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02 Mar 22. Ukraine conflict: Turkey airlifts additional TB2 UCAVs to Ukraine. Turkey has airlifted additional Baykar Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on 2 March that new combat ready TB2s had arrived in the country as part of a wider package of international military assistance.
“The amount of help we are receiving is increasing […]. Ukraine has already [received] and [put] on combat standby new [Bayraktar UCAVs],” Reznikov announced. The minister’s statement followed rumours of a delivery of new TB2s from Turkey after a Turkish Air Force Airbus A400M transport aircraft was tracked flying from Ankara to Poland on 1 March.
Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was known to have received six TB2s from Turkey. The minister did not say how many additional TB2s had been delivered.
The TB2 is the only UCAV in Ukrainian service and was first used by the country in October 2021 when a separatist D-30 122 mm howitzer in the breakway Donbass region was targeted and destroyed. Footage released by the Ukrainian government since the launch of offensive Russian operations on 24 February has shown the TB2s to have been heavily engaged in the fighting, destroying several ground vehicles including Buk surface-to-air missile systems.
The TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was developed to provide the Turkish Army with a tactical intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance capability. According to Janes All the World’s Aircraft: Unmanned, it is 6.5 m long and has a 12 m wingspan. With a maximum take-off weight of 630 kg, the air vehicle can carry up to 55 kg in mission system and/or weapons payload. Performance specifications give the Bayraktar TB2 a cruising speed of 70 kt, a range of 150 km, an endurance of 24 hours, and a service ceiling of nearly 30,000 ft. (Source: Janes)
03 Mar 22. GA-ASI Introduces GAMBIT. New Autonomous Collaborative Platform Designed to Lead from Front. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the world leader in unmanned aircraft and associated technologies, proudly announces its newest UAS platform: Gambit.
Like the chess opening move that inspires the name, Gambit is about initiative, leading from the front, using advanced sensing to grab the tactical advantage and open a world of possibilities.
Gambit is an Autonomous Collaborative Platform (ACP) designed through digital engineering to speed its time to market and lower acquisition cost, and it will deliver an extended and enhanced sensing capability. The jet-powered platform is being built for air dominance and will heavily leverage advances in artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. Working alongside human-piloted aircraft, Gambit will enable pilots to see deeper into hostile airspace, detect threats first, and provide time and space for critical decisions and actions.
“GA-ASI has led the way in integrating UAS into every aspect of military operations,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “Now we’re once again pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with unmanned aircraft, software, mission systems integration and more. Gambit will usher in a new era, where UAS work collaboratively with manned aircraft to detect, identify and target adversaries at range and scale across the battlespace.”
Designed as an advanced concept aircraft, Gambit will use AI and autonomy to complete a variety of tasks without being prompted by an operator. GA-ASI’s software and integration systems will support detection and analysis, and provide users with the highest quality intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ever possible from an unmanned aircraft. On point out ahead of U.S. Air Force tactical aircraft, Gambit will also be able to sense and track targets of interest, and distribute that information across the battlespace.
“We’re designing systems to meet future requirements, to include working collaboratively and autonomously,” Alexander continued. “Gambit is part of a broader Family of Systems strategy that began with Predator and Reaper, and continues in support of USAF’s future force design concepts.”
01 Mar 22. BAE Demos Manned-Unmanned Teaming Capabilities in Flight Test. The capstone flight test used real mission sensors on multiple unmanned military platforms and a manned military fighter aircraft, to execute a combat mission. BAE Systems and the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) have completed a successful flight test of advanced Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) technology at a Department of Defense flight test range. The technology enables the rapid infusion of new payloads and platforms into the fleet to quickly enhance mission effectiveness and counter adversary technology. The capstone flight test used real mission sensors on multiple unmanned military platforms and a manned military fighter aircraft, to execute a combat mission. The team of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) worked together to develop and execute autonomously the necessary tactics to complete the mission. The aviator used the Human Machine Interface (HMI) to monitor the mission’s progress and interact with the UAVs as desired.
“The development of autonomous technology is crucial to protect our warfighters against emerging threats,” said Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice president and general manager of Controls and Avionics Solutions at BAE Systems. “This flight test demonstrates our team’s commitment to accelerate the deployment of reliable and innovative manned-unmanned teaming solutions for mission success.”
During this most recent flight test, the team achieved its primary goal of demonstrating collaborative mission execution in an operationally representative environment. BAE Systems’ HMI was developed through extensive virtual and constructive simulation testing with assistance from pilots and electronic warfare officers. Test feedback from the manned aircraft operator also underscored the maturity of the MUM-T technology offering, highlighting its user-friendly interface, which increases mission safety and lethality.
“Our deep expertise in developing and fielding safety-critical flight control systems means that safety and assurance are integrated into our MUM-T architecture and software from the ground up,” said Matthew Trouve, director of Development Programs for Military Aircraft Systems at BAE Systems. “This provides the warfighter with the necessary trust and confidence in our solution to operate in the same environment as autonomous unmanned teammates.”
BAE Systems has developed its purpose-built architecture to be open, flexible, and assured. The company’s underlying MUM-T algorithms enable decentralized autonomous decision-making at the tactical edge, allowing the architecture to be easily adapted for new missions and incorporate future technology. A software development kit also allows third parties to introduce new algorithms and technologies to support future missions.
Over the next year, BAE Systems will continue development efforts with the DOD and invest in additional capabilities to further mature its MUM-T suite for operational readiness. The next phase of flight tests will enhance the mission suite’s capabilities and technology, showcasing flexibility and openness for integration on an additional manned aircraft type and another unmanned platform to execute a different mission.
(Source: ASD Network)
01 Mar 22. US Army to demo offensive drone swarms in next Project Convergence. The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Threat Systems Management Office push a swarm of 40 drones through the town during the battle of Razish, National Training Center on May 8th, 2019. This exercise was the first of many held at the National Training Center. (U.S. Army Photo by Pv2 James Newsome). The U.S. Army is preparing to demonstrate an offensive drone swarm capability at its next Project Convergence experimentation effort this fall, according to the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.
The Army awarded a $14m contract to BlueHalo in February to develop the capability over a 30-month period, the company announced in a Feb. 24 statement.
The Army moved out on a plan to prototype and demonstrate an offensive unmanned aircraft systems swarm capability in March 2021, Stan Darbro, the RCCTO’s deputy director, told Defense News in a March 1 statement.
The swarm capability is intended to be low-cost and will have the ability to identify and engage threats with the use of a single controller, he said.
The capability will be demonstrated “as a proof of concept” at Project Convergence 2022, which will take place this fall. Project Convergence is a campaign of learning to evaluate how the Army will fight with modernized equipment and advanced capabilities. The event began in 2020 and has continued on as an annual event at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
“This is a standalone contract with BlueHalo and it is being executed through the RCCTO’s Rapid Acquisition Prototyping Project Office (RAPPO),” Darbro added.
BlueHalo is taking its company-wide expertise and resources to deliver “artificial intelligence [and] machine learning swarm logic capabilities, communications systems and evolving technologies within an operationally driven system-of-systems” to “provide the warfighter with improved mission efficiency, sensor performance and a reduction in cognitive workload,” the company said in a statement.
While the RCCTO effort focuses on offensive use of a drone swarm, the military services and industry are also concentrated on countering swarms of enemy drones.
The Army, for instance, is working on developing and integrating high-power microwave capability to destroy small drone threats, with plans to spend more than $50m in fiscal 2022 on the effort while also working jointly across the services to establish an enduring architecture of solutions to address the threat.
The Army is also planning to field an HPM capability to destroy drone swarms as part of its Indirect Fires Protection Capability system that will defend fixed sites against drones, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars. The service is developing the technology with the Air Force, which is in charge of the research and development work. The Army is supplying the funding to build prototypes. Known as THOR — or Tactical High Power Operational Responder — the weapon was demonstrated at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, in February 2021. The Army plans to conduct field testing as early as FY24. Industry is also moving out on solutions. For example, General Dynamics Land Systems and venture capital-backed startup Epirus announced they were teaming up to integrate a counter-drone swarm system on combat vehicles in October 2021. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Mar 22. SEA-KIT expands production facility to meet growing USV demand. SEA-KIT International is expanding its Tollesbury production facility to deliver on a growing Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) orderbook. The news comes as Fugro, world-leading geo-intelligence specialist, snaps up SEA-KIT’s latest 12m X-class build for its growing Blue Essence fleet. This build, SEA-KIT’s sixth X-class, was originally planned as a fleet vessel for demonstration of the technology to new markets. It is set to be even more versatile and fuel efficient than its predecessors, which are now firmly established as safer, lower carbon solutions for offshore tasks on commercial operations around the world.
“Our current orderbook means we are moving from one to three production lines which brings enhanced manufacturing efficiencies. We are also significantly scaling up our production facility to accommodate multiple builds in readiness for future demand.” commented Ben Simpson, SEA-KIT CEO.
New jobs are being created too. Ben continued: “Since 2019 we have steadily grown the SEA-KIT team, bringing together talented technologists with those experienced in offshore operations to create a unique blend of expertise. This latest expansion will create more new opportunities for people aligned to SEA-KIT’s vision, which is to open new classes of technology to solve the problems of the future today. We are actively recruiting people who want to apply their skills to support the maritime industry’s net zero targets.”
SEA-KIT’s latest X-class USV will have the flexible option of three different propulsion packages within one hull: diesel-electric, hybrid and hydrogen hybrid. The company also recently announced the build of an 18m XL-class USV for Fugro, which will have three times the payload capacity of the 12m design. These vessels will now be built simultaneously by SEA-KIT’s experienced team at their bespoke facility in Tollesbury, on the UK’s East Coast.
“We enjoy a fertile and thriving company culture that continues to attract and nurture talent,” added Ben, “The team here has already made sustainable, cost-effective USVs a critical part of our maritime future, ultimately contributing to the UK’s clean maritime goals. Increasing our production capability and expanding the team will see us set to continue breaking new ground in the way we work offshore.”
25 Feb 22. As part of the company’s commitment to develop advanced unmanned autonomy, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) used a company-owned Avenger® Unmanned Aircraft System and five hardware-in-the-loop synthetic Avengers to autonomously search and follow an artificially-generated adversary. The live-virtual swarm utilized a simulated Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor network in addition to the government-furnished CODE autonomy engine to accomplish the mission. In the two-hour flight on January 28, 2022, the Avenger flew over the high desert of southern California. The live Avenger was commanded into a search mission with the five simulated Avengers. Once the simulated adversary entered the designated search area, the team of Avengers would decide, utilizing an AI/ML algorithm, which aircraft would autonomously break from the search-loiter and perform complex behaviors to show closed loop, air-to-air tactics.
“The flight demonstrated GA-ASI’s unique ability to deploy autonomy using a blend of simulated threats, real-world sensors, and live aircraft. GA-ASI’s robust autonomy pipeline provided seamless digital environments, UAV digital twins and machine learning to validate unmanned aircraft closing complex kill chains. This framework allows the DoD to rapidly transition next-generation, operationally relevant air-to-air warfare technology from the lab to the battlespace,” said GA-ASI Senior Director of Advanced Programs Michael Atwood.
The Avenger UAS integrated a ZPX-R ADS-B and Mode 5 Level 2 receiver provided by uAvionix. The low size, weight, and power (SWAP) sensor allowed the platform to track active aircraft within the local airspace. In addition to the live ADS-B/Mode 5 L2 sensor tracks being downlinked, the Advanced Framework for Simulation, Integration, and Modeling (AFSIM) software simulated two separate types of IRST sensors (situational and long-range). This allowed the multi-physics sensor network to downlink into the Common Operating Picture (COP) running on a government standard Human-Machine Interface. To complement the live-flying sensor suite, the Avenger also operated with All-Source Track and Identity Fuser (ATIF), a government-owned Multi-Physics Fusion engine.
28 Feb 22. Sky-Drones announce a partnership with Canadian company Terranova Aerospace. Sky-Drones announces its product range, including cutting-edge autopilot SmartAP AIRLink, is now available on UAVs manufactured by Terranova Aerospace Solutions. The partnership brings about a range of capabilities from Sky-Drones’ technology advancements for the benefit of Terranova Aerospace’s customers and clients among others.
“This partnership will benefit a multitude of drone users across the globe for the defence
and security sectors” explains Kirill Shilov, CEO and Founder of Sky-Drones. Terranova Aerospace are one of the leading innovators and technology sources supporting the warfighter and unmanned vehicle demands in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Renowned for their expertise in Сyber Security, Terranova Aerospace provides its users with products from the likes of DroneShield, and this champion in the defence field knows no bounds with the integrated technologies from Sky-Drones.
“We are excited to be displaying and utilising these ground-breaking technologies from the Sky-Drones team. Our clients will hugely benefit from the advancements the UK company has made in recent years to aid projects for public safety, fire and rescue, maritime, aerial
and combat” states James Castle, CEO of Terranova Aerospace.
The capabilities that Terranova will harvest from the use of Sky-Drones’ AIRLink hardware among its cooperative software for fleet control, mission planning and post-flight analytics will allow their unmanned vehicles to accomplish missions and reach targets that have
previously been unreachable. Such capabilities Terranova can expect from this integration include a unified controller for UGV, UAV and UUVs, drone meshing abilities through network connectivity, and the benefits that come from being part of the Sky-Drones
Ecosystem with compatible products and service providers. Partnering with Terranova Aerospace, part of the Terranova Defence Group, presents Sky-
Drones with connections to for-profit and not-for-profit organisations within the NATO hub, government agencies, and contacts that await technologies this UK organisation have long been able to provide. Both CEOs of these influential organisations have come together to
declare the partnership to be “advantageous for both companies and its clients and users alike, by providing the most advanced technologies available within the market to date to better not only the defence and security sectors but delivery, agriculture and inspections
Sky-Drones Technologies is well-known for their advancements in full-stack avionics for UAVs and drone enterprise. SmartAP AIRLink by Sky-Drones is a complete AI drone flight controller with an Artificial Intelligence mission computer, LTE connectivity unit, and cutting-edge drone autopilot meeting the needs of clients such as Volansi, F-Drones and Clogworks to name a few.
About Terranova Aerospace
Terranova Aerospace Solutions is an authorised reseller and distributor for unmanned autonomous vehicles. Specialising in sales, leasing, servicing and manufacturing of drones, Terranova Aerospace covers the land, sea and now space sectors for the United States,
Canada, United Kingdom and Europe. (Source: Google/https://www.suasnews.com/)
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