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07 May 20. Elbit Systems Introduces a UAS-Based Long-Range Maritime Rescue Capability. Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol UAS equipped with the new rescue capability was recently delivered to a customer in South-East Asia. Elbit Systems introduces a unique life saving capability to its Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Integrating detection and identification capabilities, onboard inflated life-rafts, and precision dispatch capability, enables the UAS to perform long-range maritime Search and Rescue (SaR) missions. Such a configured Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol UAS was recently delivered to an undisclosed customer in South-East Asia.
Adverse weather conditions and short endurance significantly degrade the SaR capabilities of manned aircraft, often preventing them from executing their missions. Capable of more than 24 hours of continuous flight, the Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol can operate in adverse weather conditions in both day and night. Equipped with the new SaR capability the UAS can increase the number of SaR missions that can be safely executed and improve the safety and effectiveness of maritime SaR response.
The Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol can carry up to four, six-person life-rafts that are integrated on its wings. Using an onboard maritime radar the UAS detects survivor situations. Upon detection the UAS’ Electro-Optic/Infra-Red (EO/IR) payload is deployed to provide visual identification, and a rapid calculation of the drop-point is performed, enabling the UAS to dispatch life rafts from a low-altitude of 600ft to a pin-pointed location at a safe distance from the survivors. A gradual inflation process of the life-rafts is initiated after dispatch and is completed upon landing.
The Hermes 900 Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAS is operational with Israeli Air Force since 2015 and was selected by numerous customers including Switzerland, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, the EU and the UN, and countries in South-East Asia.
06 May 20. Saudi Arabia Launches Local UAS Manufacture. The Saudi General Authority of Military Industries (GAMI) is coordinating with the INTRA Defense Technologies to manufacture unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The project, worth SR750m ($195m), is expected to generate around 500 jobs, 70 percent of which will be occupied by Saudis. The country is procuring six unmanned systems for delivery in 2021, and a further 40 systems within five years.
The Authority aims to build an innovative technological base regionally and internationally to ensure maintenance, manufacture, and localization of unmanned aircraft systems.
INTRA, a Saudi company licensed by GAMI, will secure a number of categories of advanced and unmanned aircraft systems in tasks that are highly competitive in terms of technology and cost.
The type of UAV was not disclosed, but Intra advertises the Karayel tactical UAV, developed by Turkey’s Vestel, and the Asef VTOL UAV, which was launched at the Dubai Airshow in 2019. Jane’s notes that a Karayel was lost over Yemen’s Al-Hudaydah in late December after being shot down by a surface-to-air missile near the port of Al-Salif.
The Karayel has an endurance of 20 hours at 18,000 ft (5,486 m) and a cruise speed of 60-80 kt. Maximum payloads for the platform are 70 kg under the fuselage and 60 kg per wing across a total of four hardpoints. The platform’s datalink range is 200 km from the GCS. The platform shown at the Dubai Airshow was armed with Roketsan MAM-L and MAM-C munitions.
The platform was also shown with a Hensoldt Argos II EO/IR pod to provide day-and-night surveillance capabilities. Intra signed an agreement with Hensoldt South Africa’s Optronics division to develop an electro-optical payload for UAVs in Saudi Arabia ahead of the 2019 Dubai Airshow as part of efforts to improve self-sufficiency in the unmanned aerial vehicle domain.
Intra representatives told Jane’s at the Dubai Airshow last year that the company was primarily orienting its marketing efforts for the Karayel towards the Saudi military, and potentially exporting the platform to Brazil and Kuwait.
GAMI Governor, Eng. Ahmed al-Ohali, said that the project for the maintenance, manufacture, and localization of unmanned aircraft systems reflects the general strategy of the authority.
The project also aims to achieve the strategic goal of the Kingdom of localizing over 50 percent of its military spending by 2030.
Ohali added that the Authority seeks to enable the sector of military industries in Saudi Arabia to become a major tributary of its economy and a major contributor to providing employment opportunities for Saudi youth.
INTRA Defence Technologies is a private high-tech company which designs, develops, manufacture, and fully supports innovative Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), as well as all related sub-systems, which are ITAR-free, to customer and partners around the globe. (Source: UAS VISION/ Janes; Arab News; Asharq Al-Awsat)
06 May 20. Israel signs deal to lease drones to Greece for border defence. Israel said it will lease drones to Greece to defend its borders, in the first military deal between the two countries which includes an option to buy the system.
The Israeli Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that the agreement with the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence was signed digitally due to the coronavirus crisis.
Under the deal, Israel’s Defence Ministry will lease the Heron unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system, made by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries [ISRAI.UL] for three years.
The Heron system, which is used by Israel’s military and in naval forces around the world, is equipped with both day and night activity platforms, maritime patrol radars and satellite communications.
It will be used by Greece primarily for border defence, the Israeli ministry said in a statement, adding that security relations between Israel and Greece were expanding.
“We hope to sign additional agreements with Greece as well as other European partners, assisting them in addressing security challenges – in times of the corona pandemic and beyond,” Yair Kulas, head of the Israel’s International Defence Cooperation Directorate, said. (Source: Reuters)
05 May 20. RAAF and Boeing Roll Out First Loyal Wingman Aircraft. The first military aircraft to be designed and built in Australia in more than 50 years has been rolled out as part of a partnership between the Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing Australia.
The Morrison Government has invested up to $40m in the Boeing Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program, alongside Boeing’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new capability would help protect and support Australia’s most valuable Defence aircraft, and the pilots who fly them: “We’re investing to enhance the agility and capability of the Australian Defence Force so we can protect our nation and our allies. It means Australia can sharpen its edge and prepare for the future,” the Prime Minister said. “Our investment also highlights our Government’s commitment to growing and developing our local defence industry, creating jobs and boosting our global export potential. The Loyal Wingman program has helped support around 100 high tech jobs in Australia. Such projects will be critical to bolster growth and support jobs as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Loyal Wingman will have a range of more than 3,700 kilometres, enabling Defence to better understand how these types of aircraft can be used as a force-multiplier, helping to project power forward while keeping manned capabilities out of harm’s way.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds CSC said the partnership allowed Defence to bring innovation to Australia in an exciting, future-focused technology space. “The program will examine how autonomous unmanned aircraft can support existing manned aircraft, such as our Joint Strike Fighters, Super Hornets and Growlers,” Minister Reynolds said. “This is Australian ingenuity at its finest, and presents Australia and our allies with opportunities for critical capabilities to fight emerging global threat systems.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the program was welcome news for Australia’s defence industry, particularly suppliers from small businesses.
“This is a truly historic moment for our country. It’s the first time that Australian industry are locally designing, developing and manufacturing an aircraft of this type,” Minister Price said. “This demonstrates the importance of the relationship that Defence has with companies like Boeing, and defence industry more broadly, and provides a fantastic example of the innovation we can achieve together.”
The first aircraft is scheduled to commence ground trials soon. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Australian Department of Defence)
05 May 20. Boeing Rolls Out First Loyal Wingman Unmanned Aircraft. A Boeing [NYSE:BA]-led Australian industry team has presented the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force, a historic milestone for the company and the Commonwealth.
The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms, is the first to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years. It is Boeing’s largest investment in an unmanned aircraft outside of the United States.
As the first of three prototypes for Australia’s Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program, the aircraft also serves as the foundation for the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) being developed for the global defense market.
“This is a truly historic moment for our country and for Australian defence innovation,” said the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia. “The Loyal Wingman will be pivotal to exploring the critical capabilities our Air Force needs to protect our nation and its allies into the future.”
Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force, said the rollout of the first aircraft was a significant milestone in the Boeing Loyal Wingman project.
“This project is an excellent example of innovation through collaboration and what can be achieved working together with defence industry,” said Air Marshal Hupfeld. “This demonstrates the importance of the relationship Air Force has with Boeing Australia and defence industry more broadly. I look forward to exploring the capabilities this aircraft may bring to our existing fleet in the future.”
More than 35 members of Australian industry are supporting prototype work across four Australian states. With a global market demand for highly capable but extremely affordable unmanned aircraft, Boeing applied company-wide innovation to achieve those goals. The aircraft was engineered using a digital twin to model its structures, systems, capabilities and full life-cycle requirements; manufactured with Boeing’s largest-ever resin-infused single composite piece; and assembled using proven advanced manufacturing processes.
“We are proud to take this significant step forward with the Royal Australian Air Force and show the potential for smart unmanned teaming to serve as a force multiplier,” said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Systems for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We look forward to getting the aircraft into flight testing and proving out the unmanned teaming concept. We see global allies with those same mission needs, which is why this program is so important to advancing the development of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.”
The Loyal Wingman prototype now moves into ground testing, followed by taxi and first flight later this year.
05 May 20. Here’s the DARPA project it says could pull the Navy a decade forward in unmanned technology. A project inside the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has the potential to pull the Navy’s unmanned surface vessel aspirations forward a decade, a senior DARPA official said Wednesday at the annual C4ISR Conference.
DARPA’s effort to develop a ship designed from the keel up to operate without humans, known as “NOMARS” for “no mariners,” is a separate effort from the Navy’s quest to develop a family of large and medium unmanned surface vessels. But the benefits of that program, if successful, could be a giant leap forward for the concept the Navy is developing, said Mike Leahy, who heads the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA.
The Navy “will only be able to go so far with where the technology has matured,” Leahy said.
“What we’re able to do is link to that group [developing USVs for the Navy], get information about what missions they are trying to accomplish, the sizing and other constraints, feed that into NOMARS project so that we can take the same class of ship – looking at the same ideas in terms of a hull form – and when we are successful we can dump that right into their tranche and pull that forward a decade from where it might have been on a traditional path.”
The Navy and DARPA have been closely linked in efforts to develop unmanned platforms but DARPA’s NOMARs will remain an independent effort, Leahy said.
The Navy has “been involved in the source selection, they’re involved in the testing we’re doing, so that we can make sure that information is flowing,” Leahy said. “But we will reserve the right to take risks that may not be in the direction they want to go. Because sometimes learning what does not work is even more valuable than what does.
“The physics is going to tell you what you need to know, and you can’t cheat it.”
Maintaining separate lines of effort is important because DARPA has the freedom to fail whereas failure in an acquisition program has higher stakes, he said,
“NOMARS is going and looking at ‘Can I take people completely off ships,’” he explained. “That’s a risky endeavor. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that. We don’t know if that’s going to pan out. You would not want to link an acquisition program directly to that.”
The Navy is currently pursuing both a large and medium unmanned surface vessel that can perform missions for the surface Navy as a means of increasing aggregate naval power without wrapping a $2bn hull around 96 missile tubes, as Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday has said publicly, referencing the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
A recent study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said the Navy was barking up the wrong tree in its pursuit of an optionally manned large unmanned surface vessel, saying it should instead pursue an “optionally unmanned” corvette that could perform the normal range of peacetime surface Navy missions and perhaps be used as an unmanned external missile magazine in the event of conflict.
The drive toward integrating unmanned surface vehicles in the force, which Navy officials suggested could make up a significant portion of the future fleet’s force structure, was kicked off in earnest with the rollout of the 2020 budget.
Senior Navy officials have talked about the LUSV as a kind of external missile magazine that can autonomously navigate to and integrate with the force, then shoot its missiles and return for reload, keeping the big manned surface combatants in the fight and fielded longer. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 May 20. Niger’s National Guard to Receive Fourth Delair UAV. Niger’s National Guard is set to take delivery of a fourth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from French company Delair, after having received three aircraft in November last year. The delivery of the fourth UAV was reported by Africa Intelligence earlier this month. Delair said that the Niger National Guard officially took delivery of three Delair DT26 Surveillance UAVs on 27 November 2019 during an official ceremony held near Niamey by the French Directorate of Security and Defence Cooperation (DCSD). National Guard personnel had been training with the aircraft since at least June 2019.
The delivery was part of a cooperative project with the French government to strengthen Niger’s investigation and prosecution capacity relating to terrorism-related cases. The contract for the aircraft was signed at the end of 2018 between Delair and the DCSD. The DCSD is part of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI), intended to develop international cooperation in the fields of defence, internal security and civil protection.
The Delair DT26X Surveillance can carry out remote or night surveillance missions, thanks to its 10 times optical zoom and infrared sensor. Equipped with an on-board stabilization system, it is also equipped with a human detection system (effective from more than 1.5 km away), day and night. The aircraft has an endurance of up to 135 minutes and a cruise speed of 57 km/h. The fixed-wing aircraft has a wingspan of 3.3 metres and weights 15 kg, including payload. It is catapult-launched and belly-landed and has an effective range of 30 km.
Delair said its UAVs have been chosen to equip the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia for border surveillance and are used by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the border between Ukraine and Russia. Delair also recently received a contract from the French Army for Delair UX11 UAVs for reconnaissance missions.
“The fact that the French Army and other European governmental organizations use our UAVs confirms that we have secure, robust and reliable systems for defense and military applications. Our success in this space demonstrates that there are many applications and use models that we can address in other industries as well, so we would also be interested in cooperating with large industrial groups,” said Bastien Mancini, Delair’s Chief Operating Officer. (Source: UAS VISION/Defence Web)
01 May 20. Royal Navy to test underwater gliders in North Atlantic. The Royal Navy is set to carry out trials of underwater gliders capable of rapidly sending vital information aiding submarine hunting operations in the North Atlantic. To be conducted as part of Project Hecla, one of the gliders is currently off the North West coast of the Outer Hebrides.
During a five-month deployment, an unmanned Slocum Glider is being tested to the limit as it stores information about the seas west of Scotland.
Slocum will conduct the tests using its array of innovative sensors and can send information pertaining to near real-time, temperature, depth, salinity, currents, oxygen levels, and turbulence.
The efficiency of the sonar and sensors used by the Type 23 frigates, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters and the Royal Air Force’s P-8 Poseidon is impacted by these parameters during submarine hunting operations.
The gliders can relay information in hours, whereas the conventional collection of data requires months.
The deployment of gliders is aimed at providing a constant scenario of the underwater battlespace in high-threat areas.
This will help personnel take informed operational decisions. The availability of real-time data will allow better detection of underwater surface threats.
Royal Navy Captain Pat Mowatt said: “Salinity, sound velocity and temperature have all changed.
“We need to know these accurately as we strive to understand more and more about the undersea environment (battlespace) and how this effects the performance of ship and submarine sensors so we can achieve an operational advantage.”
The gliders will provide up-to-date information on parameters to trained officers. The settings and range of the sonars will be adjusted according to the information received.
They can dive down to 1,000m and can be deployed at sea for months together, constantly sending data.
The Slocum, due to stay out for four weeks, was extended to up to five months. This tests the glider to its limits on a long duration mission.
Data received is currently integrated into ocean forecast models by the Met Office. It is available for use by the navy at the Joint Operational Meteorology and Oceanography Centre at Northwood.
The National Oceanographic Centre, British Oceanographic Data Centre, and the Scottish Association of Marine Science are supporting the trials.
The latest tests look at methods to reduce the power consumption of on-board sensors, extending their battery life.
The project will also test autonomous vehicles that will aid data collection and exploitation missions alongside NavyX.
Project Hecla involves safe navigation for all ships using autonomous vehicles.
The results obtained from trials of REMUS autonomous underwater vehicles will be used to produce Admiralty Charts for maritime navigation systems.
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