Qioptiq logo Raytheon


Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund

http: www.britbots.com/fund


03 Dec 20. US Army taps industry for Gray Eagle payloads for joint ops against high-end threats. The Army wants its Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) Gray Eagles to have synthetic aperture radars, moving target indicators, electronic intelligence and communications intelligence capability as well as air-launched effects and radar warning receivers, according to a new market survey.

Now, the Army wants help from industry with those payloads for its Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft systems. Specifically, the service is looking for systems that are capable of helping with joint operations across all warfighting domains against high-end threats from adversaries such as China and Russia, according to a solicitation published Dec. 2 to a government contracting website.

The service’s Aerial Enhanced Radar, Optics and Sensors (AEROS) product manager wants industry to “identify potential existing sources capable of providing Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) payloads for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System platform that meet the JADO environment,” the solicitation posted to Beta.Sam.Gov states.

These Gray Eagles payloads must be capable of increased ranges and resolutions “to support target location and Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) without the use of traditional line of site visual equipment to include Electro Optical, Infrared (EO/IR) and Full Motion Video (FMV) required for today’s Counter Insurgency (COIN) mission,” the request for information stresses.

Traditional COIN payloads won’t hold up against peer and near-peer adversaries, the Army noted, as they will “employ anti-access, area denial strategies, posing a significant challenge to the current AISR fleet,” the solicitation states.

Gray Eagles must survive against an “Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)-rich environment,” the request notes. This means the Gray Eagle would fly “racetrack patterns tangential to the IADS threat at 80 km distance” and would be capable of deploying Air-Launched Effects (ALE) forward into enemy territory to detect, identify and locate targets and take out or disrupt threats, according to the request.

The Gray Eagle would also have payloads that could detect IADS threats, locate them and transfer the information to other sensor systems capable of recognizing targets and coordinating long-range fires, the solicitation describes.

The Army is conducting the survey ahead of a Gray Eagle sensor payload JADO demonstration that could potentially take place in fiscal 2022 where systems will be “quantitatively compared” to find the highest performing and best value payloads based on technology readiness and production cost, the request lays out.

The solicitation for more advanced payloads for Gray Eagle comes at a time when the Army is trying to design a complex architecture of helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems that would be part of tight-knit kill chain to include space and ground assets underpinned by an advanced network.

The Army experimented with the kill chain to include air assets at Project Convergence at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, over the summer. The effort brings together future weapons and capabilities envisioned for a 2030s battlefield against near-peer adversaries such as Russia and China. It includes using a machine learning and artificial intelligence-enabled battle management system that is in development.

Gray Eagle represented a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) surrogate.

During the first mission thread at Project Convergence, which focused on the penetration phase laid out in the Army’s Multidomain Operations warfighting concept, Gray Eagles and ALE partnered with space-based assets, APNT, and LRPF capabilities to locate, then degrade and destroy enemy assets modeled after the Russian Pantsir air defense systems and other weapons.

The ALE pushed ingested data forward through the network to get it to the right shooters, whether that would be an Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system on the ground or a Gray Eagle or another ALE. The Army was able to extend the ALE capability out to almost 62 kilometers, which would provide deep standoff for manned aircraft like FARA. The ALEs performed both the reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting acquisition mission and worked as a mesh network to extend the battlefield. Two ALEs were truck launched and four were air launched.

Also during the final shot of the entire campaign at Project Convergence, a soldier on the ground took control of a LRPF munition surrogate (a Hellfire missile in this case) on a Gray Eagle and fired on the target.

The Gray Eagle at Convergence was able to route around and avoid threat weapon systems and also fired a live Dynetics-made GBU-69 small glide munition.

Previewing the future, the Army also used an open system architecture that was flexible enough for payloads and capabilities to be swapped in out of its Gray Eagles without having to rely on the original equipment manufacturer to do it. (Source: Defense News)

03 Dec 20. Yemen Claims UAE Supplied Drones to Separatists. The United Arab Emirates has armed southern separatists with unmanned drones, officials from Yemen’s intentionally-recognised government said.

The drones were allegedly shot down by government forces amid ongoing battles in Abyan, Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, the advisor to the minister of information said on Twitter.

“These aircraft were delivered to the militias by the United Arab Emirates that is proficient in targeting the army and the people of Yemen,”

Al-Rahbi said on Twitter, describing the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council as terrorist militias.

The UAE “also played the same role in Libya, where they received a harsh lesson”, Al-Rahbi said.

“What awaits them in Yemen is worse,” he warned.

Neither the UAE nor the STC have yet issued a statement.

Yemen’s internationally-recognised government has long accused the UAE of supporting the secessionists to serve Emirati interests in Yemen.  (Source: UAS VISION/The New Arab)

03 Dec 20. Northrop Grumman, Chief Information Officer Group prepare for Triton Arrival. Northrop Grumman has successfully completed Phase 1A – initial development of the MQ-4C Triton Network Integration Test Environment (NITE) for the Royal Australian Air Force at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

Phase 1A completion means CIOG can begin developing the Triton network design for Australia and to test basic Triton network configuration settings, Northrop Grumman Australia will develop NITE in three phases, allowing CIOG to progress from basic continuity testing between distributed environments to an advanced integrated capability development environment.

Chris Deeble, chief executive of Northrop Grumman Australia, said, “Construction of the test environment was completed in close partnership with the Chief Information Officer Group and will significantly flatten the learning curve to more efficiently integrate Triton into the joint force. Completion of Phase 1A is also an important milestone for Northrop Grumman in Australia, highlighting our ongoing commitment to supporting the Australian Defence Force with world-leading technology.”

Air Commodore Leon Phillips OAM, director general at CIOG, expanded on the comments of Deeble, saying, “With Air Force embracing leading edge technology in the form of the remotely piloted MQ-4C Triton, there is now a reliance on assured data flows between the air vehicle and those who operate it on the ground and disseminate what we see.”

“The NITE offers CIOG the earliest opportunity to ensure those data flows are established and verified well before our first aircraft arrives.”

Australia expects to receive its first ground control station in early 2022 and its first of six to seven Triton air vehicles in 2023. Northrop Grumman initiated the build of the first Australian Triton in October.

Remotely flying out of RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia, the Tritons are capable of monitoring 40,000 square kilometres a day and seamlessly flying a round trip for sustained surveillance and in support of allied freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea from the Northern Territory – increasing Australia’s interoperability with key allies, particularly the US.

The Triton is designed to operate in conjunction with Australia’s planned fleet of 12 manned P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft.

The nation’s Tritons provide a quantum leap in the nation’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, while the facilities and crew required to operate, train and maintain will be part of the initial $1.4bn investment, which includes $364m on new facilities at RAAF Bases Edinburgh and Tindal (in NT).

“The first of the Triton aircraft is expected to be introduced into service in mid-2023, with all six aircraft to be delivered and in operation by late 2025, based at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia,” then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the announcement of the $1.4bn acquisition. (Source: Defence Connect)

02 Dec 20. RoKA to acquire three new small UAV types from 2021. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 2 December that it has signed contracts to acquire three new types of small rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) from 2021. DAPA announced on 2 December that it has signed contracts to acquire three new types of small rotary-wing UAVs for the RoKA from 2021, including an expendable attack UAV/loitering munition from local company Darts, a UAV from UMAC Air armed with a 5.56 mm rifle, and LIG Nex1’s Direct Collision Strike Drone. (DAPA) The agency said an expendable attack UAV/loitering munition from local company Darts, a UAV from UMAC Air armed with a rifle, and LIG Nex1’s ‘Direct Collision Strike Drone’ – which can also serve as a loitering munition – will be deployed with the army on a trial basis within the next 3–6 months. DAPA pointed out that four units of the UAV made by Darts can fit into one backpack. The foldable UAV, which is armed with an explosive and fitted with sensors for target acquisition, is meant for use as a fire-and-forget weapon against enemy equipment and/or personnel at close range. The agency said the UAV is capable of finding and striking a designated target even if the operator does not control it after launch. The UAV from UMAC Air would be fitted with an S&T Motiv K2 5.56 mm pattern assault rifle, with the weapon being stabilised and buffered by the mounting interface. It features electro-optical sensors and a high-magnification zoom to enable the user to identify even distant targets. It is also equipped with a device to automatically track and aim at the target through real-time images. (Source: Jane’s)

01 Dec 20. Airbus VSR700 OPV Achieves Autonomous Takeoff and Landing from Moving Platform. The Airbus Helicopters VSR700 optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) has successfully achieved fully autonomous takeoff and landing (ATOL) approaches, validating its autonomy to and from a moving platform and advancing the VSR700 programme towards its end goal: offering a tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) with ATOL capacities for global navies.

The landing zone: a pitching, yawing platform, mounted on a trailer to simulate the conditions of a moving ship deck.

A crucial milestone

The VSR700 programme began in 2018 when Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group won a contract with the French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) to develop a future tactical drone for the French Navy. Since then, the programme has achieved many milestones in the de-risking phase, including this crucial step of demonstrating the technology needed to perform an ATOL from a battleship.

“A primary challenge for any naval drone is to approach ships in heavy seas as its landing pad moves toward or away from it, on rolling swells that reduce or lengthen the relative distance,” says Nicolas Delmas, head of the VSR700 programme. “Flying in such conditions, the difference of a few centimeters can determine the fate of an entire mission.”

The moving deck trials pave the way for the next major milestone – the forthcoming sea trials with the prototype, known as the SDAM (Système de Drone Aérien pour la Marine). These trials will put the vehicle’s navigation, positioning, flight control and auto-pilot systems to the ultimate test.

A primary challenge for any naval drone is to approach ships in heavy seas as its landing pad moves toward or away from it, … Flying in such conditions, the difference of a few centimeters can determine the fate of an entire mission.

Nicolas Delmas, head of the VSR700 programme.

A step-by-step testing approach

“Our programme has a step-by-step approach with quick development loops. This involves rapidly testing new functions with the OPV to get early feedback with a safety pilot onboard for emergencies, before putting these systems on the VSR700 prototype,” says Delmas. “Whereas the VSR700 prototype focuses on the development of vehicle performances, the OPV is primarily used to develop and validate the piloting laws and dedicated ATOL functions.”

In this context, it was on the OPV that Airbus teams developed and matured the automatic flight control system (AFCS) laws which eventually enabled the prototype to achieve an ATOL from a fixed surface earlier this year.

The approach has seen positive progress: In 2018, the OPV’s first autonomous flight without a safety pilot; in 2019, the prototype’s first autonomous tethered flight; and in 2020, the first untethered flight.

And a second prototype is on the way. Earlier this year, a second SDAM was ordered for the French Navy in the frame of the French stimulus plan, enabling the programme to further secure next steps, such as the development of technologies and refinement of specifications.

“Finding” the deck

Collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space was essential for the moving deck trials. Motion was integrated  thanks to a vehicle provided by Airbus Defence and Space known as the “DeckMotion Simulator” – a moving pad mounted on a trailer.

Ensuring the autopilot could locate and “talk” to the DeckMotion Simulator was DeckFinder, a local positioning system developed by Airbus Defence and Space that lets manned and remotely piloted aerial vehicles, including helicopters, determine their relative position in harsh environmental conditions.

“DeckFinder transmits the platform’s position in real time to the OPV’s automatic pilot with a very high level of accuracy, which cannot be achieved with classical positioning equipment like a GPS. This accuracy is crucial to achieve the final phase of the approach and the landing on a moving reference like a ship deck to enable the landing,” says Delmas.

After putting the demonstrator through a number of scenarios, including replicating sea state conditions, the test campaign will continue in order to fully validate DeckFinder’s interface with the autopilot and various systems and to get the best from its combination with the AFCS of the VSR700.

The VSR700 has the greatest endurance of any vertical takeoff/landing unmanned aerial vehicle (VUAV) in the 500 to 1,000 kg class today and will be able to carry a full load of high capability sensors, while its compact size means it can be stationed on board frigates and destroyers alongside manned helicopters. It will complement maritime security missions, search and rescue, and anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, as well as ISTAR. (Source: UAS VISION)

01 Dec 20. Chinese Helicopter Drones Ready for Delivery. Developed by the state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO), the CR500 Golden Eagle unmanned helicopter system recently passed final inspections for delivery, the company said in a statement.

Passing the final inspections indicates that NORINCO has made a breakthrough in developing and manufacturing mid-to-large-sized drone systems, the company said.

The statement did not reveal the recipient or other potential clients.

Designed to meet the demands of the arms trade, the CR500 Golden Eagle is a coaxial rotor helicopter drone designed for multiple missions including battlefield reconnaissance, target positioning and illuminating, communication relay and battle damage assessment, NORINCO said, noting that the drone, its mission payloads and ground control stations are all made by the company.

This type of helicopter drone can operate with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artilleries, as it will greatly expand their situational awareness by letting them know where the enemies are and guide them to attack, a military expert told the Global Times on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

The drone can carry a large payload, has a long endurance even when fully loaded, and a compact structure that can be easily stored and transported. It can also resist strong winds, carry different types of electro-optical pods and payloads, and act as a logistics support craft and deliver materials with pinpoint accuracy, the company said.

When equipped with weapons like machine guns and anti-tank missiles, the helicopter drone could also conduct armed reconnaissance missions, the expert said.

The unmanned helicopter also has potential for civilian use, including power grid and pipeline inspection, geological surveys, fire safety in forests and grasslands and emergency rescue, the NORINCO statement reads.

Multiple Chinese companies – state-owned and private – are now offering a variety of choice in unmanned helicopters, including the AR500C from the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the Blowfish A2 from Guangdong-based Zhuhai Ziyan UAV Company that can operate in high-altitude border regions, an unidentified model spotted on China’s Type 075 amphibious assault ship believed to be capable of amphibious combat, and the AV500 also by AVIC that can operate at night.(Source: UAS VISION/ Global Times)

03 Dec 20. The Airbus Zephyr, Solar High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) concludes a successful new test flight campaign in Arizona, USA. Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed a new test flight campaign for its Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) in Arizona, U.S.A.

The 2020 flight campaign succeeded despite global slowdowns due to the Covid19 pandemic. It focused on aircraft agility, control and operations to build upon previous campaigns, which have already proven the day and night stratospheric persistence of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) essential in military and commercial markets.

This year’s campaign held during the first three weeks of November aimed to demonstrate operational flexibility and aircraft agility, particularly testing lower altitude flying and early stage transition to the stratosphere. It also allowed the validation of a new flight planning tool suite and the development of operational concepts through multiple, varied flights in short succession.

“Having proven stratospheric flight, we continue to further mature the operational system with the objective to be more flexible and robust in order to meet our customer needs. The outcome of this campaign is a valuable contribution to the full flight programme next year,” said Jana Rosenmann, Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems at Airbus.

The campaign team used a Zephyr aircraft, fitted with new software control systems and specific flight test instruments, plus associated lighter test aircraft to conduct multiple successful test flights during November.

The flights demonstrated take-off, climb, cruise, upgraded flight control and descent phases, followed by successful landings. The objectives of the test campaign were all achieved showcasing a more resilient and capable aircraft.

Zephyr is the world’s leading, solar–electric, stratospheric Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). It harnesses the sun’s rays, running exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic, filling a capability gap complementary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services.

With the conclusion of this year’s successful test flight campaign, Zephyr has come another step closer to an operational reality. Zephyr will bring new see, sense and connect capabilities to both commercial and military customers alike. Zephyr will provide the potential to revolutionize disaster management, including monitoring the spread of wildfires or oil spills. It provides persistent surveillance, tracing the world’s changing environmental landscape and will be able to provide communications to the most unconnected parts of the world.

Already in July 2018, the Zephyr team conducted a successful test flight campaign when Zephyr S flew in the stratosphere for nearly 26 days (25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes?). It remains the longest flight duration of an aircraft ever made without refuelling. The aircraft persisted in the stratosphere day and night, consistently achieved a dawn altitude of 60,000ft as well as its highest altitude of 71,140ft.

01 Dec 20. SpearUAV – developers and suppliers of unique UAS solutions for defense and HLS applications – successfully demonstrated its leading encapsulated drone system, the Ninox 40 Hand-Held, to the Department of Defense (DOD), in the presence of representatives from the U.S. Army (Army), U.S. Navy (USN), U.S. Marines (USMC), and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“There is a growing need in the world for technologies and solutions that give autonomy to the tactical teams in the field,” says Gadi Kuperman, Founder and CEO of SpearUAV. “The Ninox 40 is the first ever drone system to give immediate ISTAR capabilities to any soldier, law enforcement officer or homeland security personnel, independent of any other equipment. The successful live-demo is an additional step in Spear’s expansion into the U.S. market, and we are looking forward to further cooperation”.

Ninox 40

Specifically designed for single-user operation, this micro-tactical drone system features an encapsulated drone and control unit. Weighing under 250g – within regulatory limitations – it is lightweight enough to be incorporated into the soldier’s vest and carried on the person during combat. The Ninox 40 has a flight capacity of up to 40 minutes, extensive ISTAR capabilities, day and night camera for enhanced situational awareness, automatic tracking, and can be launched on the move and from under cover.

30 Nov 20. Norinco’s CR500 VTOL UAV cleared for delivery to undisclosed customer. The China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) announced on 27 November that its Golden Eagle CR500 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has completed final inspections and been cleared for delivery to an undisclosed costumer.

The company released an image via its WeChat account showing a total of five CR500s – each of which is fitted with a chin-mounted electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret – and what appeared to be two truck-mounted ground control stations at an undisclosed location.

Norinco said the move marked a “leap forward in the development and production” of the multirole UAV but provided no further details about the image or the intended customer.

The company said that the strike-capable CR500, which features coaxial rotors and can carry various payloads depending on the mission, can be used for battlefield reconnaissance, target acquisition, electronic warfare, communication relay, and damage assessment operations. (Source: Jane’s)

30 Nov 20. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) delivered the final two MQ-9A Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and a Ground Control Station (GCS) to the Spanish Air Force (SpAF) on Nov. 23, 2020, completing a Foreign Military Sales acquisition of four aircraft and three GCSs. The new MQ-9s will be operated by the 233rd Squadron at Talavera la Real Air Base near Badajoz, Spain.

The final delivery was preceded by acceptance test procedures (ATP) completed at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif. on Sep. 29, 2020. The ATPs were witnessed by the U.S. Air Force MQ-9 System Program Office (SPO) acting on behalf of Spain’s Directorate General for Armament and Materiel (DGAM) procurement team due to COVID-19 restrictions. The successful ATPs, in conjunction with the integration of System 1 by the SpAF in Badajoz, Spain, resulted in Spain’s issuance of an Airworthiness Military Type Certificate for the aircraft, which is first time this has been done for the MQ-9A Block 5. This measure certifies that the entire system, including the maintenance, is safe for personnel in the air and on the ground. It is also a key hurdle to clear to operate in national airspace.

“We are proud of our partnership with the Spanish Air Force,” said Tommy Dunehew, vice president of International Strategic Development for GA-ASI. “We appreciate the confidence the Spanish authorities have shown in the MQ-9 by issuing this type certificate and we look forward to seeing the system successfully operate in support of the country´s national Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements.”

Besides being the first for the issuance of the Airworthiness Military Type Certificate, Spain’s program represents the first MQ-9A Block 5 acquisition by an international partner. Other milestones for the program have included the SpAF taking initial delivery of its MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft at the end of 2019 and launching its first flight in January 2020. The 233rd Squadron has flown nearly 300 hours with its MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft and is steadily building the expertise of its crewmembers and maintainers as the SpAF moves towards declaring the Initial Operational Capability for the system.

30 Nov 20. Royal Navy’s future Type 32 frigate to be ‘platform for autonomous systems.’ More details have emerged today about the Royal Navy’s future Type 32 Frigate, with the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin writing that the ships will be a platform for autonomous systems.

More details have emerged today about the Royal Navy’s future Type 32 Frigate, with the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin writing that the ships will be a platform for autonomous systems.

While still in a concept phase, the future Type 32 Frigate was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace earlier this month as the UK Government unveiled a massive increase in defence spending.

Responding to a written parliamentary question, Quin said: “Further work is required to develop the operational concept however it is envisioned that Type 32 will be a platform for autonomous systems, adding to the Navy’s capabilities for missions such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures.”

The future class of ships are set to be procured after the current batch of five Type 31 Frigates has been completed. The timeline had prompted some speculation that the future class of Frigates could be used as ‘motherships’ for the UK’s future autonomous minehunting systems.

In a separate answer, Quin said that the number of Type 32 ships to be procured has yet to be determined due to the early-stage nature of the programme.

Last week, the UK announced it had invested a further £184m into the development of an autonomous minehunting system under a joint programme with France.

The £184m investment in the Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM) programme will see further funding go to Thales and L3 Harris work into the development of autonomous systems able to detect and neutralise sea mines.

The UK is looking to autonomous capabilities to replace its crewed Hunt and Sandown-class minehunting ships once they go out of service. The first of the three sets will be delivered in late 2022 where it will undergo operational evaluations before being transitioned into service.

Speaking to the defence select committee last week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the new Type 32 Frigates would not come in the next five years, but that the hope was it would follow from the Type 31.

Wallace said: “They will be able to be used for Nato, and we can probably reveal more details about those as we go. The Navy has requested another class of ship; that is the Type 32.” (Source: naval-technology.com)

30 Nov 20. LIG Nex1 unveils Sea Sword 3 USV. South Korean defence contractor LIG Nex1 unveiled the latest iteration of its unmanned surface vehicle (USV) family, Hae Gum 3 (Sea Sword 3), at the Defense and Security Expo Korea (DX Korea) 2020 exhibition in Seoul in mid-November.

Sea Sword 3 is being developed under a civilian-military technology co-operation project led by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) Institute of Civil-Military Technology Cooperation (ICMTC).

The USV has been optimised for coastal operations and can be used to perform various types of missions with the appropriate mission equipment, including a surveillance and reconnaissance suite. It will also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-driven autonomous navigation/obstacle avoidance technology.

The displacement and physical characteristics of the Sea Sword 3 USV are understood to be comparable with that of the Sea Sword 2. Janes earlier reported that the latter – which features a displacement of 11 tonnes – has an overall length of 12 m and a 3.5 m beam. However, Sea Sword 3 can optionally carry up to eight personnel, while Sea Sword 2 can only accommodate up to two personnel.

In terms of armament, Sea Sword 3 is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and a 2.75 inch calibre guided rocket launcher towards the stern, unlike the preceding Sea Sword 1 and 2 designs.

LIG Nex1 representatives told Janes that the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) operates several types of patrol boats for coastal security and reconnaissance missions, and is positioning the Sea Sword 3 to replace these. (Source: Jane’s)

27 Nov 20. India’s EyeROV readies improved Tuna ROV. EyeROV, a startup funded by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), is looking to expand research and development (R&D) work on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for defence applications.

Kannappa Palaniappan, chief technology officer and co-founder at EyeROV, told Janes that the company is looking to evolve its EyeROV Tuna ROV with new capabilities.

The Tuna is a two-man-portable, inspection-class ROV designed for critical infrastructure inspection and underwater surveillance operations up to a depth of 100 m. The ROV measures approximately 0.4 m long, weighs around 15 kg, and features a modular design that can accommodate customised tool packages based on the mission requirement.

The ROV is equipped with four horizontal and one vertical thruster configuration that provides a cumulative thrust of 9 kgf to withstand surge and sway, as well as a cruise speed of 2 kt. The vehicle can be powered either by an external source or an onboard rechargeable battery that can provide an endurance of up to 3 hours.

It is fitted with various sensors and mission equipment, including a low-light 1,080 p high-definition camera, secondary digital zoom camera, two 1,500-lumen LED lamps, and navigation sensors such as accelerometer, depth sensor, gyroscope, and compass. The vehicle is also fitted with multiple safety checks such as leak indicators, system voltage, and internal temperature sensor.

The operator display unit features a 33 cm, sunlight-readable colour monitor with video overlay that displays heading, depth, tilt position, date, and time. The vehicle is integrated with an onboard Ethernet serial interface for transmitting real-time data. (Source: Jane’s)


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.



Back to article list