is how TAI will operate from now on, by building another platform based on a platform.
Suggesting that in this approach, the first platform may have been time-consuming and costly, but that the second platform can be introduced in a much shorter time and at much more affordable costs, Kotil said they increased the payload capacity of ANKA, which has a capacity to carry 200 kilograms, to 700 kilograms at a low cost.
“Our ATAK-2 helicopter is based on the ATAK helicopter which was manufactured with a similar approach,” he continued. “We will continue to develop a much better second product based on the previous product, thus creating product families that can meet different needs.” (Source: UAS VISION/Daily Sabah)
03 Mar 19. Colombia and Spain to develop new UAV. The governments of Colombia and Spain signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in mid-February to jointly manufacture an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will be utilised by the armed forces of both nations by early in the next decade. The Colombian aerospace company Corporación de la Industria Aeronáutica Colombiana (CIAC) will partner with Airbus Defence and Space – Spain to manufacture a platform based on the Atlante tactical long-endurance fixed-wing multirole UAV, according to a 26 February statement by CIAC. Atlante has a length of 5.47m, a maximum take-off weight of 570 kg and a maximum speed of 200km/h. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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