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18 Nov 22. Australian forces test new uncrewed surveillance technology.
Bluebottles can be used to provide round-the-clock, on-water surveillance. Personnel from the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) have recently carried out trials with the maritime uncrewed surveillance vessel, called Bluebottle. Developed by Ocius Technologies, the surveillance vessel was tested for the first time as part of the country’s patrolling mission Operation Resolute.
The trials were held in October around Western Australia’s remote islands off the north coast.
It was executed by a contingent of 18 personnel from the Northwest Mobile Force (NORFORCE) and the 10th Force Support Battalion, in collaboration with the Army’s Regional Force Surveillance Group (RFSG).
Other participants included the 1st Combat Signal Regiment and the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. An Ocius employee was also included in the task unit headquarters.
Maritime Border Command (MBC) Rotation 7 liaison officer Major Alexander Brent said: “In addition to persistent surveillance, we were able to use the Bluebottles to conduct more specific reconnaissance tasks such as beach landing site reconnaissance and avenues of approach to specific islands in advance of the ground force.
“By controlling the Bluebottles remotely, ground force was free to be able to move independently of the uncrewed surveillance vessels and focus on other tasks, such as onshore reconnaissance and patrolling, while still benefiting from what Bluebottles collected.”
The vessel was used in response to emerging surveillance requirements.
During this two-week deployment, the personnel conducted surveillance and reconnaissance operations in approximately 5,500km² to track foreign fishing vessels and collect evidence of illegal activities.
According to NORFORCE patrol master captain Stephen Sewell, the activity enhanced the situational awareness to monitor illegal activities in the region.
Sewell added: “The soldiers conducted surveillance from observation posts, dismounted patrols across the islands, and patrols in a littoral environment by watercraft.” (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Nov 22. Airbus reveals ‘heavy loyal wingman’ concept for FCAS. Airbus has showcased a new modular concept for an armed ‘heavy loyal wingman’ to be operated as part of the wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
Shown at the International Fighter Conference 2022 (IFC 2022), taking place in Berlin on 16 November, the Remote Carrier (RC) concept features a common fuselage with interchangeable mission and weapon systems to suit the needs of the mission.
As depicted in the artwork, the heavy RC features three interchangeable radar payloads for air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic attack, respectively. An internal weapons bay can carry jamming pods or a range of munitions or effectors, including two MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs), two GBU-54 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), four MBDA Select Precision Effects At Range-Electronic Warfare (SPEAR-EW) effectors, or two smaller ‘light’ RCs. (Source: Janes)
15 Nov 22. Taiwan shows off military drones amid rising tensions with China. Taiwan displayed its self-developed drone technology Tuesday, amid rising concerns over China’s threats to use force to assert its claim to the self-governing island republic.
The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, which develops military technology, offered a rare look at the Jian Xiang drone designed to destroy enemy radars, and other unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
A dozen of the single-use drones, officially termed loitering munitions, are carried on a truck. Launched with a built-in rocket, they are guided by a propeller engine before crashing into their targets.
Any country that is “confident in itself” will come up with strategies and develop defense technologies, said Chi Li-ping, director of the institute’s Aeronautical System Research Division.
Unmanned combat aerial vehicles are “a future trend,” Chi said. “This is why we are doing research about it and laying out some strategies.”
Taiwan’s army began taking delivery last month of the first of 100 helicopter drones ordered from the institute. Chi emphasized their importance in relaying images to the army’s command and communication systems for analysis and forwarding to combat units.
Taiwan has also developed the Teng Yun, which resembles the American MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle and can stay aloft for up to 24 hours.
While the U.S. and others have long used drones in the targeting of alleged terrorists and others, they have proved especially important in the Russian war on Ukraine. Moscow has imported drones from Iran while Kyiv has found success with inexpensive Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles from Turkey, which carry lightweight, laser-guided bombs.
China, meanwhile, has forged ahead with developing its own drones, some models of which have been exported.
China upped its military threat against Taiwan in August in response to a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island. It shot missiles over the island and held live-fire military drills in six self-declared zones in what appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential blockade and invasion of the island that would almost certainly draw in Taiwan’s chief supporter, the U.S., along with American allies including Japan and Australia. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
11 Nov 22. HII unveils new medium-class underwater drone. US shipbuilder HII has pulled the curtain back on its newest unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), a platform that company officials say represents the “most capable medium-class” UUV on the market.
The basic platform specifications for the new REMUS 620, such as size and weight, mirror those of the navy’s Littoral Battleship Sensing-Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (LBS-AUV) and the LBS-Razorback systems, according to a company statement. The former is used by the navy’s mine-countermeasures squadrons, while the latter is fielded by the US Naval Oceanographic Office and the service’s submarine fleet, the 7 November statement added.
Aside from size and weight, the new REMUS 620 is a more advanced variant than the company’s other 600-class UUVs, said Duane Fotheringham, president of unmanned systems at HII’s Mission Technologies division.
The 620 has a maximum loiter time of 110 hours and a operational range of 275 nautical miles, Fotheringham told reporters during a 7 November briefing. However, loiter time drops down to 70 hours and maximum range shrinks to 200 nautical miles, when the 620 variant is outfitted with a synthetic aperture payload, he added. (Source: Janes)
10 Nov 22. New reusable hypersonic UAV displayed. China has unveiled a new, reusable, and near-space hypersonic technology demonstrator. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has potential multimission applications.
Designated as the MD-22, the UAV was on display during the Airshow China 2022 exhibition, which was held at Zhuhai from 8 to 13 November. Imagery indicates that the UAV is being developed under the aegis of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Two institutes appear to be involved in the development of the platform. These include the Key Laboratory of High Temperature Gas Dynamics of the Institute of Mechanics (CAS) and the Guangdong Aerospace Research Academy (GARA). A fourth entity involved in the project is an industrial science co-operation centre. (Source: Janes)
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