Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
30 Nov 21. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has successfully completed key system-level tests for the new Protector RG Mk1 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The Protector is the UK Royal Air Force’s version of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian®, which is GA-ASI’s latest model of RPA and is on track to become the world’s first certified Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) RPA. The first Protector is expected to complete its test and evaluation program late 2022 and arrive in the UK in 2023.
The recently completed tests include Full-Scale Static Strength, High-Intensity Radiated Frequency (HIRF) and Environmental Testing. Most of the tests were performed by GA-ASI using internal research and development funding with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and U.S. Air Force supporting key elements of the HIRF testing.
“It’s exciting to see the progress of the Protector Programme,” said RAF Group Captain Shaun Gee, Director Air ISTAR Programmes (RPAS and TacISR), and SRO Shadow Programme. “GA-ASI has provided support, not only in the testing of the aircraft, but in developing this game-changing RPA platform. GA-ASI provided a company MQ-9B over this past summer and operated it from RAF bases in the UK to help us get acquainted with its operational capabilities ahead of the first delivery of Protector.”
The Full-Scale Static (FSS) test included multiple stress tests where the full fuselage, wings, tails and landing gear were tested to 150% of the highest operational loads. FSS tests the strength of all the major structures in the aircraft, verifying its safety and reliability when operated at maximum airspeeds and G-loads. This is key to demonstrating the aircraft’s airworthiness, which will enable Protector to fly in all classes of UK and international airspace.
Environmental Testing took place at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base and featured a variety of tests, such as extreme cold temperature (to -33 degrees Celsius), in-flight ice, supercooled fog, in-flight rain, high humidity, and high temperature with solar load.
High-Intensity Radiated Frequency testing occurred at the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) Test Facility at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River where the system was subjected to high-intensity electromagnetic radiation across the full operational electromagnetic spectrum. The test program also included the Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation on Ordnance (HERO) testing for the Protector weapons load-out.
“These critical system-level tests prove the safety and reliability of our aircraft to operate in extreme climates and electromagnetic environments,” said Chris Dusseault, Senior Director for the Protector RPAS at GA-ASI. “We’re proud to see the design concepts of MQ-9B be proven in operational environments bringing the Protector system one step closer to fielding with our RAF partner.”
30 Nov 21. Egypt unveils locally made drones at EDEX 2021. Two locally produced drones have made their debut at the Egypt Defence Expo this week. The Nut drone, which was co-produced by the Arab Organization for Industrialization and the Military Technical College, can perform tactical reconnaissance missions during the day and night using electro-optical technology.
It has a maximum mission payload of 50 kilograms and an endurance of 10 hours. Operators can also integrate onto the system equipment for satellite communication.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi inspected the Nut drone, named after the ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky, on the first day of the show.
The EJune-30 SW drone was also on display at the Egyptian pavilion. The UAV was made by Industrial Complex Engineering Robots in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production.
“EJune-30 looks exactly like the Emirati Yabhon United 40 unmanned aerial vehicle. It is highly probable that this is the Egyptian version of the UAV after technology transfer from the UAE to Egypt, but ICER officials at the show didn’t respond to any question regarding this subject at the show,” Mohamed al-Kenany, who leads the military studies unit at the Cairo-based Arab Forum for Analyzing Iranian Policies, told Defense News.
The Yabhon United 40 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV capable of autonomous flight operations. It is produced by Adcom Systems for the United Arab Emirates Air Force.
EJune-30 SW can automatically take off and land. It is 8.9 meter long and has a wingspan of 12 meters, a maximum takeoff weight of 1,400 kilograms, a maximum speed of 260 kph, an endurance of 24 hours, and a maximum operating altitude of 7,000 meters.
There was also a brochure at EDEX for the locally made Thebes-30 drone. There was no mockup at the show since the system is still under development. It is being designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
EDEX 2021 is taking place Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and features pavilions for several countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, France, the United States and South Korea. It’s hosting about 400 exhibitors this year. The show was scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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.