Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
04 Feb 21. Paras Aerospace and SpearUAV sign an MoU to introduce revolutionary Micro-tactical UAV in India. Both Israeli and Indian companies will address the needs of the Indian defence and paramilitary sectors, including adapting the unique encapsulated Ninox 40 system. Aero India 2021. SpearUAV – developers and suppliers of unique Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) solutions for defence and Homeland Security (HLS) applications from Israel – has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian company, Paras Aerospace, a subsidiary of Paras Defence and Space Technologies Limited, to introduce the unique encapsulated Ninox 40 system to the Indian market for use by military forces, paramilitary, internal security, and law enforcement agencies.
Speaking about the collaboration, Yishai Amir, CEO of SpearUAV, said, “The defence sector in India faces many challenges in surveillance of multiple international borders, in jungles and wooded areas as well as dealing with extreme natural forces, such as monsoon storms, cyclones and earthquakes. These challenges apply to the special forces, army, navy, various internal security divisions, and national disaster response teams. The cooperation between our companies will address the many needs of these forces, in order to give every soldier, officer and first responder an immediate ISTAR capability to complete their mission and save lives.”
“We are very pleased to cooperate with Paras, which is a well-known company in the field of defence and aerospace in India. ” Amir added.
Specifically designed for single-user operation, the Ninox 40 is a micro-tactical, cost-effective drone system, featuring 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-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, even in harsh environmental conditions.
Sharing similar views, Pankaj Akula, CEO of Paras Aerospace, remarked “Paras is a recognised and a well-known defence technology provider catering to the Indian government organisations like DRDOs and Defence PSUs and the private sector across India and to companies from other Asian and Middle Eastern countries.”
Munjal Shah, Managing Director of Paras Defence and Space Technologies Limited, said, “Paras and SpearUAV, together, have collaborated to introduce a revolutionary Micro-tactical UAV that will be adapted for the needs of military and first responders forces in India to enhance their preparedness. The two companies are working with their respective defence ministries to explore opportunities. Our cooperation will leverage these unique technologies and deepen their use in India.”
“This kind of drone is of high relevance to India considering the number of internal and external threats the country is facing. As part of our joint activity, we also plan to provide a local response through the transfer of production and technology to India, in accordance with government policy,” Pankaj added.
Founded in 2017, Spear is a privately-owned HLS and defence solutions company. The company’s team combines expertise in areas such as drones, aerospace, AI, software, communications and more.
Applying project-based technical know-how and cross-forces operational experience to emerging commercial technology, Spear delivers immediate tactical superiority on today’s chaotic battlefield. Used by military, government and civilian organizations around the globe, its broad range of solutions is currently disrupting the world of unmanned aerial systems.
Spear is a certified sole supplier to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and is expanding its global customer base by offering tailored solutions based on its unmatched capability.
About Paras Aerospace
Paras Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. is a subsidiary company of Paras Defence and Space Technologies Ltd. The company aims to become the leading Indigenous technology development company that provides solutions for various requirements of UAVs in India and worldwide for both hardware and software. The company offers a wide range of development, integration, manufacturing and certification of UAV systems. The prime verticals of the company include military UAV, industrial UAV, Iindigenous payload development, regulatory compliance consultancy and an agriculture focused UAV. The company also offers end-to-end solutions across multiple domains, including NPNT compliance software, perimeter inspection solutions, agri-tech solutions, construction monitoring, energy (power grid, solar & wind), forestry, plant inspection (oil and gas). engineering consultancy is provided to companies looking towards drone automation. The company has partnerships with leading UAV Technologists from Israel and Italy. The flagship products are a cloud based NPNT as a service software and indigenous multispectral camera.
04 Feb 21. Kongsberg Maritime to launch next generation HUGIN Endurance AUV. Kongsberg Maritime is proud to announce the next generation of its advanced HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). Named HUGIN Endurance, the new AUV boosts operational duration to approximately 15 days, enabling extended survey and inspection missions far from shore.
This longevity allows HUGIN Endurance to undertake extensive missions without the support of a mothership. Shore-to-Shore operations offer the opportunity to reduce carbon footprint for commercial activities and yet retain unrivalled data resolution and accuracy. With this in mind, KONGSBERG has added its Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) communications system to HUGIN Endurance’s payload, allowing it to surface and share large quantities of data swiftly with any suitably equipped installation, such as another vessel, shore station or a wind turbine fitted with an MBR antenna.
For defence applications, HUGIN Endurance makes persistence a reality. Whether it is long range military survey; wide area mine detection, classification and identification; or even patrolling a choke point listening for submarines, this new extended range capability offers new solutions to existing and future challenges.
HUGIN AUVs already set the standard for autonomous underwater operations thanks to their rugged reliability and accurate, cutting-edge sensor payloads. The HUGIN Endurance is no exception; it can be equipped with a wide array of sensors including the high-resolution KONGSBERG HiSAS synthetic aperture sonar, a wide swath multibeam echo sounder, sub-bottom profiler and magnetometer, together with other sensors to detect parameters such as methane, current and turbidity.
This proven portfolio of hydroacoustic sensors, communications and other technologies – teamed with unparalleled operational range – ensures that HUGIN Endurance is well equipped for advanced situational awareness scanning, and mapping/inspection activities for far-field applications such as offshore wind farms. It also delivers significant sustainability benefits, not only when contrasted with conducting operations from surface vessels but also compared with other AUV operations, as the reduction in the need for surface support further diminishes the environmental footprint.
“We are proud to launch HUGIN Endurance, which represents a step change in AUV operations,” says Richard Mills, Vice President of Marine Robotics Sales, Kongsberg Maritime. “Teaming long endurance with large area coverage capabilities allows a single AUV to map areas up to 1,100 square kilometres in a single mission – a target impossible until now. With its unprecedented long-range capability and advanced communications, HUGIN Endurance sets a new standard for autonomous subsea mapping and inspection, yielding unmatched operational flexibility, efficiency and sustainability.”
03 Feb 21. UAV Center of Excellence in India Announced. Leading Indian advanced technology company BEML and Czech innovation company Primoco UAV agreed on the cooperation in the field of Unmanned aerial technology. Both companies signed a Memorandum of understanding during the Aero India 2021 show and agreed to cooperate with an aim to establish a Center of excellence for unmanned technology for the region within the BEML organization.
Both parties are fully following the Make in India policy and see a wide potential for rapid development of the cooperation allowing them to implement a common solution into several segments of the Indian economy and law enforcement and defence areas.
Ladislav Semetkovský, founder and CEO of Primoco UAV SE, was highlighting the potential of the cooperation, “We are excited about the cooperation possibilities. The current wide portfolio of BEML is naturally supporting the idea of unmanned technology implementation through our One 150 UAV model. With the capabilities of our Indian partner, we are sure our UAV will be a huge benefit for the civilian sectors such as for railway track monitoring or mining area scanning, and also for law enforcement, defense surveillance and monitoring missions. We expect our common UAV project to be attractive for the whole region. I would like to thank to BEML management for selecting us as a partner for the development of Indian UAV technology.”
The Primoco One 150 UAV is a medium range unmanned aerial vehicle able to carry up to 30 kg of payload within its 150 kg maximum take off weight limit. The latter value clearly defines the approval process needed for the UAV to be used both as a civilian or state aircraft. The flight parameters such as 15+ hours endurance, 200 km direct radio reach with option for SatCom, 2 000 km range and full automatization of take-off, flight and landing, make it a perfect platform for wide variety of missions.
The Shri Ajit Kumar Srivastav of BEML commented the cooperation as follows: “For BEML this step into the UAV market is a natural direction of progress. We are delighted by the opportunity to build a Center of excellence in India able to perform assembly, production, full flight operation, customization, maintenance and training up to the latest standards. The fact that Primoco UAV is approved as a Production and Design organization as per EMAR rules and is also compliant to EASA SORA rules gives a guarantee of introduction of the latest available technology. This combination of certificates and approvals of Primoco UAV is a condition for successful transfer of technology. We are already discussing initial projects with potential customers and we see a tremendous potential for an Indian-made UAV to fulfil a wide variety of tasks in India and in the region. We want to become a clear leader in this technology, able to produce at the latest level of knowledge needed for safe operation of UAVs within general airspace.”
As per the Memorandum the Center of excellence will be built on the latest European standards and is aimed to become the benchmark for mid-class UAV operation in the region. It will provide a full range of services from assembly to post-delivery support and training in operation of the One 150 model to Indian and regional customers.
About Primoco UAV
The Czech company Primoco UAV develops and produces the One 150 civilian and military unmanned aircraft, capable of flying completely independently according to programmed flight plans. The key features of the aircraft are its size, maximum take-off weight 150 kg, 15 hours endurance, 2 000 km range, cruising speed 100-150 km/h, payload 30 kg and fully automatic take-off and landing. The company focuses on civilian & military applications for the aircraft especially in energy, border and coastal security, fire monitoring and search and rescue operations. The company’s aircraft are in operation on three continents. Primoco UAV is a publicly traded company on the Prague Stock Exchange in the PX START market.
BEML Limited (formerly Bharat Earth Movers Limited) was established in May 1964 as a Public Sector Undertaking for manufacture of Rail Coaches & Spare Parts and Mining Equipment at its Bangalore Complex. The Company has partially disinvested and presently Government of India owns 54 percent of total equity and rest 46 percent is held by Public, Financial Institutions, Foreign Institutional Investors, Banks and Employees. BEML Limited, a ‘Schedule-A’ Company, plays a pivotal role and serves India’s core sectors like Defence, Rail, Power, Mining and Infrastructure.(Source: UAS VISION)
03 Feb 21. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) announces its plan to take a company-owned SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft to the United Kingdom later this year to undertake a series of operational capability demonstrations for NATO allies, including the Netherlands. The UK’s Protector program is a derivative of SkyGuardian with a range of UK modifications and the Royal Air Force (RAF) is supporting this visit.
The GA-ASI aircraft will be configured with maritime capability, including a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System receiver, and a High-Definition, Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This will build on previous GA-ASI demonstrations showcasing the unmanned advantage, which include the transatlantic flight of SkyGuardian in 2018, maritime demonstrations in Greece in 2019 and last year’s validation flights in Japan.
“GA-ASI will work closely with multiple European allies to demonstrate the capabilities of MQ-9B, including in the maritime environment, and how MQ-9B can complement and team within a networked environment with other national assets,” said Tommy Dunehew, vice president of International Strategic Development for GA-ASI.
The series of civilian and military capability events is expected to kick off in July at the Royal Air Force’s Waddington Air Base and will culminate with the MQ-9B’s participation in the UK-led Joint Warrior exercise that will showcase how maritime capabilities can be integrated with other air, surface and land platforms. SkyGuardian flights will further develop GA-ASI’s revolutionary Detect and Avoid capability, which will enable Protector to fly in unsegregated UK airspace. It will also assist RAF Waddington, the future home of the RAF Protector fleet, to best prepare to integrate the new aircraft into its daily operations.
MQ-9B represents the next generation of RPA system having demonstrated airborne endurance of more than 40 hours, automatic takeoffs and landings under SATCOM-only control and the Detect and Avoid system. Its development is the result of a company-funded effort to deliver an RPA that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various military and civil authorities.
MQ-9B has garnered significant interest from customers throughout the world. The UK Ministry of Defence selected MQ-9B SkyGuardian for its Protector program, and in 2020 signed the production contract for deliveries to the Royal Air Force. SkyGuardian was selected by the Australian Defence Force under Project Air 7003, and the Belgian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for SkyGuardian.
02 Feb 21. Pierce Aerospace and Northrop Grumman Enter into Mentor-Protégé Partnership. Pierce Aerospace announced that it has entered into a mentor-protege relationship with Northrop Grumman through its Defense Systems Sector.
Mentor-Protégé programs between small businesses and prime contractors like Northrop Grumman expand small business footprints into the defense industrial base and government marketplaces, including advancing technical development and strengthening small business opportunities with the US Government.
“We’re excited to work with Northrop Grumman in this Mentor-Protégé program,” said Aaron Pierce, CEO of Pierce Aerospace. “We’ve worked with Northrop to execute Remote ID integrations in the field with our Flight Portal ID technology suite and Northrop’s M-ACE counter-drone and Forward Area Air Defense C2 (FAAD C2) products. Northrop is an advocate for our Remote ID / Combat ID technology and this is a great alignment as FAAD C2 is selected for use with the US Army-led Joint Counter UAS office. Importantly, this mentor program bolsters our vision for growth as Northrop brings it’s experience and expertise to aid in the development of our overall business capabilities.”
Mentor-Protege programs aid non-traditional defense contractors to grow their small businesses capabilities as a bridge to success when working with the US Government. This includes opportunities for technology mentorship and advancement of a small business’s structure, organization, and processes for working with and growing when contracting with the US Government.
“Northrop Grumman Armament Systems is committed to working with only the very best innovative small companies in America,” said Rob Menti, Senior Manager Business Development at Northrop Grumman Armament Systems. “Pierce Aerospace’s Flight Portal ID technology is going to be one of the best of breed Remote ID protocols in the very near future.”
“This relationship is a great fit for advancing Flight Portal ID with much needed Remote ID and Combat ID capabilities across the C-UAS and UTM environments,” said Pierce. “Northrop Grumman has vast technical experience in developing open architectures and common operating pictures that provide capabilities to other industry parties, such as through the FAAD C2 product. We too operate with a mission objective of providing interoperation of Flight Portal ID across government and private sector UAS systems, including UTM, C-UAS, and UAS OEMs”.
Northrop Grumman Defense Systems supports global customers at the tactical edge to: enable missions on the front lines of national security; deter near peer and asymmetric threats; and deliver readiness through modernization and sustainment of aircraft, software and electronics systems.
Northrop Grumman Defense Systems, in support of its internal goals and its domestic/international customs, is prepared to support this Mentor-Protégé initiative, and understands the criticality of transferring enabling knowledge & skills to strategic partners in the Small Business community. Defense Systems continues to grow and nurture relationships with strategic partners and creates new relationships where synergies are found to enable better use of resources and maintain cost effective operations.
About Pierce Aerospace:
Pierce Aerospace is a niche Remote ID service provider focused on practical and robust integration of Remote ID services into the unmanned ecosystem. As an industry leader, Pierce Aerospace serves on the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, ASTM F38 UAS Remote ID Committee, and the FAA’s Remote ID Cohort. Funds from the US Air Force and the State of Indiana have supported Pierce Aerospace’s Flight Portal ID suite of Remote ID technologies. Flight Portal ID was nominated as Indiana’s Innovation of the Year by Techpoint and was awarded first place in Remote ID technology by AUVSI’s Xcellence Awards. Pierce Aerospace is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Racing Capital of the World. (Source: UAS VISION)
01 Feb 21. US Army heads into future tactical unmanned aircraft rodeo next month. The U.S. Army is heading into a culminating event used to evaluate four different unmanned aircraft systems capable of replacing the service’s current tactical UAS — the Textron-made Shadow.
The service will hold a “rodeo” at Fort Benning, Georgia, the last week of February through the first week of March where all five of the Brigade Combat Teams which spent the last year evaluating Future Tactical UAS systems will be represented, Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of Army aviation modernization, told Defense News in a recent interview.
The Army selected four UAS in 2019 as candidates to replace the Shadow. Each candidate would undergo soldier assessments to help inform requirements for a FTUAS capability that would fit into a future vertical lift ecosystem, including new helicopters and other air-launched platforms.
The service first selected two teams to provide systems for the soldier-led evaluation in March 2019: Martin UAV and Textron’s AAI Corporation. Martin UAV teamed with Northrop Grumman to provide its V-Bat UAS. Textron offered its Aerosonde HQ.
But shortly after, the Army added two more aircraft to the mix: the Arcturus-UAV Jump 20 system and L-3 Harris’ FVR-90. Aerovironment purchased Arcturus this month.
Each of these systems have already been through a rodeo of sorts, participating in a rigorous fly-off from December 2018 through January 2019 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The competition helped the service select the system for the soldier-assessment phase.
The Army will brief senior leaders attending the event on the data it has been able to garner through the work the BCTs did in 2020 to evaluate the systems, Rugen said. The 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division was the last to wrap up its evaluation at the end of the year.
Each unit was provided just one of the candidate systems, so the rodeo will bring each of the aircraft back on one playing field.
“We are probably 90 percent done on the requirement document,” Rugen said, but the service is waiting for the last bit of data to come in from the 82nd. The requirements document should be complete by the time the rodeo begins.
“It’s an agile process, that as different data comes in, well, we’re still open to change,” he added.
Once the rodeo is over, the Army will tee all of the information up for an Army decision. Rugen said an Army Requirements Oversight Council deliberation could come as early as next quarter.
“I’m very optimistic as to how it will be received,” Rugen said, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. “But I tell you, soldiers are demanding this. They all wanted to keep it.”
Coming out of the year-long evaluation period, Rugen said that he was hopeful that the Army would get a revolutionary, not evolutionary, new tactical UAS capability that isn’t tied to a runway, that has a lower acoustic signature and that has far lower equipment requirements in order to transport the system organically within a unit.
Rugen said a unit at the National Training Center was already able to use the system far more frequently in a 10-day period than Shadow, showing the ease of deploying the capability. “We’re seeing a far more agile capability,” he said, “and a far more effective capability at a much lower price point, both on cost, but also on personnel in the unit.”
If Army leadership delivers a positive AROC decision, the service can then move the program into a full and open competition.
And the Army plans to move quickly.
“With all these innovative approaches, what we’re not going to be wed to is what we would have traditionally done, which is we’d get a [capabilities development document] and we’d wait some period of time while we went through a bunch of machinations,” Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, the program executive officer for Army Aviation, said in the same interview. “We’re going to look for the most innovative approach and it will be dependent on how that requirement, how close that requirement is to something that we can readily get and that we’re demonstrating already.” (Source: Defense News)
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