Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
19 Oct 22. On October 19, 2022, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) commenced flight operations using an MQ-9B SeaGuardian® Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). JCG is operating the SeaGuardian from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Air Station Hachinohe. The RPA will primarily perform Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS) over the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Other missions will include search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement.
“SeaGuardian is the world’s premier asset for performing MWAS,” said Robert Schoeffling, vice president of International Strategic Development at GA-ASI. “We’re proud to support the Government of Japan’s policy to strengthen its maritime security.”
SeaGuardian features a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with an Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and High-Definition – Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This sensor suite enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles and provides automatic tracking of maritime targets and correlation of AIS transmitters with radar tracks.
GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian® and SeaGuardian are revolutionizing the long-endurance RPAS market by providing all-weather capability and full compliance with STANAG-4671 (NATO UAS airworthiness standard). This feature, along with our operationally proven, collision-avoidance radar, enables flexible operations in civil airspace.
SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian have garnered significant interest from customers throughout the world. The UK Ministry of Defence selected MQ-9B SkyGuardian for its Protector program, and the Belgian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for SkyGuardian.
18 Oct 22. Lockheed sees progress in drone ‘wingman’ development for US Air Force. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin doesn’t expect sales growth to return until 2024 due to lingering effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain problems, executives told investors on an earnings call Tuesday. Until then, Lockheed chief executive Jim Taiclet said during the call, 2023 sales are likely to be essentially flat when compared to 2022.
In financial results released Tuesday, Lockheed reported nearly $16.6 bn in sales in the third quarter of 2022, up slightly from the $16 bn in sales over the same three-month period last year. Profits increased to nearly $1.8 bn in the third quarter, about triple the $614 m recorded a year earlier. Last year, pandemic-related supply chain woes dealt a significant blow to Lockheed’s aeronautics, space and missiles and fire control sectors, dragging down profit.
Year to date, the company’s sales are down almost 5%, from $49.3 bn in the first nine months of 2021 to nearly $47 bn in the same period in 2022.
Chief Financial Officer Jay Malave said on Tuesday’s call the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain shortages “will be more gradual than previously expected,” and drive flat sales in 2023.
Malave said Lockheed’s aeronautics sector’s sales will likely be down slightly next year, due to lower production volume on the F-35. Deliveries of the fighter next year will likely be flat, he said, but that will be because the company recorded sales in advance with long-lead procurements. He expects that to lessen in 2024.
“It’ll be a period of catch-up on sales for aero,” Malave said.
However, Malave said the company’s work on classified programs will be a bright spot for Lockheed Martin in 2023. Taiclet also said both classified programs and programs of record will “ramp up from 2023 to 2024 meaningfully,” and account for the bulk of 2024′s projected growth.
As more F-35 fighters are delivered and flying regularly around the world, he said, that will mean more sustainment work for the company.
And as the pandemic’s effects and supply chain troubles wane in 2024, Taiclet said, a steady production rate of 156 F-35s per year — roughly 80 for the U.S. and 75 for international customers — will be achievable.
Malave also said production of F-16 fighters, which Lockheed Martin is now building for foreign customers, is also expected to accelerate in 2024.
Meanwhile, Taiclet said Lockheed is “far down the road” on developing autonomous drone wingmen the Air Force wants to team with piloted fighters. He said the systems need more testing, but the company should have “hit a couple of milestones” on the program by the next earnings call in January. Taiclet said the company will be able to share more details on its status then.
He noted Lockheed is making progress on increasing production of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. The United States in recent months has shipped 16 HIMARS units to Ukraine, which it has used in its fight against Russia.
Lockheed advanced the funding for $65 m in parts it would need to build more HIMARS, before it had a government contract for more, so it could be ready to build them quickly, Taiclet said. He said the company wants to build 96 HIMARS per year, and those long-lead time parts are now being manufactured. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 Oct 22. Garuda Aerospace India and Lockheed Martin Canada to Collaborate on UAS Solutions. Garuda Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to integrate Garuda Aerospace’s Made-In-India drones with Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems’ advanced Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) software solutions for defense and commercial purposes. The companies are committing to exploring expanded partnership opportunities – working closely to build a strong data processing capability and develop joint algorithms which will cater to a wide range of drones and various drone-based service applications in sectors such as defence, agriculture, mining, large scale mapping and industrial inspection.
“I’m delighted and thrilled to be working with Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems. This partnership will give Garuda Aerospace a strong competitive edge to cement market dominance in several sectors.” Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace, said,
“Ever since our Honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi Ji launched 100 Garuda drones in 100 locations across the country and MS Dhoni becoming our Brand Ambassador, Garuda Aerospace has built a tremendous order book with immense credibility to deliver drones to various sectors and this is why global corporations, like Lockheed Martin, have faith in Garuda as worthy partners” concluded Agnishwar Jayaprakash.
“For over 30 years our team has developed advanced software solutions for the UAS market and we look forward to working with Garuda Aerospace to bring that technology and experience to their Made-In-India drones. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to support the growth of an indigenous defence and aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in India. This will be a step forward in bringing world class drone software solutions to diverse market segments in India and creating high tech job opportunities” said Michael Baker, General Manager of Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems.
Garuda Aerospace recently commenced its $30 m Series A round at $250 m valuation. Former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has invested and is also the Brand Ambassador of the company.
Garuda Aerospace boasts of a drone fleet of 400 drones and a well-trained team of over 500 pilots across 26 different cities.
Garuda Aerospace has been termed as India’s most valuable startup and expects to be India’s first drone Unicorn startup in the near future. (Source: UAS VISION)
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.