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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

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30 Jul 20. Airbus demos Remote Carrier ‘loyal wingman’ connectivity with Eurofighters and Tornados. Airbus has demonstrated for the first time with real combat aircraft the Remote Carrier (RC) ‘loyal wingman’ technology it is developing for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Systeme de Combat Arien du Futur (SCAF) programme.

The event during the Luftwaffe’s Timber Express exercise over northern Germany and the North Sea, announced by the company on 30 July, saw national Eurofighter and Panavia Tornado aircraft demonstrate interconnectivity with an RC network using the Link 16 datalink.

“During the exercise, the Remote Carriers, which currently use the Compact Airborne Networking Data Link (CANDL), were successfully connected to Link 16, the operational tactical datalink of the armed forces. The Remote Carriers were not only visible to all tactical combat aircraft of the [German] Air Force, but could also receive and execute orders without the need for technical modifications to the aircraft,” Airbus said. As noted by the company, this event was followed up with a demonstration of RC interoperability with the NATO concept of Co-operative ESM Operations (CESMO); a reconnaissance network spanning several branches of the armed forces aimed at locating threat systems in the electromagnetic spectrum in real time. (Source: Jane’s)

28 Jul 20. Bulzi Selects Draganfly for DoD Base Security Projects. Draganfly Inc. has announced that Bulzi, LLC, has signed a memorandum of understanding to use Draganfly’s drones and aerial sensors for their Department of Defense Base Security development projects.

Bulzi (pronounced “Bull’s-Eye”) is a human geospatial intelligence technology and services company based in Newport Beach, CA. Bulzi has been awarded multiple Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts with US DoD agencies for the purpose of adapting its commercial technologies to enhance US military base security. Utilizing Bulzi’s expertise in geospatial human intelligence, Bulzi’s SBIR awards will provide enhanced tracking and behavioral analytics of base personnel and visitors to ensure compliance with security protocols.

Draganfly, as a North American secure technology developer and UAS manufacturer will provide drones with integrated sensors and location perimeter monitoring hardware for Bulzi to utilize within their security development projects.

“This is an extremely exciting project for Draganfly,” said Cameron Chell, CEO Draganfly. “Bulzi is a leader in human geospatial intelligence and services. The integration of our technology with Bulzi’s will have wide-spread use cases across the defense industry.”

“We chose Draganfly to partner on these projects with us because of the quality of their technology, the fact that they already work in the US military space, and are a North American based secure technology developer and UAS manufacturer,” said Brent McKay, CEO Bulzi. “Developing our services with the industry leader in drone technology will allow us to provide the best in class offering and ensure scale to meet the size of the opportunity.”

The parties anticipate entering into definitive agreements setting out in more detail the terms of the partnership in the fourth quarter of 2020. (Source: UAS VISION)

28 Jul 20. Swift Engineering HALE UAS Completes 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 misson 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. (Source: UAS VISION)

28 Jul 20. Duke Robotics Presents TIKAD Combat Drone Equipped with Innovative Stabilization Technology. After last month’s acquisition by UAS Drone Corp (OTC: USDR), Duke Robotics has focused on engaging in a strategic expansion effort mainly in the military drone market. Duke Robotics, a leader in robotics technology and drone solutions, introduces TIKAD, an innovative military UAS octocopter drone with a mounted lightweight firearm and advanced stabilization technology. TIKAD features a lightweight robotic gimbal with the unparalleled ability to carry and stabilize payload recoil up to three times its weight.  In addition, TIKAD’s gimbal offers real-time, 6 DOF (degrees of freedom), a capability that provides an advantage to U.S. and allied forces in combat.

TIKAD advances military strategy by integrating an aerial support system into combat missions.  The UAS drone can engage with troops or lead precision strikes without the need for intrusive action.  TIKAD can be used in various military applications including border patrol law enforcement, drone on drone warfare and counter terrorism.

According to a recent report, Fortune Business projects the military drone market to reach $21.76bn by 2026, at a CAGR of 12.4% during the forecast period.   The report says, “Advanced defense technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, multi-sensor data fusion for UAV navigation, cloud computing-based services for military UAVs, and technological advancements in drone payloads are expected to support the market growth during the forecast period. mid-air refueling of drone, and anti-UAV defense system are the major upcoming trends in the military drone market.” (Source: PR Newswire)

27 Jul 20. NATO AGS Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Fleet Continues to Grow. On July 26, 2020, the fourth remotely piloted aircraft of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Force arrived at the Italian Air Force Base in Sigonella, Italy. The aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California, USA, at 18:33 local time on July 25 and landed at Sigonella at 16:20 local time the following day, almost 22 hours later.

The arrival of the fourth aircraft represents another successful step for NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force. Less than two weeks after the landing of the third RQ-4D remotely piloted aircraft, also called “Phoenix”, the NATO AGS Force’s fleet of five total aircraft is near completion.

“The arrival of the fourth aircraft enhances our capabilities with greater redundancy and flexibility. The NATO AGS Force continues our advance in becoming NATO’s key provider of regional ‘indications and warning’ information to members of the NATO Alliance,” announced NATO AGS Force Commander Brigadier General Houston Cantwell.

This latest crossing of the Atlantic from California to Italy was entirely controlled by industry pilots at the Alliance Ground Surveillance Force’s Main Operating Base in Sigonella, in the same manner as the first three ferry flights. Following arrival, the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency and the Italian Airworthiness Authorities will finalize the required documentation and hand-over the system to the Force as soon as possible. Procuring the Alliance Ground Surveillance System is the responsibility of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA). (Source: defense-aerospace.com/NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force)

28 Jul 20. Alesta – New VTOL Drone from Turkey. Alesta, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) developed by Turkey’s Nurol BAE Systems Air Systems Inc. (BNA), will soon be ready to join the Turkish security forces’ inventory as it goes through the first flight tests, the company’s general manager said.

The Alesta drone has many unique features, including vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) using tiltrotors, Eray Gökalp told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday.

The UAV has been developed as part of efforts, coordinated by Turkey’s Defense Industries Presidency (SSB). The SSB aims to develop new tools with different concepts for the security forces.

Gökalp said that the four-year-old company closely follows local and international developments in the aviation sector.

He added that they invest in new technologies “which is considered to make a difference.”

“We aim to develop its critical systems, including flight and engine control and fuel systems, from the ground up. We have prepared an engineering road map and are carrying out research and development activities on innovative technologies,” he said.

BNA is a joint venture between Turkey’s Nurol Holding and the U.K.’s BAE Systems. It enjoys a successful industrial partnership in the Turkish defense sector through Nurol and FNSS Defense Systems, which is 51% owned by Turkey’s Nurol Holding.

BAE Systems is also already working together with Turkish Aviation Industries (TAI) on Turkey’s first national and domestically developed national combat aircraft, the TF-X. The project has gained more importance after the U.S. suspended Turkey’s involvement in the problem-ridded F-35 program.

Gökalp said many large companies have developed combat drones in strategic, tactical and attack concepts, but Alesta has a different configuration than other UAVs.

“Our vehicle tiltrotors. It can land and take off vertically. When it switches to cruise mode, the wings move to the horizontal position. It means that (Alesta) has the advantage of both a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft,” he said.

Alesta drones do not need a runway and can fly over longer distances in cruise mode.

“Keeping the drones stable during the transition mode and under heavy winds presented some serious engineering challenges and needed some clever technological solutions. We have a very experienced staff,” Gökalp noted.

Turkey has realized its program of developing and producing drones over a short span of just 10 years. One of the most prominent, the Bayraktar TB2 armed drones, produced by the country’s leading unmanned aerial platform developer Baykar, has been operationally used since 2015.

They have continued to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism in different regions while providing effective surveillance, reconnaissance and fire support. The Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) use of these drones has brought significant successes in its operations in Syria, Iraq and Libya. (Source: UAS VISION/Daily Sabah)

28 Jul 20. VSR700 prototype performs first autonomous free flight. The prototype of Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) has performed its first free flight. The VSR700 performed a ten minute flight at a drone test centre near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.

This is a significant step in the programme following the first flight in November 2019 when the prototype was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements. To enable this free flight, Airbus Helicopters implemented geofencing, a virtual perimeter, which enabled and justified a flight clearance from airworthiness authorities for free flight. The flight test programme will now evolve to progressively open the flight envelope.

“The free flight achieved by the VSR700 is a major step leading up to the sea trials that will be performed at the end of 2021 as part of the de-risking studies for the French Navy’s future drone,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Thanks to the French PlanAero, the programme will make full use of two demonstrators and an optionally piloted vehicle to develop and mature the technical and operational aspects for successful UAS operations in a naval environment.”

The VSR700, derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2, is an unmanned aerial system in the 500-1000 kg maximum take-off weight range. It offers the best balance of payload capability, endurance and operational cost. It is capable of carrying multiple full-size naval sensors for extended periods and can operate from existing ships, alongside a helicopter, with a low logistical footprint.

This VSR700 prototype has evolved over the last nine months since its maiden flight. The programme implemented the geofencing function, as well as a Flight Termination System allowing the mission to be ended if necessary. Modifications have equally been performed to the air vehicle, alongside autopilot software evolutions and updates, as well as structural modifications and reinforcements.

27 Jul 20. First Flight for Modified German Heron TP. In preparation for its delivery to the German Armed Forces, the German Heron TP UAV has completed its first flight in the skies of the State of Israel. The UAV was modified according to the needs and requirements of the German Ministry of Defense.

It is the result of a joint program led by the UAV Executive Office in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, an Airbus Group company.

The nine-year agreement between the German and Israeli defense ministries was signed in June 2018 at a cost of $600m for the leasing of a number of the UAVs, including training, operational support and maintenance throughout the term of the agreement.

Thirty-five teams of two Germans each are expected to undergo training with their Israeli counterparts at a special compound at Tel Nof. The program began last year.

According to reports in Hebrew media at the time of the signing, details of the deal included payment of approximately €720m. to IAI for the rental of the drones and another €180m. to be transferred directly to the government of Israel for the use of airports and other infrastructures that belong to the IAF.

The Heron TPs are IAI’s most advanced UAVs, with 40-hour endurance, maximum takeoff weight of 11,685 pounds and a payload of 2,204 pounds. They can be used for reconnaissance, combat and support roles and can carry air-to-ground missiles to take out hostile targets.

IAI first delivered the Heron-1 systems to the German Air Force in 2009. They became operational six months later. The UAVs have since been used extensively both in Afghanistan and Mali in collaboration with Airbus, which handles the upkeep of the drone.

The unarmed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV has a wingspan of 16.6 meters and a mission endurance of 24 hours.

According to German media reports, the UAV is used for detecting booby traps from the air, assisting in combat situations, accompanying convoys and patrols, reconnaissance and surveillance, establishing movement profiles and long-term monitoring of threat actors, protecting military assets and camps, as well as supporting humanitarian missions.

The German Heron TP UAV is a medium altitude, long endurance, and multi-mission aircraft with a variety of payloads. It is based on the Israeli “Eitan” UAV, which is in operational use in the Israel Air Force. The German Heron TP UAV was modified in record time and incorporates advanced ‘blue-and-white’ [Israeli] technology.

It is the result of a joint program led by the UAV Executive Office in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development of the Defense Ministry, IAI and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, an Airbus Group company.

Head of the UAV Executive Office in the Israel Ministry of Defense, Col. (Res.) C:

“This is a significant and historic phase in the strategic cooperation between Israel and Germany: an Israeli-developed UAV, produced for the German Air Force, took off for its first flight in Israeli skies. Despite the various challenges we faced including those brought by the Corona pandemic, we are on schedule. This is thanks to the collaboration and great work done by elements of Germany and Israel’s defense establishments.”

IAI Executive VP and GM of the Military Aircraft Group, Moshe Levy:

“IAI is pleased to mark this important milestone in the Heron TP project for Germany. We thank our partners in the Ministry of Defense and Airbus Group, for their cooperation in this project – a result of which we are going to provide the German Air Force with a system tailored to its operational needs and requirements.”

The UAVs are expected to serve as a stopgap measure for the German army before a European-based system is introduced.  (Source: UAS VISION/ The Jerusalem Post)

24 Jul 20. Industry Submits New Offer for EuroDrone: Dassault CEO. Dassault Aviation yesterday submitted its latest offer for the EuroDrone unmanned aircraft to Airbus Defense and Space, which in turn will submit it “within days” to OCCAR, Dassault CEO Eric Trappier said July 23.

Industry, led by EuroDrone prime contractor Airbus, has been negotiating the future of the program for over a year, after governments found the initial offer too expensive. The program, formerly known as Euro MALE (Medium Altitude, Long Endurance), intends to develop a European unmanned aircraft to provide an alternative to US models. It is a joint effort between France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and was launched with great fanfare at the 2015 Berlin Air Show.

Industry completed the program’s definition study a year ago, and negotiations currently focus on the cost of development and production, for which industry has requested about €10bn, according to media reports, while governments are unwilling to spend much more than €7bn. Time is running out if the original goal of a first flight in 2025 is to be met. Its service introduction is not now feasible until 2028, according to a July 22 report by the National Assembly on the preservation of the Defense Industrial Base.

Trappier’s comments were made during a press conference on the company’s first-half results. The company delivered 16 Falcon business jets during the first half, compared to 17 during the first half of 2019, and seven Rafale combat aircraft, down from 10 in the year-earlier period. More significantly, Dassault will only deliver 13 Rafales for the year, half as many as the 26 delivered in 2019.

This led the company to post sales of €2.6bn for the first half, and an operating profit of €87m, down from €286m in H1 2019. Order intake fell from €2.9bn in H1 2019 to €1 bn in H1 2020.

The seven Rafales were delivered to Qatar and India, and an additional six will be delivered during the second half of the year. Trappier declined to break down deliveries by country, but said the first batch of Rafales, already handed over to the Indian Air Force in France, will leave the company’s factory in Bordeaux on Monday to fly to India.

Dassault is not due to deliver any Rafales to France in 2020 and 2021, and from 2022 it will deliver the remaining 28 aircraft on order. Without new export orders, Dassault will then face another 30 months without deliveries to France between mid-2024 and 2027, according to the Defense Industrial Base report.

Three options are under consideration, the report adds: delivery of 11 aircraft per year from 2025; delivery of 18 aircraft in 2025 and 2026; and bringing forward from 2027 to 2024 the order for Tranche 5, which is to include 30 aircraft.

As part of the aerospace post-Covid support package that will be announced in September, the French Air Force could order an additional 20 Rafales and the French Navy an additional 10, according to the report.

“We are discussing a fifth tranche of Rafale, and there are several options on the table,” Trappier said, but declined further comment.

(Source: defense-aerospace.com)

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