Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
23 Jul 20. Airial Robotics sets out to change global commercial drone market with a new type of UAV. The company Airial Robotics, head-quartered in Hamburg, Germany, and with branches in Hungary and the United Kingdom, has unveiled an innovative UAV carrier system that redefines the possibilities of commercial drone applications: the completely newly developed and patented technology platform Gyrotrak. Based on a new hybrid concept, Airial Robotics has created a new class of drone that clearly exceeds current industry standards in terms of flight time, payload, range and efficiency and at the same time possesses a highly modular system architecture that can be adapted to all kinds of missions.
“Our Gyrotrak technology is a disruptive hybrid UAV solution, somewhere between helicopter and autogyro. The innovative combination of the advantages of both systems creates such a unique and special technical platform, that it leaves the current industry standards behind it, and makes Gyrotrak a real game changer. Gyrotrak gives us the ability to at least double important factors like flight time, range, and payload, when compared to traditional multicopter systems. Furthermore, long hovering flights and multiple take-offs and landings are not a problem, which isn’t the case or possible with a lot of VTOL fixed-wing solutions,” explained Jörg Schamuhn, co-founder and CEO of Airial Robotics.
Gyrotrak boasts a versatile, modular and individually adjustable structure, ideally suited to the commercial market where the various application fields require effective new solutions tailored precisely to their needs. The new UAV type meets the requirements of numerous sectors including agriculture, logistics as well as inspection or security and surveillance.
Gyrotrak: best of two worlds
The main rotor autorotation principle, familiar from autogyros, not only ensures the new Gyrotrak platform requires very little energy in forward flight and possesses great flight stability, but also that the UAV itself can still land safely even if the motor fails. At the same time, the new hybrid solution has the positive features of a helicopter, which can hover precisely on the spot, fly backwards if necessary, or also perform multiple vertical take-offs and landings during a mission.
The first product based on the new concept is the new, fully electric GT20 Gyrotrak. It has a maximum take-off weight of 20 kg and is capable of performing LOS and BVLOS flights. The payload of 12.5 kg can be distributed between the battery and additional load, depending on the mission. If the GT20 Gyrotrak is fitted with a professional camera weighing about 500 g, it can stay in the air for about 2.5 hours and cover up to 150 km at cruise speeds of 90 kph.
You can find more information about the Gyrotrak platform, the first GT20 product and the Airial Robotics company at www.airialrobotics.com.
About Airial Robotics
Airial Robotics is a technology company geared towards the global UAV market, which, through the use of disruptive technologies, is developing new UAV generations in order to lift the possibilities of commercial drone missions to the next level. The Gyrotrak platform has been designed to clearly exceed current industry standards in terms of flight time, payload, range and efficiency and, at the same time, possesses a highly modular system architecture that can be adapted to all kinds of missions.
All of Airial Robotics products are produced and developed in Europe. The company is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. (Source: PR Newswire)
24 Jul 20. Raytheon Australia announces partnership for LAND 129 Phase 3. Raytheon Australia has announced it is teaming with Schiebel Pacific to lodge a tender response for the LAND 129 Phase 3 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System project for the Australian Army.
Offering the Australian Army a fully integrated solution featuring an operationally superior rotary wing UAS that is optimised for future growth, Raytheon Australia confirmed that it has teamed with Schiebel Pacific.
This teaming couples Raytheon Australia’s 20-year pedigree as a trusted, prime systems integrator across multiple domains with Schiebel’s S-100 UAV platform to deliver a highly capable, low-risk offering that is intended to establish an enduring sovereign UAS capability.
Michael Ward, Raytheon Australia managing director, expressed his commitment to fulfil the requirements of LAND 129 Phase 3 in the interests of Defence and a sovereign Australian industry.
“Our solution is backed by Raytheon Australia’s 20 years of investment in sovereign complex systems integration and allows us to offer a world-class system to meet Army’s future tactical UAS requirements,” Ward explained.
The Raytheon Australia team aims to deliver a solution that includes:
- Offers an operationally superior rotary wing UAS that is highly flexible and provides both a small footprint, no dedicated launch and recovery equipment and a high payload capacity;
- Provides real capability that has operated with the Australian military that’s ready now;
- Draws on Raytheon Australia’s strong reputation as an experienced, multi-domain systems integrator with proven processes and tools as well as highly experienced and capable people;
- Is low risk, including technology-wise because the platform is already fielded with the Royal Australian Navy, and low commercial, schedule and integration risks;
- Engages a team of Australian SMEs to provide a genuine Australian capability for Army and build a sovereign and enduring UAS industry to meet the Australian Defence Force’s future capability requirements; and
- Creates export opportunities for Australian industry.
Ward added, “Our team will deliver a highly capable, flexible and scalable solution that offers the lowest risk and the greatest opportunity for a sovereign UAS capability for Australia.”
Schiebel’s S-100 unmanned air system (UAS) is a proven capability for military and civilian applications – the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range out to 200 kilometres, both on land and at sea.
The S-100 navigates automatically via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or can be operated directly with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface.
S-100 incorporates high-definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time – using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by redundant flight computers, the UAV can complete its mission automatically in the most complex of electromagnetic environments.
S-100’s carbon fibre and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations.
Ward stated, “Numerous local SMEs will take part in the development of Raytheon Australia’s solution and emphasised his team’s strong AIC solution that prioritises Defence’s operational needs whilst maximising Australian industrial sovereignty.”
Raytheon Australia provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 Jul 20. India begins joint development of UAVs with the US Air Force. The US Air Force Research Laboratories have signed an agreement with an Indian startup to jointly research and develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Deputy Defense Secretary Ellen M. Lord said July 21, according to Indian television channel NDTV, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Read more: India intends to acquire American MQ-9 Reaper attack drones
She made this statement at the Ideas for India Summit hosted by the US-India Business Council.
“I would like to emphasize a very interesting project that we are currently negotiating – the joint development of a UAV launched from the air with the research laboratories of the US Air Force, Indian Air Force, Defense Research and Development Organization of India and an Indian startup company,” Lord said.
Also, as we reported on July 5, the Indian armed forces intend to acquire the American-made Predator-B (MQ-9 Reaper) reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
India informed the American side of its interest. The publication notes the relevance of the purchase against the background of the confrontation with China, which is armed with the Wing Loong II strike drone.
The United States has offered India to acquire for $ 4bn 30 Sea Guardian UAVs, which are unarmed counterparts of the Predator-B intended for the Navy. However, Indian military experts believe: if you buy such an expensive weapon, then in a full-fledged strike version.
According to the publication, the United States may be afraid to supply Predator-B drones, due to a possible leak of technology to Russia, another key supplier of weapons to India.
Indian-made MALE Rustom drones are under development and will not carry strike weapons. However, a number of tests were unsuccessful. The Defense Research and Development Organization of India (DRDO) plans to release a prototype MALE Rustom drone by the end of 2020.
India wanted to buy drones in 2019, but New Delhi makes difficult decisions and often does not reach the end
Exactly one year ago, in mid-July, the Indian army was interested in acquiring drones to increase the capacity of its capabilities.
According to the information then, the purchased drones will help its huge force of 1.2 million soldiers in maintaining a strong surveillance system at the borders shared with Pakistan and China.
The monitoring drones will help the security forces to carry out a 24/24h and 7/7day surveillance of the border, which will further result in checking all sorts of cross border crimes and threats. The use of the drones will result in making the Indian Army more efficient as they will be able to catch any threat or infiltration right on the spot.
The information on the purchase and use of the drones has been stated by Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat in New Delhi on Saturday, 13 July. However, the Army chief has not provided further details about the drones and its uses.
The Indian Army had initiated a tender in late 2017 for the purchase of 600 unmanned aerial vehicles. A plan to buy US-made armed drones is also being considered by the government. But would it be then scrapped like so many other acquisition programs, the last one being the sniper rifles?
The Predator B can also be used as a multipurpose combat complex, armed with ATGM AGM-114C / K Hellfire and other guided weapons. UAV control equipment is compatible with the MQ-1B ground equipment.
After successful experiments with the armed RQ-1, the idea arose to develop the use of weapons from the Predator B. In February 2003, the Predator B UAV, in the version with a theater, was designated MQ-9A Reaper.
And at the end of the year, the US Air Force purchased two prototype UAVs YMQ-9A. Military tests of these machines were conducted. YMQ-9A demonstrated high, very superior performance of its “parent”. UAVs were shown to be in the air for up to 24 hours at an altitude of 13,700 m, and according to GA-ASI, the maximum flight duration is 30 hours.
The latest unmanned aircraft MQ-9 Reaper according to the classification of the US Air Force belongs to the category of “killer hunters” – aircraft capable of tracking the target and destroying it.
The MQ-9 Reaper is capable of carrying up to 14 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, while the now widely used Predator unmanned aircraft is armed with only two such missiles. If necessary, instead of missiles, the MQ-9 Reaper can carry 4 AGM-114 Hellfire and two laser-guided bombs – GBU-12 Paveway II of 250 kilograms each.
A fully loaded MQ-9 Reaper can be continuously in the air for 14 hours and has a maximum speed of 480 kilometers per hour, while the maximum speed of the Predator aircraft does not exceed 215 kilometers per hour.
On May 18, 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a certificate of compliance, which allows the MQ-1 and MQ-9 to fly in US airspace designed for civilian traffic.
For the US Navy, an unmanned vehicle based on the Reaper, called the “Mariner,” is being created. This device will have folding wings, an increased fuel supply, which will allow the drone to be in flight for 49 hours.
In August 2008, the U.S. Air Force completed the re-equipment with unmanned aerial vehicles MQ-9 Reaper of the first combat air unit – the 174th fighter wing of the National Guard.
Rearmament took place over three years. Impact UAVs have shown high efficiency in Afghanistan and Iraq. The main advantages over the replaced F-16s are: lower purchase and operation costs, longer flight duration, operator safety and the possibility of their shift work during long flights. (Source: News Now/https://bulgarianmilitary.com/)
22 Jul 20. The UK Drones Pathfinder Programme announced the addition of a new pathfinder focusing on the early detection of marine activity near nuclear power stations. A revolutionary new project announced today (22nd July) will see Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) used in the early detection of marine ingress events near coastal industries, such as nuclear power stations.
The Cranfield University and EDF pathfinder plans to establish the feasibility of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, within a regulatory and safety context for the use of drones near nuclear plants, for early detection of marine (i.e. jellyfish and kelp) ingress. Routine wide area data capture by drones could form part of an early warning system, which will allow the adjustment of water-cooling mechanisms to protect both electricity generation and the environment.
Cranfield University and EDF, one of the UK’s largest energy companies, will deliver this project in partnership with SME Caintech, the Smith Institute and with funding support from The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The consortium will first optimise wide-area UAS monitoring protocols using statistical and mathematical techniques, which will include an academic review of the benefits of Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) / BVLOS operations, within the context of marine ingress detection. The programme will then undertake BVLOS UAS trials near an EDF nuclear power station later in the year to detect jellyfish and kelp blooms.
The project is part of UK Drones Pathfinder Programme, which is sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT) and takes a phased approach to achieving routine use of drones within the UK, identifying and overcoming the technical, operational, and commercial barriers for bringing new BVLOS services to the UK.
Angus Bloomfield, Marine Biology Consultant at EDF said: “Any industry on the coast which uses seawater can find its operations complicated when seaweed or jellyfish blooms impact protective systems. They can damage machinery and even stop power generation, which could threaten stability of the electricity grid. An early warning system involving drones could allow industries in marine environments to act early and avoid the most dramatic effects these events can bring.”
Dr Monica Rivas Casado, Senior Lecturer in Integrated Environmental Monitoring at Cranfield University, said: “Marine ingress can be an issue for nuclear power plants as it can affect the intake of water required for operations. The successful operation of BVLOS will enable us to detect threats from marine ingress at an earlier stage and to prevent disruption to the power plant. The development of BVLOS is important step in enhancing the capabilities of environmental monitoring using drones for a varied range of applications. We are extremely grateful to be part of the Drone Pathfinder Programme.”
Dr Alex Evans, Mathematical Consultant at the Smith Institute said “It is exciting to see the use of complex and powerful mathematical techniques, in combination with new drone technologies, helping to solve an important industrial problem with such far reaching impacts. It has been a pleasure to support this project and to see the excellent progress made so far as well as the potential for future development.”
Craig McDonald, UAV Operations Manager at Caintech said: “We are delighted to be working with Cranfield University and EDF Energy on this project. Having worked on this project alongside Cranfield University from the beginning, it is great to see how it has developed. The implementation of BVLOS will greatly improve the area in which we can cover which in turn will mean we can detect marine ingress earlier.
The Drones Pathfinder Programme is managed by the Connected Places Catapult in partnership with the Department of Transport (DfT) and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
22 Jul 20. Parrot Partners with WISeKey on Drone Security. Parrot has announced that it is partnering with WISeKey International Holding Ltd, a global cybersecurity and IoT company, to integrate advanced digital security solutions into Parrot’s growing range of ANAFI drones.
Public safety, security, defense and inspection professionals comprise a growing market share of drone users and demand the highest levels of privacy, encryption and security for their flights. Through this partnership, WISeKey’s decades of expertise and suite of proven security technologies coupled with Parrot’s industry-leading drone security offerings, will provide solutions compliant with the world’s most strict privacy regulations and will set a new paradigm of standards for future innovations.
Parrot’s range of ANAFI drones offers secure, ultra-compact, rugged and powerful tools to gain a new vantage point, collect valuable data and improve safety and efficiencies for a variety of sensitive flights. Parrot’s latest ANAFI USA drone further elevates the security-focus of the ANAFI platform through features including secure network connection and authentication, robust data encryption and privacy features ensuring that end users have total control over where and how their data is managed.
The integration of WISeKey’s digital security technologies from inflight control systems down to infrastructure will help Parrot further guarantee the security of its drone flights and recorded data for professional users.
WISeKey’s VaultIC4xx series of secure elements offers reliable solutions to secure and prove the drone’s digital identity, and at the same time protect data and firmware against compromise when stored in the drone or in transit. This guarantees a secure connection between the controller and the drone. WISeKey’s VaultIC4xx secure elements are certified by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) following FIPS140-2 Level 3 standard, one of the strongest and globally recognized digital security levels. These are developed on Common Criteria EAL5+ certified hardware, another government grade security certification.
“As drone use continues to climb exponentially within the professional sector, Parrot understands the immense need for cutting edge cybersecurity standards and capabilities to ensure the ongoing protection of valuable data,” said Victor Vuillard, Chief Security Officer/CTO Cybersecurity of Parrot. “Our partnership with WISeKey will further secure our ANAFI drones’ infrastructure, redefine modern drone security, and deliver peace of mind to our professional users.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Parrot as we continue our company’s mission to secure digital identity, firmware and sensitive data, and extend the applications of our technologies into new markets and growing industries across the globe,” said Carlos Moreira, WISeKey’s Founder and CEO. “Drones are increasingly used for sensitive operations thus remain a key target of bad actors. Through the powerful ANAFI drone platform, we look forward to driving a stronger future for drone cybersecurity.” (Source: UAS VISION)
22 Jul 20. Syrian Regime Troops Captured a Black Hornet. A picture has emerged online reportedly showing members of the Syrian Arab Army holding a FLIR Systems Black Hornet 3 drone that they captured in the northeastern corner of the country.
Variants of this pocket-sized helicopter drone have seen increasing use, including within the U.S. military, in recent years, as a way to give small units important added situational awareness without necessarily exposing their position or otherwise putting personnel at increased risk.
This photograph first emerged online on July 19, 2020. Pro-regime social accounts claimed that Syrian troops recovered the Black Hornet near the town of Tal Tamr in the country’s northeastern Al Hasakah Governorate, which borders Turkey to the north and Iraq to the south. Forces aligned with Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad, together with Russian troops, moved into this area in October 2019 after a unilateral Turkish intervention prompted American personnel and their local, predominantly Kurdish partners to vacate various operating bases and otherwise pull back.
The Black Hornet has a maximum flight time of 25 minutes and a maximum range of 1.24 miles.
It’s not clear who was operating the drone in Syria before the Syrian troops captured it, but last year the U.S. Army began issuing Black Hornet 3s to various units. U.S. special operations forces, who have been very active in Syria, along with supporting conventional elements, have also been using versions of the drones since at least 2015.
Various other members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS who are known to have special operations elements deployed in Syria, such as France, also operate or have operated variants of this drone, though it’s unclear whether any of them have sent Black Hornet 3s, specifically, to units in the country.
For instance, the British Army first began using the first-generation Prox Dynamics PD-100 variant in 2013, but said it had withdrawn all of those from service between 2016 and 2017, in favor of larger, man-portable unmanned aircraft.
In 2019, the U.K. Ministry of Defense announced it was buying 30 “Black Hornet PRS,” but officially for “research and development into a capability gap identified by Army HQ,” rather than operational use. (Source: UAS VISION/The Drive)
22 Jul 20. QinetiQ, the global integrated defence and security company, has delivered the UK’s first successful demonstration of an airborne team comprising both manned and unmanned aircraft.
The demonstration took place on 19th June over the army ranges on Salisbury Plain and featured a manned helicopter and a semi-autonomous drone, working together to identify potential targets in a designated area. An operator on board the helicopter was able to switch between monitoring the images sent back by the drone’s cameras and allowing it to operate independently, searching for and identifying potential targets itself, only alerting the operator when a decision was required. “This work is funded by Army HQ Research and Experimentation using the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition framework and will be delivered by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to the British Army in September as part of the Army Warfighting Experiment 2019 (AWE19). The success of the demonstration was particularly impressive given it was delivered during a period of significant constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Improvements in robotics and autonomous system technologies, combined with both the need to improve military effect during a period of fiscal constraint, and a desire to keep people out of harm’s way, has led armed forces to the conclusion that teams comprising both humans and machines are an essential part of how militaries must operate in the future. As part of that process many countries are investing in a better understanding of how that combination works best and how to ensure such teams can be used safely and with assurance in live environments.
There have been several demonstrations of airborne manned/unmanned teams in other countries but the UK’s first successful demonstration is notable for three reasons:
- The entire process was controlled through a point and click interface on a portable tablet on board a standard H125 helicopter. This indicates that very little modification is required to a host aircraft to make an airborne manned/unmanned team work effectively. It suggests how easy it could be to build such a team around any manned aircraft.
- The manned/unmanned team was created using a range of different technologies from different suppliers. To date, most demonstrations have used products from a single company, so they are designed from the outset to work together as a connected system. QinetiQ’s demonstration used equipment and machines that were not designed specifically to work with each other, showing a more open and technology agnostic approach to manned/unmanned teams is possible. This increases the options for defence and security customers and potentially offers a faster and lower cost path to a teaming capability.
- The demonstration involved the successful passing of control between different human operators. Control of the drone was moved from one person to another securely and effectively throughout the trial. Not only does this ensure an unmanned drone can always be controlled by the person best placed to make decisions, it also paves the way for a more collaborative approach to using defence assets. Defence and security organisations are both seeing a greater need to collaborate between sovereign forces and between nations to address common threats from unpredictable adversaries. Being able to easily share equipment and seamlessly move control of assets from one trusted party to another could make it easier for countries to work together using a single pool of assets. Ultimately this reduces cost and increases agility.
Major Ben (name withheld for security reasons), a British Army pilot working with Dstl said “We’ve been following QinetiQ’s progress as it prepared the system and seeing it in action, we believe this could be a game-changer for us. The ability to use a manned/unmanned with any manned helicopter in the UK fleet has huge potential. We can’t wait to get our hands on the system and put it through its paces during AWE19”.
To deliver the successful demonstration at pace required more than just technical skill. QinetiQ had to find a cost effective way of undertaking the trials without placing a significant dependency on customer resources.
“To make it possible we had to take a Mission-Led Innovation1 approach and look at how to use what we already had available.” Said QinetiQ’s Programme Manager, Rob Scott. “We made full use of our live, virtual and simulated test environments as well as the facilities and resources available within our Long Term Partnering Agreement with the MOD. We’re particularly pleased we could undertake a live testing programme using one of our own H125 helicopters. It provides a realistic platform for repeatable experimentation while saving the UK MOD time and money by not requiring scarce operational resources to be diverted for trials.”
21 Jul 20. US Navy to develop drone deployment strategy. The U.S. Navy’s top officer has ordered his staff to develop a comprehensive strategy to field unmanned systems in the air, on the water and under the sea over the coming years. Dubbed “unmanned campaign plan,” it looks to tie together all the disparate programs into a coherent way forward, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday told Defense News in a July 16 interview.
“We’ve got … a family of unmanned systems we’re working on,” Gilday said. “Undersea we’ve got extra-large, large and medium [unmanned underwater vehicles]; on the surface we have small, medium and large [unmanned surface vessels]; and in the air we have a number of programs.
“What I’ve asked the N9 to do is come to me with a campaign plan that ties all those together with objectives at the end. I’ve got a bunch of horses in the race, but at some point I have to put my money down on the thoroughbred that’s going to take me across the finish line so I can make an investment in a platform I have high confidence in and that I can scale.”
Gilday’s drive toward an unmanned campaign plan comes after two consecutive years of congressional criticism that the Navy is forging ahead too quickly on unmanned systems without first having designed or developed critical new technologies and mechanical systems. The criticisms have resulted in marks in legislation that deliberately slows down the development of the systems that both the Navy and the Office of Secretary of Defense have said are necessary to offset a rising China without breaking the bank.
In the interview, Gilday acknowledged the Navy hadn’t adequately mapped out its unmanned future in a way that would inspire confidence.
“What I’ve found is that we didn’t necessarily have the rigor that’s required across a number of programs that would bring those together in a way that’s driven toward objectives with milestones,” Gilday said. “If you took a look at [all the programs], where are there similarities and where are there differences? Where am I making progress in meeting conditions and meeting milestones that we can leverage in other experiments? At what point do I reach a decision point where I drop a program and double down on a program that I can accelerate?”
In the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, currently working its way through Congress, lawmakers appear poised to restrict funding for procurement of any large unmanned surface vessels, or LUSV, until the Navy can certify it has worked out an appropriate hull as well as mechanical and electrical system, and that the design can autonomously operate for 30 consecutive days.
Furthermore, the Navy must demonstrate a reliable operating system and ensure any systems integrated into the platform — sonars, radars, etc. — are likewise functioning and reliable, according the text of the subcommittee’s markup of the fiscal 2021 NDAA, Congress’s annual defense policy bill, which was obtained by Defense News.
In short, the language would mean the Navy could not spend procurement dollars on a large unmanned surface vessel until it has a working model, and it may not try to develop those technologies on the fly.
In a June interview with Defense News, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., head of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, said the panel supports unmanned system development but doesn’t want the Navy repeat mistakes.
“The message I want people to understand is that we fully support the move toward unmanned, whether that’s on the surface or undersea,” Courtney said. “But we want to make sure that some of the real nuts and bolts issues … are worked out before we start building large unmanned platforms.
“We want to make sure that, again, we don’t end up with situations like LCS [the littoral combat ship] where we’re trying to figure out what the mission is at the same time we’re building them.”
Conceptualize and control
That’s a criticism the CNO hears and is working to address.
Gilday is pushing on two major efforts to get better answers on what the Navy is trying to accomplish with unmanned systems: a concept of operations, and a network to control them with.
“The concept of operations that the fleet is working on right now will be delivered in the fall, and that talks conceptually about how we intend to employ unmanned in distributed maritime operations,” Gilday said, referencing a Navy plan to physically expand its maneuvers to complicate enemy targeting rather than aggregate around an aircraft carrier.
But beyond how unmanned tech will fit into a distributed fleet, the Navy is looking at where those systems should be located and how they will be supported. That’s leading the Navy to consider stationing the systems and support elements overseas.
“What would a day-to-day laydown look like of unmanned forward?” Gilday asked. “The Navy has got to be forward: For obvious reasons we don’t want the fight back here; the Navy exists to operate forward. That’s where we need to be in numbers. And with unmanned, if you are not there at the right time, you are irrelevant.
“There also has to be a number of unmanned [systems] forward. I can’t just decide to rally unmanned out of San Diego or in the Pacific northwest at a time when they’ll be too late to need.”
The other big piece of the puzzle is something Gilday has previously referred to as akin to a new “Manhattan Project,” a rapid, well-funded project to field a network that can control all the various unmanned and networked systems, sensors and weapons.
And to do that, he’s linking in with the Air Force’s Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, effort.
“The other piece of this is the Navy Tactical Grid,” Gilday explained. “Coming into the job, the projections for the Navy Tactical Grid was for delivery in about 2035. I knew that was way, way too late.
“So, on a handshake with [Air Force Chief of Staff] Gen. [David] Goldfein, I said: ‘Look, I am all in, and my vision is that the Navy Tactical Grid would be the naval plug into JADC2.’ So the Navy Tactical Grid ends up being a very critical element of the unmanned campaign plan because it becomes the main artery to operate those platforms.
“Without it, I have a bunch of unmanned that I shouldn’t be building because I can’t control it very well.” (Source: Defense News)
20 Jul 20. American Made Swift High-Altitude-Long-Endurance UAS Completes Landmark First Flight. Receiving Both NASA’s Airworthiness Certification and the FAA’s Certificate of Authorization. American Made Swift High-Altitude-Long-Endurance UAS Completes Landmark First Flight
In partnership with NASA’s Ames Research Center, Swift Engineering’s high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial system, completed its maiden flight. The only US-made platform in its class, Swift’s flight team, performed a full-system check, validating the vehicle’s configuration for high-altitude continuous surveillance missions.
Through the collaboration with NASA, the successful flight trials took place at New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Designed to operate unmanned at 70,000 feet, The Swift HALE UAS offers 24-hour persistent and stable upper atmosphere operations for commercial and military surveillance, monitoring, communications, and security applications. An affordable alternative to satellites, the 72-foot solar-powered air vehicle weighs less than 180 pounds and can safely carry up to 15-pound payloads for missions.
“The partnership with NASA’s earth science team is significant. Using the agency’s mission cases, we developed a cost-efficient power and propulsion system that can withstand harsh temperatures, radiation, and stratospheric conditions, while providing and storing enough energy to enable persistent long-duration flights. The calculations from the flight test validates all of our safety and design requirements,” says Andrew Streett, Vice President of Technology at Swift Engineering.
The Swift HALE UAS was awarded two technology patents and received airworthiness certifications from NASA and the FAA’s Certificate of Authorization (COA), enabling the unmanned aircraft to fly in commercial airspace.
“The applications of this technology will usher in a new era of data acceleration. Swift is able to deliver what no other industry or defense contractor can provide in the US market. I am extremely proud of our team and our great partners at NASA for this remarkable feat of innovation. We are excited about our global commercialization plans,” says Rick Heise, President and CEO of Swift Engineering.
About Swift Engineering
Swift Engineering is an innovation company with a 35-year history of design, engineering and build heritage in intelligent systems and advanced vehicles, including autonomous systems, helicopters, submarines, spacecraft, ground vehicles, robotics, and advanced composites for military, healthcare, agriculture and industrial applications. Based in San Clemente, California, Swift is globally recognized for its ability to bring disruptive innovations to market quickly. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Jul 20. Royal Australian Navy Conducts S-100 Camcopter Trials. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Anzac Class frigate, HMAS Ballarat, and a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) have conducted flight trials. The test focused on the launch and retrieval of the 200 kg S-100 Camcopter UAV at sea. It was conducted off the Eastern coast of Australia. RAN’s 822X Squadron personnel and from the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU) test specialists were deployed on the 118m-long frigate to collect data.
The trials offered an opportunity to learn how to integrate the UAV’s payload capacity with the frigate’s warfare capabilities.
Trial director lieutenant commander Hamilton said:
“The deployment of unmanned systems at sea will become a more common theme in modern maritime warfare, especially with the advent and continued development of artificial intelligence and robotic or autonomous systems.
Maximising their ability to safely operate in a variety of environmental conditions is fundamental to their operational utility and making them a force multiplier.”
S-100 Camcopter is a vertical take-off and landing UAV capable of carrying a range of payloads. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
It is designed to remain airborne for several hours and travel at a speed of 100km/h. The UAV can be deployed to support missions such as surface, amphibious or anti-submarine warfare. It could be used for search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations.
822X Squadron flight commander lieutenant Michael Mulquiney said:
“The introduction of unmanned aviation operations at sea is a paradigm shift for the navy and it will enable us to detect threats at greater ranges and better defend our ships and give us enhanced situational awareness.” (Source: UAS VISION/Naval Technology)
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.