Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
31 May 22. L&T signs MoU with NRT to develop submarine-launched UAVs.
NRT will conduct joint research and development with L&T on the submarine-launched UAVs for the Indian Navy. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NewSpace Research & Technologies (NRT), a start-up based in Bangalore, India, to develop a new range of submarine-launched uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), reported Economic Times.
The MoU was signed during a two-day Drone Mahotsav event held in New Delhi.
The event was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on 27 May.
Drone Mahotsav saw the participation of more than 1,600 delegates, including Indian Government officials, armed forces, foreign diplomats, central armed police forces, public sector undertakings (PSUs), drone start-ups and other private companies.
L&T plans to develop the submarine-launched UAVs to support the Indian Navy and its future requirements.
Submarine-launched UAVs are considered a relatively new concept, with only a few countries having this capability. They are considered to be complex, as the drone is required to navigate through water before taking off to air, reported the publication.
Commenting on the UAVs, an undisclosed source said: “This will comprise an underwater component and an airborne component and will be one of the most futuristic product development efforts to come out of India.
“Globally, the US has deployed this capability on their submarines to close a viable ‘kill chain’ for their underwater launched weapons to target surface and land targets.”
Last December, the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Technology Development Fund (TDF) floated a requirement on behalf of the Indian Navy to develop UAV systems.
According to TDF, the submarine-launched uncrewed aerial system (SLUAS) project is expected to meet the tactical needs of the submarines by providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as maritime domain awareness (MDA) to the Indian Navy. (Source: naval-technology.com)
01 June 22. First Automated Flarebright DPAD Flight. Flarebright has reached a major technical milestone this month, completing our first automated flight of an off-the-shelf drone. Going back to the start of this process, we originally purchased a 1.2m span flying-wing Remote Control (RC) aircraft, which we flew a number of times in RC to understand how it operates. We then built a digital twin model of the aircraft and introduced our own sensors and electronics. We flew the modified aircraft to gather minimal calibration data for the Digital Twin model, and with less than 10 seconds of flight data were able to produce a Machine Learning optimised control tune that enabled us to complete automated flights. The Machine Learning Digital Twin ecosystem was created by our Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Conrad Rider, and is the core of what we do.
We used our Machine Learning synthetic capability to test and evaluate in a rapid turn-around time, something that otherwise would have required extensive flight tests. Our flight test team completed 15 automated flights to stress test and validate the performance, which has provided us with invaluable data that will be analysed and used to develop our GPS-free capability.
The flight tests are part of our second DASA contract – Persistent Autonomous Drone (DPAD) – to deliver a drone that can fly autonomously without GPS or any Remote Control.
30 May 22. Aeronautics unveils the advanced tactical UAS, Orbiter 4, with a VTOL kit. Forces using the Orbiter 4 will be able to select launch and/ or landing using a parachute or vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), depending on the mission.
Aeronautics Group – a leading provider of integrated holistic solutions based on unmanned systems platforms, payloads and communications for defense and HLS applications – is to unveil the Orbiter 4 system with a flexible VTOL capability.
The VTOL kit provides superior mission capabilities and offers maximum flexibility for all-terrain mission success. The operational forces will, for the first time, be able to adjust the Orbiter 4 for optimal mission profiles whenever and wherever required. The operator can select whether to take-off and land the UAS using a traditional Orbiter 4 (launcher and parachute) and to benefit from outstanding endurance of 24 hours, or to attach the VTOL kit for accurate take-off and landing with reduced endurance.
“One of the most important needs in the modern battlefield is the ability to operate systems flexibly, depending on changing conditions,” says Matan Perry, Chief Marketing Officer and VP Sales at Aeronautics. In response to this need, we have developed the Orbiter 4 VTOL kit. Our goal was to keep the superior advantages of the Orbiter 4 as the most advanced UAS in its segment while adding extra flexibility and more autonomy to field personnel.
“Aeronautics offers a broad portfolio of technologies and capabilities for aerial unmanned systems. To date, the Orbiter 4 system has been demonstrated in a variety of advanced missions around the world, both on land and at sea, and we are confident that the new kit will serve our range of customers around the world.”
About Orbiter 4:
Measure for measure, Orbiter 4 delivers higher capabilities than other tactical platforms in operation today, with greater endurance, serviceability, operational flexibility and cost-effectiveness. An advanced tactical UAS, multi-mission platform with versatile payloads, optional BLOS operation and extraordinary endurance for all weather conditions, it retains the legacy capabilities of the combat-proven Orbiter UAS family. Suitable for both land and maritime operations, the system can simultaneously carry multiple payloads, extending its ISTAR capabilities. Easy to use, with a low logistical footprint and a small crew, the runway-free Orbiter 4 STUAS aircraft suits all operational needs.
27 May 22. Australian Government Backtracks on Loyal Wingman Orders.
The Australian government is set to acquire just 10 Loyal Wingman autonomous platforms for the Royal Australian Air Force, as opposed to the previously suggested 13.
A Defence spokesperson has clarified that the first three Loyal Wingman aircraft developed are prototypes that are not owned by the Australian government and will not be operated by the RAAF.
It comes just days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged to invest an additional $454 m to accelerate Boeing Australia’s Loyal Wingman project, and fund the development of “a further seven aircraft”.
In March last year, then-acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne announced that Australia would spend $115 m to “acquire three additional aircraft” under the Loyal Wingman program, which seemingly suggested that the three prototypes initially earmarked for development under the program were already enlisted in the RAAF’s future fleet.
However, Defence said this is not the case, suggesting the three additional vehicles ordered in March 2021 were in fact the first official orders placed by the government for the now-dubbed MQ-28A Ghost Bat.
As such, after the Prime Minister’s announcement, the RAAF will take delivery of 10 Ghost Bats in total.
“Three prototype aircraft produced earlier in the program for concept demonstration purposes are not owned by the Commonwealth of Australia,” the Defence spokesperson said. (Source: UAS VISION/Australian Aviation)
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