Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
31 Aug 22. Baykar Completes Second Kizilelma Supersonic UAV Prototype with Ukrainian engine. Baykar has completed the assembly of the second prototype of the Bayraktar Kizilelma jet attack drone.
“We assembled the 2nd serial prototype of Kizilelma, which we prepared for the Samsun exhibition,” said Selcuk Bayraktar. The first prototype was completed in June 2022. The first flights of both prototypes are expected in 2023.
Bayraktar Kizilelma is a jet supersonic stealth airborne UAV. The drone is developed under the MIUS [Muharip İnsansız Uçak Sistemi or Unmanned Combat Aircraft System or UCAS in English] project. The new UAV was presented on August 4, 2021. A year after the Bayraktar Kizilelma reached the prototype stage.
According to the data provided by the company, the UAV will have an operating height of 12,000m. The UAV will have also take-off weight of 5.5 tons. The Bayraktar’s payload will be 1.5 tons. The drone will carry out one ton ammo.
While MIUS-A will be near the supersonic with the Ukrainian AI-25TLT engine, MIUS-B will be supersonic with the Ukrainian AI-322F engine and the Turkish TEI TF-6000. MIUS-B will have a 2.5 times more powerful engine, which significantly distinguishes it from MIUS-A in terms of technical characteristics.
It is assumed that the unmanned aerial vehicles of the MIUS project will be launched from the universal landing ship TCG Anadolu [L-400] without the help of a catapult system.
Approximate characteristics of the Bayraktar Kizilelma are a maximum speed of 900km/h, a cruising speed of 740km/h, and a combat range of 930km. This combat drone will be able to stay in the air for about 5 hours at a maximum operating altitude of 10,700 meters.
In November 2021 Baykar ordered the Ukrainian state enterprise Ivchenko-Progress for AI-25TLT and AI-322F jet engines. (Source: UAS VISION/Bulgarian Military)
31 Aug 22. USAF considering shift to heavy-lift drones in CSAR missions. Autonomous vehicles are a welcome consideration for combat search and rescue missions. The US Air Force (USAF) is discussing using heavy-lift uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) for collecting service members stranded in combat, according to its Chief of Staff, General Charles Brown, in remarks made to the American Enterprise Association.
“Part of the discussion is how do you use autonomous vehicles that might go out and pick isolated personnel up in a high threat environment?”
Speaking on 29 August, Brown’s commented in response to remarks from George Nicholson, Washington liaison officer for the Global Special Operations Forces Foundation, who was critical of how the USAF addressed its combat search and rescue (CSAR) requirements: “Realistically, we have not done an Air Force combat rescue since 1972.”
Nicholson, one of the leads on a worldwide missionary analysis for personnel recovery, expressed disappointment that USAF had not matched the US Army in its take-up of the Valor or Defiant fast-moving vertical-lift aircraft. “The Air Force seems to have very little interest whatsoever going pursuing that path.”
“Your comments are well taken partly because I’ve probably asked the same questions,” replied Brown. “We’ve been doing combat search and rescue the same way we’ve been doing since Vietnam. In a future environment I’m not sure that’s the same way we’re going to be able to do it.
“I’m afraid we’re going to lose a bunch of people on a helicopter, or a CV or MV-22.”
“The threat is much different today than it was back in Vietnam – and we have the same approach,” continued Brown. “I’m afraid we’re going to lose a bunch of people on a helicopter, or a CV or MV-22.
“Part of the discussion is how do you use autonomous vehicles that might go out and pick isolated personnel up in a high threat environment?
“If you lose [an uncrewed] vehicle, maybe it’s not that big a deal, but we still want to bring that [service] member back and get them back to their family. That’s the goal.”
Nicholson expressed admiration for the Commandant of the Marine Corps General David Berger’s modernisation in the US Marine Corps and drew a comparison between this effort and that of US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, highlighting Kendall’s decision to truncate the order for HH-60W rescue helicopters in March 2022.
In March 2022 the USAF ended procurement of HH-60W rescue helicopters in FY2023 due to the change in threat environment. During the moderated discussion, Brown was unable to answer as to whether the change in plan for HH-60W amounted to a line-shutdown. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
30 Aug 22. Defense & Security 2022: Royal Thai Air Force Academy reveals M-Pseudo SAT concept. The Royal Thai Air Force Academy (RTAFA) unveiled the ‘M-Pseudo SAT’ concept at the Defense & Security 2022 show in Bangkok on 29 August. The M-Pseudo SAT is a high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) system, powered by solar energy, and designed to fly in the upper stratosphere at an altitude of 15–18 km.
RTAFA officials told Janes that the M-Pseudo SAT is being designed for communication relay and restoring mobile connectivity during any disaster. Further, the platform can conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) roles, maritime surveillance, disaster relief, border patrolling, remote sensing, and forest fire prevention applications.
The RTAFA officials said that design work of the system is an in-house effort that began in 2021. The first half-scale prototype is planned for roll out in 2023. The requisite tests and flight programme to mature the platform will take at least five years, the officials said. (Source: Janes)
30 Aug 22. Spanish Navy Deploys Scan Eagle on Santa Maria Class Frigate.
The Spanish Navy has successfully used the ScanEagle UAV on the Santa Maria class frigate Numancia during Operation Atalanta. Numancia (F83) is the third of the six Spanish-built Santa Maria-class frigates, based on the American Oliver Hazard Perry-class design, of the Spanish Navy. Laid down on 8 January 1986, and launched on 29 January 1987, Numancia was commissioned in service on 17 November 1989.
The Santa María class of frigates is the Spanish Navy’s designation for six locally built warships based on the United States Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates.
Built-in two batches, the second batch units (F-85 and 86) received some improvements, such as an improved combat-data system, updated SPS-49, and SQR-19 sets, and a new Meroka mount.
The Mk 92 Mod 6 CORT replaced the previous Mod 4, providing better capabilities against sea-skimming missiles. The electronic warfare suite was also updated.
Spanish ships have a slightly bigger beam and were built with a greater weight reserve for future improvements. Other changes from the basic model include Meroka replacing Phalanx and a RAN-12L air search radar to provide low horizon coverage against sea skimmers cueing the Meroka CIWS mount. The Nettunel EW suite (based on the Italian Nettuno built in Spain) replaced the SLQ-32 system fitted aboard US ships.
The class is currently receiving a mid-life update (MLU), including a new EW suite, improved combat-data system, an upgrade of the Mk92 FCS, new electrical generators, the removal of the SQR-19 TACTASS towed array and habitability improvements. Four ships have already been modernized. (Source: UAS VISION/European Union Naval Force; Navy Recognition)
30 Aug 22. Defense & Security 2022: ATIL unveils DP-20/A MALE UAS.
Thai firm Aero Technology Industry Company Limited (ATIL) unveiled the DP-20/A medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 29 August at the opening day of the Defense & Security 2022 show in Bangkok.
ATIL said the UAV is suitable for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It said the MALE UAV can also conduct fire calibration, border patrol, battlefield assessment, and targeting and positioning missions. Apart from the standard electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload, the UAV can optionally be equipped with synthetic aperture radar, signals intelligence (SIGINT), communication relay, and weapons.
An ATIL official told Janes that DP-20/A is part of a project by Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI). He added that DTI has, to date, issued a requirement of two MALE UAVs. The official said the development of the UAV is complete and flight trials for achieving airworthiness certification are under way. He said the local industry has manufactured 80% of the DP-20/A and its systems. (Source: Janes)
30 Aug 22. Thai Navy gets UAV boost. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has quietly emerged as one of the leading unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators in the Asia Pacific region, having ordered and taken delivery of several types of high-end systems in recent years.
Its latest acquisition includes Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900, which was the winning contender in a competitive tender that was aimed at meeting the RTN’s medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV requirements. It is understood that the $120m deal includes seven UAVs along with one fixed and two mobile ground control stations (GCSs).
On 24 May, the US Navy (USN) handed over a Boeing Insitu RQ-21A UAV to the RTN. The RQ-21A ‘Blackjack’ is a tactical-class UAV designed for maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations with a range of 50 nautical miles (92 kilometres) and an endurance of 16 hours. According to the USN, the RQ-21A Blackjack will enhance Thailand’s maritime security capabilities for search and rescue operations, drug and human trafficking interdiction, as well as improve interoperability between the two navies.
The transfer is funded by the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), with the RTN receiving a total of five air vehicles, two GCSs, launch and recovery equipment, and in-residence training in the United States. The programme also includes technical advisors to assist the RTN with operations and maintenance of the systems.
In April, the RTN awarded Austrian company Schiebel with a follow-on contract for an undisclosed number of Camcopter S-100 rotary-wing UAVs. The UAVs are expected to be delivered by the end of 2022 and will be used by the service for land- and sea-based ISR operations.
Schiebel earlier won an initial contract to supply the RTN with its S-100 UAVs in 2019. According to the company, the S-100 has a maximum take-off weight of 440lb (200kg) and typically carries a 110lb (50kg) payload. It can operate for up to six hours, with a maximum range of around 108nm (200km).
Images released on social media by the Royal Thai Naval Air Division (RTNAD) in June 2021 suggest that the S-100s are operated by the 104 Squadron, a specialised UAV squadron under the RTNAD’s Wing 1, at Pak Phanang near southern Thailand. (Source: AMR)
30 Aug 22. Steadicopter and Viking Drone Packaging launch new capability for transporting critical equipment, including hazardous materials, by air. Viking Drone’s multi-function payload container will be installed on Steadicopter’s Black Eagle 50E.
Steadicopter – a leader in the Rotary Unmanned Aerial Systems (RUAS) industry – has announced its collaboration with UK-based Viking Drone Packaging – leading experts in the fields of packaging, UAS operations and the transport of dangerous goods – with the launch of a new capability for transporting critical equipment, including hazardous materials, by air. The multi-function payload container will be installed on the Black Eagle 50 E platform.
Utilizing the full potential of the Black Eagle Electric rotary UAS family of products, this new development will provide Steadicopter’s customers with a cargo delivery option in a versatile mission solution suitable for a wide spectrum of mission applications.
The Black Eagle’s unique flight performance capabilities, coupled with Viking’s industry-leading packaging solutions, enable a wide range of payload delivery options, at different ranges, with the utmost precision.
“Through this collaboration with Viking Drones, Steadicopter is expanding the variety of services it offers to its diverse customers worldwide,” says Noam Lidor, VP of Sales, Marketing & Business Development at Steadicopter. “The Black Eagle family of rotary unmanned aerial vehicles enables users to perform high-end ISR missions with a large selection of sensors. With this new development, users now have the option to utilize the system’s flight characteristics and capabilities to perform much-needed cargo operations – whether last mile, offshore, rural territories and more.”
“We are delighted to announce the collaboration between Viking Drone Packaging and Steadicopter in the design and production of an aerodynamic, multi-function payload container, that is optimized to the specifications of their aircraft,” says Anthony Venetz, Director and Co-founder of Viking Drone Packaging. “Its robust yet lightweight construction, combined with Viking’s patented packaging materials, provides a crash-protected solution that enables the transportation of dangerous goods and precious cargos, along with a host of other use cases.”
29 Aug 22. New Omid UAV Seen in Iranian Exercise. The Omid unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was unveiled in Iran’s Army Day parade in April was seen in action for the first time during a joint exercise by the Islamic Republic’s regular military branches on 24–25 August.
The Omid resembles the Harop loitering munition made by Israel Aerospace Industries but lacks the electro-optical system for acquiring and homing in on targets.
Ground Forces commander Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari said the UAV was developed by his branch of the military. The Fars News Agency cited him as saying that it is a high-speed, stealthy, loitering UAV that can destroy both fixed and moving targets.
The spokesperson for the exercise indicated the Omid is more specialised, telling IRIB News that it is an anti-radiation UAV that destroyed a radar target after being sent relevant information by an Ababil-4 UAV during the drill. (Source: UAS VISION/Janes)
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