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18 Sep 20. General Atomics receives $7.4bn MQ-9 Reaper contract. General Atomics has won the Agile Reaper Enterprise Solution (ARES) contract with a ceiling amount of $7.4bn. General Atomics has won the Agile Reaper Enterprise Solution (ARES) contract with a ceiling amount of $7.4bn.
The contract has been awarded by the US Air Force (USAF) Life Cycle Management Center’s MQ-9 Program Office.
This contract is expected to support rapid deployment of the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and address the rising operational demand for the weapon system.
The MQ-9 UAS is equipped with capabilities to perform intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike missions.
Awarded with a pre-negotiated $3.3bn price-quantity-curve, the fixed indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract is valid for five years.
It is expected to stabilise the associated costs, permit the USAF and foreign military sales partners to acquire from four to 36 aircraft annually, and decrease delivery time by around 35%.
Foreign military sales partners will be permitted to order the MQ-9A Nato exportable version, Dash 21 variant.
In addition, the contract includes pre-priced mobile ground control stations, ground data terminal, spares and support equipment.
Medium Altitude Unmanned Aerial System (MAUAS) Program Office aircraft production manager Alicia Morales said: “Prior to ARES, the standard contract award timeline was roughly 380 days. Now, once we have a budget, and it’s in our account, we can award in just a couple of days and field the aircraft in 26 months.
“ARES is a big deal because it answers the ‘mail’ as far as how do we deal with hard-to-predict demand signals from our international partners and enable increased responsiveness to US Budget dynamics.
“So, the team came together and figured out the best and most innovative approach to deal with unplanned requirements, so no matter what comes, we are prepared and able to handle it.”
In April, the US Marine Corps (USMC) conducted its maiden operational flight of an MQ-9A Reaper UAS in the Middle East. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Sep 20. US industry gears up for Reaper replacement with focus on long-range, strike. A collection of US defence contractors are lining up to provide the US Air Force with a replacement for its MQ-9 Reaper series of UAS, with the focus shifting to low-observability, ultra-long-range ISR and, of major interest to Australia, strike capabilities.
Deterrence theory is as old as warfare and international relations. While the methods have changed throughout history, the concept and doctrine remains constant, albeit significantly more lethal.
In the contemporary context, deterrence is best broken down into two distinct concepts as identified by US academic Paul Huth in his journal article ‘Deterrence and International Conflict: Empirical Findings and Theoretical Debates’, which states that a policy of deterrence can fit into two distinct categories, namely:
- Direct deterrence: Preventing an armed attack against a state’s own territory; and
- Extended deterrence: Preventing an armed attack against another state.
The advent of nuclear weapons and strategic force multiplier platforms like aircraft carriers, ballistic missile and attack submarines and long-range strategic bomber aircraft, supported by air-to-air refuelling capabilities, fundamentally rewrote the rules of deterrence capabilities.
Australia has enjoyed the benefits of extended deterrence provided by the global reach and capability of the US since the end of the Second World War and, in particular, following the end of Vietnam and the nation’s shift towards a policy of continental defence.
However, the changing geo-political, strategic and economic reality of the Indo-Pacific and the emergence of peer and near-peer competitors across the region has served to undermine the qualitative and quantitative edge long enjoyed by the US and allies like the UK, Australia and Japan.
For Australia in particular, the introduction of the ‘Defence of Australia’ doctrine directly impacted the force structure and platform acquisition of the Australian Defence Force, as defending the nation’s northern approaches and the vaunted ‘sea-air gap’ became paramount in the minds of strategic and political leaders alike.
“Until the late 1960s, Australian defence planning and policy assumed that our forces would normally operate in conjunction with allies, and well forward of the continent. We saw our security inextricably linked with the security of others,” author of the 1986 Dibb report, Paul Dibb, explains.
This doctrine advocated for the retreat of Australia’s forward military presence in the Indo-Pacific and a focus on the defence of the Australian continent and its direct approaches effectively limited the nation’s capacity to act as an offshore balancer.
A key component of this policy was Australia’s acquisition and long-term operation of the F-111 strike platform, originally pursued to replace the ageing Canberra bombers during the Vietnam War, and introduced in 1973 served as a linchpin of Australia’s post-Vietnam force posture, doctrine and force structures.
The increasing proliferation and reliability of autonomous and uncrewed aerial combat vehicles (UCAV) provides an interesting option for serious consideration and implementation for armed forces seeking to maximise their tactical and strategic capabilities.
While much of the development has been focused on providing persistent close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for ground forces during the campaigns in Afghanistan, the return of great power rivalry is prompting a major rethink for the US Air Force, with a number of defence contractors preparing to replace the capable, yet vulnerable MQ-9 Reaper series UAS/UCAV.
Enter the long-range, stealth, ISR/strike package
As peer competitors, namely Russia and China, continue to introduce increasingly sophisticated integrated air defence networks, the US Air Force has raised serious concerns about the survivability in contested battle zones, prompting the branch to begin a shift away from the platforms towards an entirely new beast.
The US Air Force request for information (RFI) released in early June details the specifics of what they are looking for and describes a markedly different platform to the MQ-9 and its predecessor, the MQ-1 series of UAS:
“With the MQ-9 platform planning for end of service life, a need to identify a solution that continues to provide for this demand is imperative. The purpose of this RFI is to research potential solutions for the Next Generation UAS ISR/Strike platform, the Next Generation Medium Altitude UAS and potential follow-on program to the MQ-9 weapon system.”
While the US Air Force is already well into the development phase of its next-generation strategic bomber, the B-21 Raider, currently under development by Northrop Grumman, it seems that this proposed platform will fill a niche role, with overlapping tactical and strategic deterrence roles.
Entering the race to build the proposed UCAV are a range of major defence contractors, each drawing on decades of research, development and program experience developed to support broader US military requirements.
General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have all entered the fray with the ‘flying wing’ designs, while Boeing and Kratos have responded to the solicitation but are yet to provide any details about their proposals.
Dr Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, used a virtual round table at the Air Force Association’s 2020 Virtual Air, Space and Cyber conference with industry partners and journalists to detail the varying scale of the proposals and partners identifying interest, explaining that a family of platforms may be more effective and efficient to operate.
In particular, Dr Roper explained that a conventional ‘high-low’ mix of platforms, with the ‘high’ end focused on penetrating strike and reconnaissance missions, with the ‘low’ end platforms being drawn from commercial drone manufacturers, with a COTS option to minimise attrition and survivability costs.
Now, what does this mean for Australia? It has been well publicised that since the retirement of the F-111 the nation has lacked a serious, long-range strike capability and, while the government has committed to rectifying this capability gap, at least in some part, the gap remains.
Addressing the capability gap?
A key component of this policy was Australia’s acquisition and long-term operation of the F-111 strike platform, originally pursued to replace the ageing Canberra bombers during the Vietnam War and introduced in 1973, which served as a linchpin of Australia’s post-Vietnam force posture, doctrine and force structures.
Mike Scrafton raised some interesting points in his piece for ASPI, ‘Strategic strike, deterrence and the ghost of the F-111’, in which he discusses the impact the F-111 platform has had in shaping Australia’s current tactical and strategic force structure, doctrine and the role the mythos of the platform is playing in shaping current and future requirements.
Australia’s own long-range aerial strike force is not alone in its growing obsolescence, as the US Air Force struggles to maintain enough strategic bombers in fighting condition and the UK’s Royal Air Force lacks any significant aerial long-range strike capability since the retirement of the Avro Vulcan strategic bombers.
This is exemplified by former US Air Force vice chief of staff, General (Ret’d) John Loh, who has identified the key challenges facing America’s declining bomber force as a result of ageing airframes, shrinking budgets and the narrowing qualitative and quantitative gaps between American and peer/near-peer competitor platforms.
“America’s bomber force is now in crisis. In the Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request, one-third of the B-1 fleet is set for retirement, B-2 survivability, modernisation is cancelled and the new B-21 is at least a decade away from contributing significantly to the bomber force. The venerable B-52 requires new engines and other upgrades to be effective,” Loh explains, setting the scene.
“The number of bombers are at their lowest ever, but demand for bombers increases every year, particularly in the vast and most-stressed region of the Indo-Pacific. Bombers are the preferred weapon system there because of their long range and huge payload capacity.”
While the US is pushing forward with its development and acquisition of the next-generation B-21 Raider strategic bombers, developments in unmanned and autonomous systems, particularly platforms like Lockheed Martin’s RQ-170, BAE’s Taranis, Northrop Grumman’s X-47B and Boeing Australia’s Boeing Air Power Teaming System (BATS), provide some interesting avenues for development.
There has been a growing conversation within both Australian and American strategic policy and defence industry ecosystems seeking to support the development of an Australian long-range strike capability, leveraging America’s B-21 program.
Collective allied capability
Enter Thomas Mahnken, president and CEO of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), who has penned a piece for DefenseNews, titled ‘Six ways the US can maximise its strategic benefit from defense spending’, in which he sets out a number of powerful points for consideration within the US defence establishment, but one with a uniquely Australian flavour.
Mahnken cites the wildly growing research and development costs associated with a number of next-generation platforms fielded by the US, which has resulted in a smaller acquisition and increased unit costs, namely the F-22 Raptor development and acquisition program, with similar examples able to be made, including the B-2 Spirit and Seawolf Class attack submarines.
In order to resolve these challenges, Mahnken believes that spreading research and development costs, combined with including export options from the beginning of the development phase, would enable greater cost savings and flow on economic benefits for the US defence industrial base as a result of increased acquisition and sustainment numbers.
“Finally, the United States should take every opportunity to promote arms exports, which both create jobs and increase the security of our allies. Much more should be done to increase the speed and predictability of the arms export process,” Mahnken states.
“In addition, with few exceptions, US weapons should be developed with export in mind. We should avoid a repetition of the case of the F-22 aircraft, which was designed from birth never to be exported.”
Turning his attentions to Australia, Mahnken sees growing support from within Australia’s strategic policy community for the acquisition or lease of the B-21 Raider as a perfect opportunity for both nations to collaborate and support mutual tactical and strategic objectives in the Indo-Pacific.
Mahnken articulates, “We need to learn from the past in developing the next generation of weapons. For example, in recent months, Australian defence analysts have discussed the attractiveness of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber for Australia’s defence needs.
“Export of the B-21 to a close ally such as Australia, should Canberra so desire, should be given serious consideration.”
Such an acquisition would not only serve to fill the long-range strike capability gap Australia has experienced since the retirement of the F-111, but equally support the US recapitalise its own fleet of ageing strategic bomber platforms at reduced unit costs, while promoting greater interoperability with a key regional and global ally.
However, as previously mentioned, Australia is not the only US ally that will require a credible long-range aerial strike capability, as both Russia and China continue to enhance their own advanced integrated air defence, fifth-generation fighter and strategic bomber capabilities, with the Royal Air Force a prime candidate for joining an allied collaboration program.
The costs associated with acquiring and sustaining even a moderate number of B-21 platforms would serve as a cost prohibitive proposition for both the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force – however, this doesn’t mean developing a smaller, unmanned or semi/autonomous aerial long-range strike platform is without its merits.
The precedent already established by the collaboration between Defence Science and Technology and Boeing on the development of the BATS concept provides avenues for Australia to partner with defence industry primes and global allies to develop a long-range, unmanned, low observable strike platform with a payload capacity similar to, or indeed greater than, the approximately 15-tonne payload of the retired F-111.
The US has developed increasingly capable long-range, low observable unmanned platforms, including the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel; the highly secretive Northrop Grumman RQ-180 high-altitude, long-endurance, low observable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; and Northrop Grumman’s X-47 series of carrier-based, low observable strike platforms.
While the details of the platforms proposed by General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Kratos remain sketchy, there is clearly a base within industry to draw upon and work collaboratively with key allies to develop a common, interoperable platform to the benefit of all. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Sep 20. Update: AFA 2020: Lockheed Martin develops Speed Racer digital unmanned flight vehicle. Lockheed Martin has developed an unmanned flight vehicle called Speed Racer that is also a digital engineering pilot project, according to company officials.
Joe Pokora, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works programme manager, told reporters on 16 September during the Air Force Association’s (AFA’s) annual conference that Speed Racer is the design and hardware demonstration that the company undertook to help transform its operations. Speed Racer focuses on how Lockheed Martin can use this new digital engineering toolset to deliver solutions faster.
“The ultimate capability of the system is really not what the project is focusing on,” Pokora said. “What we are really working to do is show how we use the toolset and how we implement (it), starting from a one-page concept, and (bringing) that all the way through flight”.
The advantage of using digital engineering, Pokora said, is that there is one set of data. While others in various parts of the engineering process still look at it through their own toolsets, each toolset is connected to the same core information. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Sep 20. S. Korea to Invest $2.3bn to Develop Military Drones. South Korea plans to invest 2.7trn won (US$2.3bn) in the next 10 years to develop drones for military use, the arms procurement agency said Tuesday. Under the plan, the country will develop various drones to carry out missions ranging from surveillance to firing grenades and rifles, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
Combat experiments are under way with a rifle and grenade launchers attached at the bottom of drones, it said.
The agency will complete securing necessary technologies for the development of small assault drones by 2022. The actual development of the weapons systems is expected to take another four years, officials said. (Source: UAS VISION/Yonhap)
16 Sep 20. Heron Lands at Ben Gurion Airport via Remote Control. The Heron, a UAV developed and built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), landed on September 16 at Ben Gurion International Airport, becoming the first UAV to land in an international airport alongside commercial flights occupying civilian air space. The UAV took off from Ein Shemer airfield, landed at Ben Gurion, and flew back to Ein Shemer. The entire takeoff, flight, and landing were operated from the Ein Shemer control station.
This historic landing proves the maturity and safety of IAI’s Long Runner operating system, which allows UAVs to take off and land automatically on long-haul routes (ranges of up to 1500 km and more) using satellite communications technology and a combination of accurate take-off and automatic landing capability.
The Heron has an extensive operational record during the many years it’s been in use by the Israeli, German, and other nations’ air forces and is designed to carry out longer strategic and tactical missions. It can withstand severe weather conditions, carry multiple payloads (sensors), and transmit real-time information to the forces and decision-makers in the field. The Heron UAV can carry cargo up to 290 kg and can be used for a range of civilian purposes as well.
IAI EVP and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group, Moshe Levy, said, “IAI’s Heron UAV made a significant breakthrough today, landing for the first time at an international airport. The future of the world of aviation will need to allow unmanned aerial vehicles to land at civilian airports, and today this happened for the first time thanks to the hard and joint work of the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel and the Israel Airports Authority. This is a great achievement for IAI in the UAV arena.” (Source: UAS VISION)
14 Sep 20. USN Pushing for $580m for Large Unmanned Ships to Diversify Fleet, Report Says. The Navy could swap out some traditional ships with crewless vessels as the service fast-tracks its goal of adding large unmanned vehicles to the fleet, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. The Navy aims to shift toward “a more distributed fleet architecture,” one with fewer guided-missile cruisers and destroyers, more frigates and littoral combat ships and “significant numbers” of large unmanned ships and submarines, according to the research service’s “Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles” report issued Sept. 8. In its 2021 budget request to Congress, the Navy asked for nearly $580m for research and development of large unmanned vessels and use accelerated acquisition strategies “to get them into service more quickly,” according to the report.
The crewless ships will be able to “perform missions that might otherwise be assigned to manned ships and submarines,” including hunting enemy ships and submarines. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Stars and Stripes)
14 Sep 20. Boeing Fires Up Engine on First Loyal Wingman Aircraft. Boeing Australia powered up the commercial turbofan engine on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft in September, as part of ground testing and preparations for first flight.
This milestone comes on the heels of Boeing completing the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force earlier this year, a major step forward for the unmanned vehicle serving as the foundation for the global Boeing Airpower Teaming System, an artificial intelligence-powered teaming aircraft developed for the global defense market.
“This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. “We’ve been able to select a very light, off-the-shelf jet engine for the unmanned system as a result of the advanced manufacturing technologies applied to the aircraft.”
15 Sep 20. Get SAT And SeaLandAire Delivering BLOS Capable ADARO Unmanned Surface Service Vessel To US Navy. SeaLandAire Technologies, Inc., an engineering services small business with a core focus on developing small unmanned vehicles and sensor systems to collect data from difficult environments, and Get SAT, an innovator in small, lightweight satellite communication terminals for airborne, ground, and maritime applications, today announced that the U.S. Navy has selected Get SAT’s micronized, lightweight Ultra-Blade L-Band ESA (Electronically Steerable Array Antenna) for beyond line of sight (BLOS) C2 and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) exfiltration on SeaLandAire’s ADARO an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV).
The marriage of SeaLandAire’s ADARO, Get SAT’s micronized Ultra Blade L Band ESA, and INMARSAT Governments high capacity L Band service provides the Department of Defense with a low cost, highly mobile USV capable of supporting the most demanding at sea missions, including Full Motion Video backhaul. Reducing risk to force and risk to mission by removing the USV operator from the area of operation, the BLOS ADARO will make a significant impact to mission planning and approvals in high risk environments.
The ADARO is a rugged, man-portable, X-class unmanned surface vehicle designed around a modular payload capability. Its series-hybrid energy system provides quiet electric-only operation, even at top speeds, while the heavy fuel range extender significantly lengthens mission life. The platform is designed with a modular architecture to facilitate field servicing and repair. The flexible payload architecture allows extremely rapid integration of new payloads. Both software and hardware are designed for ease of use; ADARO can be set up and deployed within minutes.
Ultra-Blade is the market’s first complete all-planes ESA antenna with no moving parts whose streamlined physical characteristics, such as super low-profile, and technical achievements change the nature of mobile broadband satcom. With more than 90% antenna efficiency and the unprecedented capability to independently track any L-band satellite, Ultra Blade’s exceptional high throughput works for maritime, aviation and ground applications.
SeaLandAire President David Sparks stated, “The ADARO project is an important stride towards the future of USV surveillance operations. Our SeaLandAire team and partners are providing a solution that can be utilized to combat the fast-occurring challenges of the changing maritime and coastal domains.”
According to Jason Stephens, Get SAT VP Sales North America, “The integration of Ultra Blade’s satcom with the autonomous capabilities of ADARO provides an immediate positive impact to the warfighter. Anytime technology reduces the potential risk to personnel, Get SAT will be at the forefront of creating smart, micronized communication solutions. We are very happy with our partnership with SeaLandAire and will continue to work to provide new technologies to solve hard challenges.” (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Sep 20. Innovation call for urban drone technology. The Ministry of Defence is seeking new ways to assist military drone operators in urban environments in a new funding competition. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) are seeking innovative and novel solutions to assist military drone operators to improve usability in challenging and complex urban operations.
This cross-departmental requirement between DASA and DE&S is designed for the rapid exploitation of technology and is the first of its kind.
Up to £900,000 is available for successful proposals that can help the Ministry of Defence overcome three challenges.
The first challenge is the development of an optimised Unmanned Air System suitable for use in urban environments.
The second challenge is to develop a human-controlled lethal payload that could integrate with a platform outlined in the first challenge.
The third challenge is to demonstrate a full Unmanned Air System with an integrated payload, bringing together the separate elements of challenges 1 and 2.
We are looking for ideas that reduce the mental strain on operators and to improve performance – but solutions must ensure that they remain under full human control at all times.
It is envisaged that these innovations could in future contribute to a new capability that can remove service personnel and military dogs from complex and dangerous urban warfare situations where their lives are put at significant risk.
This competition will be run using a framework agreement. To be considered for inclusion on the framework, suppliers must first complete the compulsory Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) and Cyber Risk Assessment, by Thursday 15 October at midday BST. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
14 Sep 20. GA-ASI SEAGUARDIAN® Takes Flight. Flights Demonstrate SeaGuardian’s Capabilities in the Maritime Environment. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) concluded a set of maritime test flights over the sea-lanes off the coast of Southern California on September 11th, using the MQ-9B SeaGuardian® Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). This was the first MQ-9B configured for surveillance operations over open-water, and served to demonstrate MQ-9B capabilities in the maritime environment.
“The SeaGuardian’s debut demonstrated persistent situational awareness in the maritime domain for our customers,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. SeaGuardian is an MQ-9B SkyGuardian configured for maritime ISR mission.
The Southern California test flight demonstrated how SeaGuardian can be used for a variety of maritime missions, including surface search, subsurface search, littoral surveillance, anti-piracy and search and rescue. MQ-9B is all-weather capable, and compliant with STANAG 4671 (NATO Airworthiness type-certification standard for UAS). This feature, along with its operationally proven collision-avoidance radar, enables flexible operations in civil (including ICAO) airspace.
The aircraft onboard sensors included the GA-ASI Lynx® Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a Raytheon Intelligence & Space SeaVue Expanded Mission Capability (XMC) radar, a Raytheon Intelligence & Space Multi-Spectral Targeting System, a Leonardo Electronic Support Measure (ESM)/Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) SAGE 750, a Shine Micro Automatic Identification System (AIS), an Ultra sonobuoy receiver and a General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada sonobuoy processor.
14 Sep 20. Taiwan Target Drone Found Beached in Japan. Taiwan’s military research institute, National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) has verified that a drone found on Taketomi Island, Okinawa, is one of its own.
The military drone was found on the island September 8. Marked “MQM-107E,” the drone was identified as an American made model used by the US military, but also sold to other countries, including Taiwan.
The US military denied that it was one of their own units, and the Chinese characters for “left” and “right,” also furthered speculation that the drone may have come from Taiwan.
According to Japanese media reports, Taketomi Township received a call yesterday, September 10 from a person claiming to be a Taiwanese official. The person said “it may be one of ours.”
NCSIST confirmed via a press release this afternoon, September 11, that it did indeed belong to the military research institute. NCSIST said that the drone had been lost during recent military training exercises, and that it was not carrying any “sensitive equipment.”
The drone had been used in routine military training activities NCSIST said. (Source: UAS VISION/Taiwan English News)
14 Sep 20. US Army plans full and open competition for FTUAS. The US Army is planning to hold a full and open competition for its Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS) programme, with a request for information (RFI) expected to be released in the next few months.
Major John Holcomb, Programme Executive Office (PEO) Aviation, FTUAS assistant product manager, said on 9 September that this competition would not be limited to the four companies participating in the current FTUAS capabilities assessment, which are Martin UAV-Northrop Grumman Technology Services (NGTS), Textron, L3Harris, and Arcturus UAV.
Maj Holcomb said the US Army will go to the Army Requirements Oversight Council (AROC) for an approved requirement after it releases its RFI. Once that requirement is approved, the service will have a programme of record and will be able to start procuring systems.
The goal, Maj Holcomb said, is to have some competitive prototyping and integration with an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) effort.
“I want you to bring the best flying aircraft you can with all those…built-in sustainability and maintainability aspects,” Maj Holcomb said at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) defence conference. “Then we can work together on the kind of integration of these mission equipment and payloads (for) what we need to go toward in the future.”
Casey Still, Tactical UAS chief engineer, said on 9 September that the US Army is looking for industry solutions in four technical areas. One is a microatomic clock or a microatomic clock timing solution. The US Army wants to make sure it has solutions for when the Global Positioning System (GPS) is denied or has performance issues. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Sep 20. PLA troops in Tibet deploying UAVs for logistics support. The Tibet Military District of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide rapid logistical support to troops operating in areas that are either inaccessible by road or where the provision of supplies by road would be put at high risk by enemy forces.
Video footage released on 10 September by state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed a number of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAVs carrying boxes packed with food, water, and other supplies to troops at an undisclosed area during exercises held on the Tibetan Plateau at an altitude of 4,500 m above sea level.
The six-rotor UAVs are not seen landing at the site but rather dropping the supplies over a designated area. No details were provided about the designation or the performance of the UAVs. (Source: Jane’s)
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