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31 Dec 19. Indonesia unveils prototype of indigenously developed strike-capable UAV. Indonesian state-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) has unveiled a prototype of an indigenously developed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The strike-capable UAV, which has been dubbed Elang Hitam (Black Eagle), was unveiled to the public on 30 December at PTDI’s facilities in Bandung. The platform is the product of an Indonesian consortium that includes state-owned electronics company PT Len, the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU), and the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space. The Elang Hitam is 8.65m long, 2.6m high, has a wingspan of 16m, and has incorporated several design aspects of China’s CH-4 UAV. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Dec 19. Arrival of second NATO Global Hawk to be followed by last three in 2020. NATO’s first RQ-4D Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft after it arrived in Sigonella, Sicily, on 21 November 2019. Source: NATO
The arrival of the second NATO Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) Global Hawk RQ-4D Block 40 remotely piloted aircraft on 19 December at the aircraft’s new main operating base in Sigonella, Sicily, is to be followed by the last three during the first half of 2020, leading to the declaration of an initial operational capability, according to NATO officials.
Final flight verification procedures for the first two RQ-4Ds are to start in early January. The first aircraft arrived on 21 November.
Noting that the unmanned aerial vehicles will operate from temporary hangars until the base’s permanent facilities are completed by July 2021, Volker Samanns, general manager of the NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA), told journalists during a press tour of the site on 17 December that NATO is “basically creating a small air force” at Sigonella in view of the extensive personnel and facilities needed to support the fleet.
Currently some 300 allied intelligence, technical, and maintenance personnel are posted to Sigonella. Once the site declares full operational capability by the end of 2021, there will be 600 personnel from 25 nations.
Declaring that the aircraft will be able to provide 24/7 coverage of two operations at the same time for up to a month, Brigadier General Philip Stewart, the AGS force commander, said NATO’s Global Hawk fleet was “even better” than the US Air Force’s version. “Our platforms are integrated with far more – and far more diverse – NATO assets and sources of intelligence, and we’ll be able to process our intelligence and get it to allied leaders within an hour,” he said on 17 December.
He and others said host country Italy played a crucial role in getting the US-manufactured platforms certified for safety in record time. Italian aviation authorities worked through some two million pages of documentation from Northrop Grumman, which builds the Global Hawk, and the US Air Force to orchestrate compliance with 638 criteria, requiring operational adjustments when on-board kit did not exactly fit the bill. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Dec 19. Saudi Arabian VTOL at the Dubai Air Show. A Saudi Arabian company unveiled a new vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle at the Dubai Air Show.
“There’s a huge gap for this in the market, but none of them in the world have the systems onboard that this aircraft has,” Anthony Gudgeon, airborne systems director of Intra Defense Technologies said in an interview. “It’s 100 percent locally indigenously developed.” Intra Defense specializes in developing UAVs.
The system has been in development for nearly two years and is now in production, he said. First flight occurred over the summer and is used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. The company also has a naval variant that can land on ships, which can be useful for fishery patrols, he noted.
“You can fold it up, put it into a box on the back of a military vehicle, drive it anywhere and fly it without having to have a runway,” he said.
The system unveiled at the show weighs 96 kilograms and can run for 12 hours, he said.
To successfully navigate in civilian airspaces, the platform has a traffic collision avoidance system, he noted.
“That’s part of what makes it very special,” he said. “We can fly the aircraft in civilian airspace without having to worry about air traffic control and regulations and that type of thing. It makes it much more versatile.”
The system is already under contract for civilian use and there is interest from potential military customers as well, he noted.
Additionally, a user can plug in multiple waypoints.
At this stage, the system will not be able to employ weapons payloads, he noted.
“You’d probably have to take it up to about 110, 115 kilograms to do that,” he said. “To move up even by 15 kilograms is a major redesign.” (Source: UAS VISION/National Defense)
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