Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
28 Feb 20. Abrupt End to MQ-9 Purchase Surprises General Atomics. A General Atomics official said the company is surprised by the Air Force’s plan to stop buying new MQ-9 Reapers in fiscal 2020, after expecting to gradually wind down the production line.
Chris Pehrson, General Atomics’ vice president of strategic development, told Air Force Magazine he anticipated the service would phase out purchases of its iconic hunter-killer drone over the next three to five years as the Air Force approaches the planned end of the 363-aircraft program. Instead, USAF revealed in its fiscal 2021 budget request that it wants to buy its last 24 Reapers this year, cutting the total buy to 337 MQ-9s. Those final Block 5 aircraft will be delivered in 2023 and 2024.
“In response to direction in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which directs the services to accept near-term risk in exchange for long-term capability enhancements, the Air Force is shifting its investment towards improved readiness and increased lethality for operations against near-peer adversaries,” service spokesman Capt. Jake Bailey said Feb. 26.
In other words, the remotely piloted MQ-9 has helped the Pentagon gather intelligence and kill terrorists in airstrikes across the globe for about two decades, but it wouldn’t hold up against the advanced air-defense missiles and high-tech aircraft that countries like Russia and China own. Reapers have shaped modern warfare as an unmanned mainstay in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
The Air Force now wants to spend $302.5m from 2021 to 2023 to close the line, after previously planning to buy another 100 Reapers between 2019 and 2023. Inside Defense first reported the production line shutdown Feb. 11.
“The abrupt shutdown of the production line without a transition plan does jeopardize the [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] enterprise,” Pehrson said. “You’ll see impact eventually, when combat lines have to be reduced or … the assets aren’t there for training.”
Cutting production off now would complicate General Atomics’s procurement decisions for its final batch of MQ-9As and disrupt its revenue stream, even as it continues to upgrade the existing fleet.
“We’re actually going out about 22 months ahead of delivery and procuring the long-lead item parts, … whether it’s [satellite communication] equipment or engines, … to negotiate the best prices and get the best deals for the government,” Pehrson said. “Having the rug pulled out from under your feet at the last minute kind of disrupts all your supply chain investments that you’re making.”
Closing a production line also means the company has to repurpose its manufacturing space by moving heavy equipment and tools over the course of about 36 months. The decision would cause a bigger workforce rebalancing than normal, but the company says it wouldn’t be too difficult to spread people around to other products.
“If they stop production today, say, that’s going to have an immediate impact on … the composite manufacturing team, but as time moves on, that impact is going to ripple throughout the whole labor force,” he added. “We’ll have unemployment or a layoff situation in certain skill sets if we don’t find a way to fill this decreased demand immediately with some other new product or new capability.”
General Atomics also leases its services to operate aircraft, is participating in experimental small drone efforts, builds similar Gray Eagle drones for the Army, is pursuing unmanned aircraft for commercial cargo delivery and other civilian applications, and is investing its own money into more advanced combat designs.
“Think of them as a next-generation, what the MQ-9 does today, but it can do it in a less-permissive environment,” Pehrson said. “There aren’t any formal requirements yet. This is kind of building something in anticipation of what the requirements will be.”
He declined to say whether the company has built prototypes of those designs but indicated the ideas are newer than GA’s Avenger, which first flew in 2009.
While MQ-9s also fly unarmed border security missions for the Department of Homeland Security and participate in humanitarian assistance efforts like firefighting and disaster relief, those tasks may not be enough to keep the line open. General Atomics is pushing its MQ-9 customers to transition to the newer, more advanced MQ-9B as well, saying it’s less efficient to build multiple MQ-9 variants at once.
Pehrson is optimistic that Congress will step in to change the Air Force’s plan. Lawmakers have added money to buy more MQ-9s in the past, such as when they recently doubled the Air Force’s 2020 request by funding 12 extra aircraft.
“I think this was strictly a budget drill,” Pehrson said. “We’ve always kind of been in the [Overseas Contingency Operations] funding line and never really in the base, and demand for the platform is extremely high with the combatant commanders still.”
Pehrson believes the Reaper fleet will start aging out of service in the next five or six years. That will cause the Air Force to shrink the number of constant Reaper patrols and downsize the training pipeline, he said.
Bailey said the MQ-9 will still support commanders who need them, mainly in the Middle East and Africa.
“The MQ-9 will continue to fly for the foreseeable future—into 2030—while we look to invest in advanced technology to combat future threats and strengthen sensing grid capability,” he said. “MQ-9 operations wings will continue to support missions required of them.”
Bailey declined to answer how the plan could affect the Air Force’s vision of bringing MQ-9s to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in the 2020s.
Photo: An MQ-9 Reaper aircrew flies a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range on Jan. 14, 2020. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rio Rosado. (Source: UAS VISION/Air Force Magazine)
26 Feb 20. Marakeb Technologies and Fincantieri sign MoU at UMEX 2020 for unmanned technology collaboration. Marakeb Technologies, a leading autonomous technology provider, and Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to explore global collaboration opportunities in the field of autonomous technology. The agreement was signed by Basel Shuhaiber, Chief Executive Officer of Marakeb Technologies, and Giuseppe Giordo, General Manager of Fincantieri Naval Business at the 2020 Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
The agreement is intended to initiate a cross-evaluation of Fincantieri’s current automation solutions and Marakeb Technologies’ patented unmanned technology, as well as to jointly develop applications on various vessel types in Fincantieri’s portfolio.
The global partnership aspires to establish future commercial opportunities in regional and international markets, by uniting Marakeb’s proven track-record in the MENA region and Fincantieri’s strong interest in the integration of new technologies and in the expansion of its global footprint.
Basel Shuhaiber, CEO of Marakeb Technologies: “Marakeb Technologies aims to expand its capabilities in the field of autonomy through a strategic partnership with Fincantieri. Our collective strengths in the integration of unmanned technologies will enable us to create unique opportunities in the UAE and abroad”.
Giuseppe Giordo, General Manager of Fincantieri Naval Vessel Business Unit, stated: “This agreement strengthens our group in many respects. Indeed, together with Marakeb Technologies, not only will our positioning in the area be enhanced by a top-level partnership, but it will also give us the chance of exploring new opportunities. From an innovation standpoint, this agreement will also allow us to kick-start the development of cutting-edge solutions.” (Source: ESD Spotlight)
25 Feb 20. Dynautics to Showcase New Unmanned Marine Systems. Dynautics Ltd will be exhibiting a complete range of vessel automation products that provide the “Brains Behind Unmanned Missions”, at Oceanology International 2020 to be held on 17-19th March 2020 at ExCel Exhibition Centre, London, England. The Hampshire based company will be exhibiting at the world’s largest event for marine science and ocean technology with an eye-catching stand designed and built by leading exhibition company Quadrant2Design. The proliferation of the use of ‘drone’ boats across scientific, commercial survey and defence/commercial surveillance markets means that the Dynautics range of automation products are in high demand. Scientific research vessels, such as the climate monitoring undertaken by East Anglia University and AutoNaut ASV, uses Dynautics SPECTRE 2 navigation and control electronics.
Survey applications, used for mapping the seabed, such as EIVA, Hydromagic, Hypack and QPS are easily integrated with the Dynautics E-Boat SPECTRE which makes the collection of data faster, simpler and more cost-effective. Helping scientists understand the changing shape of the seabed.
The E-Boat SPECTRE is easily retrofittable to HR Wallingford’s ARC boat, Teledyne Z boat, SeaFloor Systems Hydrone or can be purchased in an integrated system from CEE HydroSystems, the CEE-USV.
The Defence and Commercial surveillance markets demand reliability and robustness and the SPECTRE MK4 retrofittable product is used by Navies across the globe. It is ideal for converting a boat from manned to unmanned operation.
Dynautics also have extensive ‘on and below water’ experience. This has allowed them to create a range of easily integrated modules to convert manned to unmanned vessels. Effectively adding the brains to create unmanned systems focused on allowing the user to complete their mission.
Make sure you don’t miss the boat when it comes to catching this exhibition in the latest in unmanned marine technology. You can see all of Dynautics’ marine systems at Oceanology International 2020, ExCel London from the 17 – 19 Mar 2020. “The Brains Behind Unmanned Missions” will be at stand P301.
25 Feb 20. USAF could procure and field Agility Prime eVTOL systems in three years. Key Points:
- The US Air Force’s Agility Prime eVTOL solicitation could field an aircraft in three years
- The core technologies of interest include emerging eVTOL and urban/advanced air mobility platforms aircraft
The US Air Force (USAF) will identify Agility Prime electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) opportunities for early adoption and potential procurement and fielding in the next three years.
The USAF on 25 February officially started the Agility Prime effort with the release of an innovative capabilities opening (ICO) and its first area of interest (AOI), both viewed by Jane’s . This solicitation will help the USAF assess the transformative vertical flight market and VTOL technologies. It seeks to establish a collaborative strategy with industry and investors that accelerates fielding of the most promising technologies for savings and utility to the service, as well as potential commercial market success. (Source: Jane’s)
25 Feb 20. Meet Garmousha: A new rotary-wing drone made in the UAE. A United Arab Emirates company has unveiled its first locally made vertical-takeoff-and-landing drone. The Garmousha drone, made by ADASI, a subsidiary of the government-owned conglomerate Edge, was on display at UMEX 2020, a conference dedicated to unmanned technology that took place Feb. 23-25.
Defense News asked Adasi CEO Ali Al Yafei about the system’s place in the Gulf’s UAV market as well as interested parties, but the executive provided little detail, saying: “Our main competitors are based in China, USA and Europe. Our client list is confidential.”
“We have received considerable interest from many prospective international clients, and are currently engaging with them. We are still at an early stage in the process. Any further announcements will be made in due course,” he added.
Aimed at further advancing air operations and enhancing performance, the new Garmousha drone is a light military aircraft designed to carry about 100-kilogram payloads. It reportedly has a 6-hour endurance, or 150 kilometers. It’s also equipped with a high-definition camera.
The drone can be used to detect gas pipeline leaks, survey infrastructure, and perform search-and-rescue operations. Its advanced capabilities are expected to reduce the overall cost of operations and allow militaries to save manned helicopters for critical missions.
The Garmousha can simultaneously carry a wide variety of payloads, including a stabilized electro-optical sensor for day and night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
“Drone technology is revolutionizing our world, creating safer and cheaper alternative to manned aircraft,” said Faisal Al Bannai, the CEO and managing director of Edge. “As an unmanned system, the launch of the sophisticated Garmousha drone helps advance ADASI’s vision for the future of defense, while strengthening the company’s position as the regional leader in autonomous systems and services.”
Al Yafei said the rotary-wing drone “can be modified according to our customer’s requirements. There is an additional option for a diesel engine, if requested. Additional advanced technologies can be integrated onto the system for either commercial or military use.” (Source: Defense News)
24 Feb 20. UMEX 2020: BGIX reveals further details about its Dragon JH-1 VTOL UAV. Chinese company BGJX has revealed further details about its Dragon JH-1 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Speaking to Jane’s at the 23-25 February UMEX defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, where the platform was displayed for the first time outside China, a company representative said that the Dragon JH-1 was being marketed as multi-role UAV for use in a variety of missions, including monitoring, surveillance, border patrol, and counter-insurgency operations. The UAV, which can fly at a top speed of 225 km/h and has a flight ceiling of 3,000 m, is stated to have an endurance of 3 hours. The platform, which weighs 550 kg, has a maximum payload of 180 kg and can carry different weapons, including bombs and a variety of laser and/or infrared-guided missiles, along with surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Feb 20. Integrator Extended Range Introduced at UMEX 2020. At UMEX 2020, Insitu-Boeing introduced Integrator Extended Range (Integrator ER), an enhanced version of the Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The Integrator ER is designed to perform a range of missions including maritime patrol, search-and-rescue (SAR), signal intelligence (SIGNIT), intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and target designation missions.
The Integrator Extended Range design has a 200-nautical mile radius with 10 hours on station, or 480km with six hours on station, according to Insitu-Boeing. It has a length of 2.5 m and its wingspan is 4.9m. It has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 65.8 kg.
The Integrator ER is fitted with SATCOM BLOS extending the flight distance potential from industry-standard, line-of-sight ranges of 50-70 nm to BLOS ranges of 200-300nm, delivering more than 10 hours of time on target at 200 nm and six hours at 300 nm. Eliminating line-of-sight restrictions grants users access to previously unreachable targets, supporting greater information collection and better decision making.
According to Insitu-Boeing, the Integrator ER allows users to save money by augmenting higher cost systems with a small UAS, which frees up the larger strike-capable unmanned assets to conduct more of the kinetic missions for which they were designed.
Additionally, Integrator ER will put more eyes and ears in dangerous environments globally, giving troops on the ground a common operating picture that heightens their awareness and brings them home safely. (Source: UAS VISION/Army Recognition)
24 Feb 20. TEROS Group 4/5 UAV Continues Flight Tests. Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation (NASC) has announced successful flight testing of the NASC TEROS Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Technology Demonstrator. The flight took place at the NASC Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Operations and Training Center at the Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY.
The TEROS UAV flew for approximately 1.5 hrs in both manual and autonomous flight profiles successfully testing the aircraft systems / avionics suite.
TEROS is a Group 4/5 Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV designed in collaboration with Sonex Aerospace of Oshkosh, WI. Its rugged, aerobatic design and flexible “Plug and Play Payload” capability enables the TEROS to carry multiple payloads up to 600 pounds at high altitudes for extended periods. TEROS was built to FAA Part 23 (structure and systems) and MIL F 83691 (flight characteristics) standards.
“Today’s successful flight is a huge step toward reaching our ultimate goal of TEROS approval for integration into the National Airspace.” said Richard Leverich, Senior Program Engineer, Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation.
The TEROS is undergoing preparation for follow-on envelope expansion flight testing. NASC and Sonex will continue to consider improvements to be integrated into the next production update. (Source: UAS VISION)
24 Feb 20. France’s DGA tests nEUROn in operational contexts. The French DGA has completed a new flight test campaign of the nEUROn stealth combat drone technology demonstrator. Carried out in cooperation with Dassault Aviation, the flight trials enabled the study the use of a stealth combat drone in an operational context, including defence tactics against such an aircraft. Supported by the Military Air Expertise Center and the Air Force Airborne Control Detection Squadron, the nEUROn demonstrator flew in multiple tactical configurations with five Rafale and an AWACS aircraft. The results of the trial are currently being analysed in depth by several DGA centers of expertise in order to inform architecture and technology decisions for the Future Air Combat System. (Source: Shephard)
24 Feb 20. USAF to issue Agility Prime eVTOL solicitation. The US Air Force (USAF) on 25 February will release its Agility Prime electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft solicitation, an attempt to influence a key future technology and avoid repeating previous Pentagon mistakes that allowed China to dominate the small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market. Will Roper, USAF assistant secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics (AT&L) told reporters at the Pentagon on 21 February that the service will have a challenge-style acquisition strategy. Companies will perform missions and, if they qualified, will move on to further opportunities on the path to being safety certified by the USAF and eventually a procurement contract. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Feb 20. USMC seeks medium- and long-range/endurance ISTAR UAVs. The US Marine Corps (USMC) is looking to field two new unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR), according to requests for information (RFI) issued on 21 February. The two separate RFIs posted by the Department of the Navy call for a medium-range/medium-endurance (MR/ME) and a long-range/long-endurance (LR/LE) UAS. The RFIs define MR/ME and LR/LE as 10km/2 h and 20km/4 h respectively.
In both cases, the Program Executive Officer, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation (PEO [U/W]), Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-263), is looking for a system that is capable of providing ISTAR services during day and night operations in all environmental conditions.
“The system should be rugged and ready to use as delivered with minimal logistic, training and support requirements. The system should provide real-time full motion video via electro-optical [EO] and/or infrared [IR] sensors. The air vehicles (AV) should be capable of autonomous or a safe manual launch with a minimum of support equipment from a small confined area, and should be capable of either a manual or an autonomous recovery within the same area as launch. The recovery method should be adequate to prevent system damage and allow for short turn-around times between missions. The ground control station (GCS) should be man-portable and consist of the necessary equipment to monitor the sensor(s) position and status, control its movement, and view its video”, the RFIs stated.
Both the medium- and long-range AVs should be capable of short-field operations and/or vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), and be battery-powered. The smaller medium-range AV should have a take-off weight of less than 20lb (9.07kg), while the long-range system should be less than 55lb (24.95kg). (Source: Jane’s)
24 Feb 20. First UAE-Made VTOL Drone ‘Garmousha’ Unveiled. ADASI has launched the first UAE-made high-performance “Garmousha” vertical take-off and landing drone, in an agreement with the General Headquarters of the UAE Armed Forces.
H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, unveiled the new unmanned system at the EDGE stand, UMEX 2020, currently underway at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until 25th February.
Aimed at further advancing air operations and enhancing performance, the new Garmousha drone is a light military unmanned aircraft designed to carry payloads of approximately 100kg, with an endurance of six hours and 150km. A new platform offering greater endurance, higher payload, an integrated high-definition camera and coverage of a larger surface area, the helicopter provides optimal operational flexibility, allowing militaries to save manned helicopters for critical missions.
The Garmousha drone can also be used to detect gas pipeline leaks, to survey infrastructure, and in search and rescue operations. Its advanced capabilities are expected to reduce its overall cost of operations.
Commenting on the drones, Faisal Al Bannai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, EDGE, said, “Drone technology is revolutionising our world, creating a safer and cheaper alternative to manned aircraft. As an unmanned system, the launch of the sophisticated Garmousha drone helps advance ADASI’s vision for the future of defence, while strengthening the company’s position as the regional leader in autonomous systems and services.”
Regarding its place in the market, Ali Al Yafei, CEO of ADASI, said, “The Garmousha drone is designed to be extremely competitive in the market and will enable us to offer our clients the accuracy required to stay on the leading edge of tomorrow. At ADASI, we are continuously adapting to meet our customers’ needs, and this product underpins our concerted efforts to identify a gap in the market, and act on it.”
The drone can simultaneously carry a wide variety of payloads, including a stabilised electro-optical sensor for day and night ISR collection. With a low-consumption diesel engine, its unmanned navigation and concurrent sensor capabilities, it is a versatile system capable of solving some of the most difficult challenges in rugged environments.
ADASI is the official Strategic Partner of UMEX 2020, and is part of the Platforms and Systems cluster within EDGE, an advanced technology group for defence and beyond, which was inaugurated in November 2019. (Source: UAS VISION)
24 Feb 20. Portugal Adds VTOL UAS to Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Portuguese Navy is introducing a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial system (UAS) operating capability to its Viana do Castelo-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), the service has told Jane’s. The four OPVs are operated by the navy’s Surface Ships Squadron in a wide range of roles over the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and frequently as part of multinational operations.
Initial trials with a SPYRO 4N VTOL UAS hosting an electro-optical/infrared payload were carried out from NRP Sines during a deployment to the Gulf of Guinea in late 2019. The UAS, which is designated by the navy as the Açor class, was provided by UAVision as part of a joint agreement.
During the trials, take-off and landing operations were carried out from the flight deck by an external pilot with a portable C2 terminal; however, the navy is looking to add this capability to the new C3 package that has been installed in the bridge for UAS automatic take-off and landing.
The UAS C3 package was supplied by UAVision under a contract awarded on 24 October 2019. It is based on the company’s G2000 ground control station and mainly consists of servers and four large rugged monitors located in the ship’s bridge, software for telemetry, planning, flight control and payload operation, and the StormCOMM long-range IP datalink. (Source: UAS VISION/Jane’s)
24 Feb 20. UMEX 2020: UAVOS to perform search and rescue maritime demo with ISR350-5 UAV. UAVOS and partner ISR Unmanned Technology will perform a maritime search and rescue demonstration with their jointly-developed ISR350-5 unmanned helicopter at the UMEX 2020 trade show, which runs from 23-25 February in Abu Dhabi.
UAVOS told Jane’s on 20 February ahead of the show that the ISR350-5 will perform rescue tasks that are designed to demonstrate the advantages of using an unmanned helicopter for maritime patrolling, especially when carrying multiple sensors on a single aircraft. This search and rescue demonstration will involve recovering a modified lifejacket fitted with a water anchor. This lifejacket will be in a special container fixed by a loop of soft parachute line in the release lock. The flight will be controlled by two operators. The payload operator, controlling via video link, will determine the moment to drop the lifejacket. The ISR350-5 flight can be fully automatic as in it can takeoff, fly along a route, and land autonomously. However, the operator can correct the route in the process.
The ISR350-5 will be integrated with a gyro-stabilised two-axis gimbal for day and night surveillance with a laser range finder. The aircraft also uses a portable ground control station (PGCS) based on a console with controls and a docking interface for a military-rugged Getac X500 laptop computer. This is for command, control (C2), and payload management. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Feb 20. Naval Group presents critical system to coordinate deployment of autonomous vehicles. Naval Group, Europe’s leading naval defence company, presents its solution to address compelling information modern warfare trends at the opening of today’s Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX) in Abu Dhabi. Set in the context of emerging threats including the use of mines, piracy and cyber-attacks, Naval Group has developed a range of sophisticated solutions to operate unmanned vehicles and protect warships systems to enhance the defence of sovereign interests. Unmanned systems offer many advantages, mitigating risks to personnel and enhancing the effectiveness of conventional defence resources. Naval Group solutions can integrate all types of autonomous vehicles for deployment above and underwater, exploiting their payload to the benefit of the tactical situation whatever the sea conditions. The I4®Drones Mission system is a drone-agnostic solution enabling simultaneous operation above and underwater, and exploitation of multiple drones.
Jean-Luc Thouvenel, Regional Director of Naval Group, said: “Modern-day trends are well documented in the Middle East and its surrounding waters. We are proud to take part at this event in Abu Dhabi to further our collaboration with the UAE.”
Naval Group has undertaken many years of careful research and development with the French and partner navies to best understand how the deployment of autonomous vehicles can play an effective role in enhancing capabilities of the ship and security of the crew.
At UMEX, Naval Group demonstrates its technologically advanced know-how with the integration of unmanned systems in different environments, showing its ability to equip surface vessels and submarines with air, surface and submarine drones.
This technological progress constitutes a new potential for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Due to the complexity of combat systems and the multiplicity of sensors and interfaces, unmanned systems integrations require specific expertise based on the technical knowledge of operational issues and the practical experience derived from naval missions.
21 Feb 20. CIAC displays UAV Tarsis 25 to potential Colombian military clients. The Colombian aerospace company Corporación de la Industria Aeronáutica Colombiana (CIAC) showcased the Tarsis 25 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to Colombian defence and security officers on 14 February.
Delegations from the Colombian Army’s air assault division, the special operations aviation battalion, the army’s 32nd Brigade, the Colombian navy’s UAV unit, in addition to representatives from the Colombian police, were in attendance. The demonstration was carried out at air base Tolemaida.
CIAC is partnering with the platform’s designer AERTEC, a multinational engineering firm headquartered in Spain, to sell the Tarsis 25 to Colombian clients.
The UAV flew for 30 minutes and reached a distance of 10 km, according to an 18 February press release by CIAC. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Feb 20. FirePoint selects six teams for C3 Challenge to build US Army’s UAV. The selected teams will work with Army Futures Command and aerospace companies to build working UAV prototype. Credit: AgriLife Today. The FirePoint Innovations Center at Wichita State University has announced the selection of six teams for C3 Challenge to build the US Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The move comes in response to FirePoint’s opening of registration last September for the challenge, inviting university students from around the US to submit their designs for the army’s future UAVs intended for next-generation combat and defence.
Sponsored by the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center (CCDC AvMC), FirePoint C3 Challenge is supported by Dassault Systemes and America Makes.
As part of the C3 Challenge, the teams will get an opportunity to work with Army Futures Command and aerospace companies to build working UAV prototype.
These selected teams will compete for up to $35,000 in funding and move forward to the next phase of the competition.
Initially, they will create a statement of work for their project, and then move on to proof of concept, prior to demonstrating their innovations to the US Department of Defense (DOD).
To ensure teams have the resources to develop proof of concepts, each of them will get up to $10,000 for project development. (Source: army-technology.com)
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.