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25 Nov 20. Martin UAV Advances to Mi2 Expeditionary UAS Tech Demo. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) AIRWorks has selected Martin UAV to participate in the Mi2 Technology Demonstration live event at the Yuma Proving Grounds between Nov. 30 and Dec. 18, 2020.
The Tech Demo is the second phase of the Mi2 Challenge intended to accelerate the identification and evaluation of next-generation Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) capable of operating in austere deployed environments without ancillary support systems.
Of 13 submissions sent, only two* were selected to move forward to the technology demonstration phase. During the live event, Martin UAV will have an opportunity to showcase the V-BAT, a state-of-the-art Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS.
“Martin UAV’s opportunity to participate in the Challenge and demonstrate the technologically advanced V-BAT is a direct reflection of our vision to change mission requirements and capability offerings as the Navy currently knows them,” says Heath Niemi, Vice President of Global Sales and a retired U.S. Army colonel. “If successful, the V-BAT will be the first tail-sitting, fixed-wing UAS ever deployed by the U.S. Navy that supports vertical takeoff with a single-engine ducted fan, which transitions to straight and level flight, hovers and stares, contains interchangeable payloads, and has an open architecture. It would not just be a new aircraft for the Navy – it would be an entirely new way of operating.”
Martin UAV owner and Chief Executive Ruben Martin commented, “With an extensive military background, the Martin UAV team reacts instantly to the warfighter in order to get them the best VTOL UAS, the V-BAT, to better accomplish their mission.”
The V-BAT is currently deployed in various areas of operation around the world in support of the U.S. Department of Defense, such as the U.S. Army’s Future Tactical UAS program, SOUTHCOM/JIATF-S, the U.S. Marine Corps with an expeditionary unit, and the U.S. Coast Guard. (Source: UAS VISION)
27 Nov 20. Ukraine JV with Turkey to Produce 48 Bayraktar Drones. Ukraine is forming a joint venture company with Turkey to domestically produce as many as 48 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.
The news came from Vadym Ihorovych, General Director of Ukrspetsexport, a state-owned Ukrainian defense manufacturer, in an interview with online publication Left Bank.
Bayraktar TB2 is manufactured by Turkey’s Baykar Makina, a manufacturer of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and artificial intelligence systems.
In 2019, Ukrspetsexport and Baykar Makina established Black Sea Shield to develop UAS, engine technologies, and guided munitions. Ihorovych said a company similar to Black Sea Shield is now being formed to undertake the production of the drones in Ukraine.
“We are interested in the development of production of Bayraktar TB2 strike drones, as the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine … plans to purchase 6 to 12 such strike complexes in the near future,” Ihorovych said.
Ihorovych further explained the joint venture’s current focus is to manufacture the Scythian anti-tank guided missile. He added that Turkey has already placed an order for the missiles.
Ukraine Could Export Drones
On the possibility of exporting the drones to a third country, Ihorovych said the two companies have agreed to let Ukraine export them to any country, barring those to which Turkey already exports the drones.
“There is already an agreement with the Turkish side that we do not go to those countries where they are already present with these products – to the same Azerbaijan, for example,” he said.
Bayraktar TB2 drones have recently been in the news for reportedly playing an important role in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In a write-up about the conflict, military warfare blog Oryx described a September 27 incident in which the TB2s fired Roketsan MAM-L Smart Munitions, striking at least three Armenian 9K33 Osa and three 9K35 Strela-10 mobile surface-to-air missile systems, leaving Armenian forces clueless about how to deal with the unmanned aircraft.
However, the drones built in Ukraine will be slightly different from the ones manufactured in Turkey, Ihorovych said. (Source: UAS VISION/The Defense Post)
27 Nov 20. Indian Navy Inducts Two Sea Guardians on Lease. In a sign of growing closeness between India and the United States amid conflict with China, the Indian Navy has inducted two Sea Guardian drones from an American firm on lease for carrying out surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region and which can also be deployed along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh.
The American drones have been inducted by the Navy under the emergency procurement powers granted by the Defence Ministry in view of the India-China border conflict.
“The drones arrived in India in the second week of November and were inducted into flying operations on November 21 at Indian Navy base at INS Rajali,” top government sources told ANI.
The drones have already started flying operations and with an endurance capability of being in the air for over 30 hours, they are proving to be a big asset for the maritime force, they said.
An American crew from the vendor is also accompanying the equipment and would help the Navy to operate the machines, the sources said.The drones are flying in Indian colours and would be on lease with India for one year even as the three services are preparing the case for acquiring 18 more such drones from the US, the sources said.
The two non-weaponised MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones have been leased for one year with an option of extending the period by another year, they said. (Source: UAS VISION/ANI)
24 Nov 20. Chinese media show Wing Loong-series UAV being used to airdrop supplies. Chinese state-owned media have released video footage showing a Wing Loong-series medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) apparently being trialled by the Chinese military in the logistics support role.
Released on 20 November by Weihutang, a programme about military affairs from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), the footage shows a munition-shaped canister – which CCTV says was carrying “supplies” – being loaded onto one of the UAV’s underwing hardpoints.
Once in flight the multirole UAV is shown dropping the canister, which descends to a designated area via parachute and is then recovered.
Weihutang noted that the video footage was originally released by the UAV’s manufacturer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), but provided no further details, including when and where the images were taken.
The move was apparently aimed at demonstrating the platform’s capabilities to quickly and accurately airdrop urgently needed supplies to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units.
The demonstration is yet another indication of the PLA’s drive to boost the role played by UAVs in logistics support, as well as to enhance the military’s capability to supply frontline troops as quickly as possible 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.
For instance, the PLA’s Tibet Military District (TMD) released footage on 4 October showing several vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAVs being used to provide rapid logistical support to troops operating in the remote Motuo region in China’s southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Nov 20. Perth SME partners with Defence for robotics program. A Perth-based robotics company has been tasked with developing a remotely operated autonomous system for use in evacuating casualties from the battlefield. West Australian technology company Chironix has signed a $160,000 contract with Defence to deliver a robotic command and control system designed to safely evacuate casualties from the battlefield using an autonomous vehicle.
The command and control system, currently at the proof-of-concept stage, is also expected to enable deployed soldiers to request supplies or perform other logistical tasks robotically.
As part of the agreement with Defence, Chironix has also been tasked with exploring the use of driverless technology in vehicle convoys across a range of difficult military environments.
Reflecting on the agreement, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Perth-based firm demonstrated its robotics and software engineering capabilities through its engagements with Defence and the US Office of Naval Research.
“Technological evolution and innovation in land combat and protected vehicle capability is integral to giving Australia a warfighting edge,” Minister Price said.
“A key contributor to this will be the development of a robust, resilient and internationally competitive Australian defence industry.
“It is for that reason that the Morrison government is proud to partner with Chironix and invest in developing autonomous systems capabilities.
Minister Price added: “Our investment helps create a highly skilled workforce and intellectual property that will enable the ongoing and agile evolution of land combat and protected vehicle technologies.”
According to federal member for Curtin, Celia Hammond MP, the partnership between Defence and Chironix would help support Western Australia’s local defence industry, and advance its reputation as a home for defence research and innovation.
“Chironix is showing just how capable our defence industry is not only here in WA, but right across Australia and across the world,” Hammond said.
“This sort of technology has the potential to be a game-changer for our soldiers on the front line and I am so impressed that is being developed here in Osborne Park.” (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Nov 20. On 20 November, Canada, Romania and NATO partner Australia joined the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative which was launched in October 2018. Other NATO members include: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. According to a NATO statement, “the Maritime Unmanned Systems Initiative allows participants to work together on all aspects associated with introducing unmanned systems into their navies.”
NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand stated that new unmanned technologies were developing into a “game-changer in countering multiple threats in the maritime domain.”
So far the Initiative has led to operational experimentations, work with the private commercial sector on innovation and the further development of specific capabilities. (Source: Armada)
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