Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
07 Sep 23. ISS Aerospace announces NEW tactical UAV for time critical tasking. Ryan Kempley, CEO and Founder of ISS Aerospace said “WASP has benefitted from substantial in-house R&D and is now a viable prototype, ready for rapid
ISS Aerospace (www.issaerospace.com), a leading UK innovator of cutting-edge Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), is pleased to announce the unveiling of the tube-launched WASP M4-TL tactical UAS.
WASP represents next generation technology for semi-autonomous aerial systems. Inherently flexible, it delivers game-changing, cost-effective capability enhancement to a wide range of users. Defence and security applications include time critical detector and effector missions.
WASP and the range of ISS Aerospace SENSUS UAS will be on display at DSEI, Excel London, on 12 – 15 September 2023 (DSEI stand H2-894).
WASP is man portable and deployed in less than 3 seconds. The launcher can be operated physically by a person, or remotely if mounted on a vehicle, infrastructure, or ship. The platform transitions to conventional multi-rotor flight after an initial rocket launch. Mission dependent, the whole system is re-usable. It can be stored for many years and remain ready for rapid use.
The UAS is equipped with a high-performance gimbal mounted EO/IR camera with range finder, plus a modular payload system up to 1.5kg. The payload can be delivered accurately to 24km. Resilient communications support critical decision making by shared, real-time imagery and hand-over of control options. Powerful onboard computing and open system architecture enables wide payload integration and interoperability. Effector payloads will be developed in collaboration with partners.
WASP is capable of swarming and a broad range of operational uses, including:
- Multi-domain situational awareness and threat assessment
- Acting as a loitering platform for C-sUAS, ground or maritime force protection missions
- Delivering urgent medical for preservation of life
ISS Aerospace owns the patent for this concept and can develop the system to achieve a client’s specific requirements. WASP will be exploited under license for defence and security applications by ISSOS Technologies Ltd, a UK company.
Ryan Kempley, CEO and Founder of ISS Aerospace said “WASP has benefitted from substantial in-house R&D and is now a viable prototype, ready for rapid iteration to meet customer needs. ISS Aerospace has extensive experience working collaboratively with partners and we are excited by the opportunities for WASP. The system offers such broad applications and clear tactical advantages that we envisage substantial interest in its further development and exploitation.”
07 Sep 23. Morocco to Acquire Turkish Akinci Drones. Morocco has begun talks with the Turkish company Baykar to acquire the Akinci combat drone. This unmanned aircraft entered service in 2021 and is considered the ‘jewel’ of the Turkish military arsenal. Due to its capabilities, other countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have already acquired several units.
Turkey’s Baykar, Akinci is a high-altitude unmanned combat aerial vehicle with extended endurance, equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of carrying out operations with combat aircraft in air-to-ground and air- to-air strike missions.
The drone, which weighs 4.5 tonnes, is capable of deploying a payload of 1,500kg, including 400kg of internal cargo and 950kg of external cargo, with an airframe equipped with two turboprop engines. It also has electronic support that will allow it to carry satellite communication systems, air-to-air radar, obstacle detection radar, synthetic aperture radar .
The Akinci is capable of reducing the payload of fighter aircraft, and can also carry out aerial bombing. According to the Moroccan media, it could also be used by Morocco for air-to-air missions.
In 2021, the Kingdom has already acquired 19 units of Bayraktar TB2 drones from the Baykar company. In this regard, last June, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) also acquired SPY-X kamikaze drones manufactured by the Israeli company Bluebird Aero Systems, following negotiations that began in 2021. Rabat has also acquired unmanned aircraft from other countries such as China and France. It has even positioned itself as the leading drone manufacturer in Africa.
As reported late last year by The Wall Street Journal, Rabat has reportedly reached an agreement with two leading Israeli companies in the manufacture of both attack and defense drones to build two drone factories in Morocco, which would make the Kingdom the continent’s leading drone manufacturing nation. (Source: UAS VISION/Atalayar)
07 Sep 23. Aircraft drone makes history landing on Royal Navy carrier at sea.
- Pilotless aircraft makes history landing on HMS Prince of Wales off Cornish coast
- First-ever landing on a UK aircraft carrier by a winged, crewless plane – developed by a Southampton-based firm
- Trials pave the way for ultimately replacing traditional helicopters performing routine duties such as moving supplies around a task group
A pilotless plane has flown on and off a Royal Navy aircraft carrier for the first time.
The W Autonomous Systems (WAS) drone flew from the Lizard Peninsula and on to the deck of HMS Prince of Wales off the Cornish coast, delivered supplies, then flew back in a milestone flight which points the way to the future of naval aviation.
It’s a vital step along the way to operating crewless aircraft safely alongside F-35 Lightning jets and naval Merlin and Wildcat helicopters which are currently the backbone of the Fleet Air Arm.
The goal is to deploy drones with a UK Carrier Strike Group in the future, using them to transfer stores and supplies – such as mail or spare parts – between ships, without the need to launch helicopters.
Drones are cheaper to operate, eliminate any potential risk to aircrew – such as in bad weather – and keep the hi-tech Merlins and Wildcats free for operational sorties, such as hunting hostile submarines or surface vessels which are threats to the carrier strike group.
HMS Prince of Wales has experimented with drone technology before – notably small quadcopters and Banshee targets (small jets which are launched by catapult and parachutes down to land when the mission is complete).
But the trials off the Lizard are in a different league, involving a much larger (ten-metre wingspan), more capable pilotless aircraft.
The Royal Navy joined forces with Southampton-based W Autonomous Systems, a leading-edge British firm which is developing long-range, heavy-lift autonomous drones for defence.
The drones incorporate a ground-breaking autopilot system, eliminating the need to be controlled remotely by trained pilots, and are designed to operate in the most challenging environments.
Its HCMC twin-engine light alloy twin boom aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of 100kg up to 1,000 kilometres (620 miles). Crucially it can land on uneven ground and needs a runway just 150 metres long – a little over half the length of the flight decks on the UK’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – to land or take off.
After extensive preparations ashore by the combined RN and WAS trials team, and attaining endorsements and authorisations from the Civil Aviation Authority, the HCMC drone took off from Predannack, the satellite airfield of RNAS Culdrose, and after a flight of about 20 minutes, touched down safely on the HMS Prince of Wales’ deck.
Once its symbolic payload of naval memorabilia was removed by crew, the aircraft was turned around and it was re-launched back to Predannack.
Captain Richard Hewitt, Commanding Officer HMS Prince of Wales said: “HMS Prince of Wales is a fifth-generation aircraft carrier and operating autonomous drones like this will become the norm across future Royal Navy Carrier Strike Groups in our 50-year lifespan. We are all proud here in HMS Prince of Wales to achieve this – a fantastic milestone for all involved and the first of many firsts on this deployment to shape the future of Royal Naval Carrier Strike innovation as we prepare for our strike group deployment in 2025.”
Lieutenant Ash Loftus, leading the trials for the Royal Navy on board HMS Prince of Wales added: “Today’s demonstration is the culmination of 18 months of hard work from dozens of people across the Royal Navy and W Autonomous Systems. Carrier aviation is amongst the most difficult aspects of naval warfare and this success is testament to their efforts.”
Stephen Wright, executive chairman and founder of W Autonomous Systems, said: “This landing demonstrates the agility of our autonomous drone. We are hugely proud to deliver this ground-breaking trial for the Royal Navy and showcase the future of aviation.”
Charles Scales, Co-Founder of W Autonomous Systems, added: “Landing on a moving naval carrier was the ultimate test and our autonomous heavy-lift HCMC drone passed with flying colours.”
The trials off Cornwall were the first stage of an autumn programme pushing the boundaries of naval aviation for Britain’s biggest warship.
HMS Prince of Wales will be operating off the Eastern Seaboard of the USA until Christmas as she conducts experiments with F-35 Lightning stealth fighters, MV-Osprey tilt-rotors, and the Mojave drone. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
01 Sep 23. Australia issues new regulation applicable to operating drones at night. The Civil Aviation Authority of Australia (CASA) has introduced a new regulation applicable to remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) flying at night.
The legislation requires the operator to “have documented practices and procedures, that are approved in writing by CASA or by a manager or team Leader of CASA with responsibility for regulatory oversight of RPA operations in relation to operating RPA at night”. Before any operation under this approval, the operator must ensure that a risk assessment is carried out by the operator’s chief remote pilot in accordance with the documented practices and procedures.
Other requirements include ensuring that the launch and landing and recovery areas are illuminated so that the position of the RPA can be established and maintained by the authorised remote pilot by visual reference, and the RPA is equipped with the appropriate nighttime signals. or more information visit: www.casa.gov.au (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
31 Aug 23. DORAI publishes first requirements for drone operators, invites industry input. The Drone Operator Requirements Aero Initiative (DORAI) has published the first requirements to support and help drone manufacturers focus their development efforts. These requirements are the result of a half year intensive collaboration and alignment effort done by drone operators on a pan-European level, representing France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Switzerland.
The requirements cover both hardware development (incl. packaging sizes, payload handling automation) as well as software development (incl. interfaces towards operator BVLOS Ground Control, enabling U-Space operator responsibilities).
The DORAI members request their technology suppliers to use the DORAI minimum requirements in their drone platform developments going forward.
All drone related actors are invited to provide input that can be included in additional future (periodic) requirement publications. DORAI targets the next publication for 1 February 2024. DORAI is furthermore open to operators who wish to collaborate on industry requirements. Any operator can join DORAI if they subscribe to a modular drone industry setup and do themselves not manufacture drones.
This effort runs in parallel to the European SESAR SAFIR-Ready, SAFIR-Med projects where the 34 partners and advisory members adhere to the same requirements to support EU legislation and U-Space.
DORAI created in 2022 with the objective to ensure efficient and effective technology development for the unmanned aviation sector. Drone operators align on use case-based requirements to provide economically viable and robust services.
DORAI forms a platform for drone operators to align and communicate their requirements towards drone Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and unmanned aviation related technological providers. DORAI statements provide a clear, publicly referenceable basis for future development. These statements give guidelines for drone design choices towards a viable, scalable and modular drone eco-system.
For more information visit: www.anwb-maa.nl; www.helicus.com; 0www.tcs.ch
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.