Unmanned aerial vehicles | UAVs | Page 12 | World Defense

Unmanned aerial vehicles | UAVs

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

Sparrowhawk Aircraft-Launched sUAS Tested​


General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has conducted flight tests of its Sparrowhawk small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), which is designed as a captive-carry system that can be launched from larger GA-ASI aerial platforms. Designed around the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System attritableONE technologies, the Sparrowhawk is an iteration of the DARPA Gremlins Program, which aims to develop airborne drone recovery to reduce the cost of operation and provide new mission capabilities.

The Sparrowhawk sUAS was attached to an MQ-9A unmanned aircraft, and controlled exclusively using GA-ASI’s Metis Software Defined Control Station. Metis was hosted on a laptop computer, which significantly reduced the system’s logistical footprint and supports the vision for battlefield UAV control interfaces that do not require a Ground Control Station shelter or vehicle.

The test team communicated with the Sparrowhawk meshONE datalink, enabling collaborative autonomy capabilities among both platforms. The Cooperation in Denied Environments (CODE) autonomy engine was also implemented in order to further trial cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing for unmanned systems.

These test flights follow on from those conducted with a Gray Eagle UAS that carried two Area-I Altius-600 Air Launched Effects (ALEs) during Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) demonstrations.

Sparrowhawk and UAV airborne recovery also provide a range of other benefits:
  • Below-the-weather ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and reduced visual and acoustic ISR
  • Attritable ISR/EW (electronic warfare) in the contested environment, allowing the MQ-9 to stand off at safe ranges
  • Use of larger and more expensive payloads at greater transit ranges compared to ground-launched aircraft and air-launched expendables
  • Maintaining the chain of custody, through adverse weather, MQ-9 rotations, or with multiple targets
David R. Alexander, President of GA-ASI, commented: “Sparrowhawk extends and multiplies MQ-9-based sensors, reduces manpower and increases ISR coverage. With attritableONE technology that is survivable and precise, Sparrowhawk is a true game changer.”

1601855257400.png
1601855308900.png
1601855636200.png
 

BATMAN

THINK TANK
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
1,892
Reactions
1,697 47 0
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
There’s ever more push on developing military drones in west, which hints that drones would be playing a central role in all future wars.
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

Double the firepower: MQ-9 tests flying with eight Hellfire missiles


An MQ-9A Reaper assigned to the 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron sits on the ramp at Creech Air Force Base carrying eight Hellfire missiles. This was the first flight test of the MQ-9 carrying double its normal payload of Hellfires. (SrA Haley Stevens/Air Force)

The Air Force last month conducted the first flight of an MQ-9A Reaper that had been configured to carry eight AGM-114 Hellfire missiles — twice the number the drone normally carries.

The 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada conducted the flight test on Sept. 10, the Air Force said in a Wednesday release.

A software upgrade expected to be rolled out to MQ-9s by the end of the calendar year made the expanded Hellfire capacity possible, the Air Force said. In the past, Reapers could carry no more than four Hellfires, two on the outboard station of each wing.

But with the upgrade, stations that were previously used for fuel tanks or 500-pound bombs can be used for Hellfires.

Master Sgt. Melvin French, the program’s test system configuration manager, said in the release that the hardware and launchers that now can be used to carry Hellfires are the same as the original stations used.

The precision Ninja bomb is also kitted out with six internal blades that can cut through buildings or cars with ease.
J.D. Simkins

“Aside from the extra hardware required to be on-hand, no other changes are required to support this new capability and added lethality,” French said in the release. "The Reaper retains its flexibility to fly 500-pound bombs on any of these stations, instead of the AGM‑114s, when mission requirements dictate.”

Adding the flexibility to carry more Hellfires will let the Reaper meet the needs of both Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command, the release said.

In the past, the Air Force said, the Reaper has run out of firepower during its long missions, which sometimes resulted in waits for a freshly armed backup to arrive before a target could be struck.

The Air Force needs the Reaper to be able to find and immediately strike high-priority targets — some of whom are only vulnerable for fleeting periods of time — as well as defend friendly forces isolated on the ground. Giving the Reaper more firepower will allow it to keep engaging the enemy during its long sorties, which often go for hours on end.

“History has proven the MQ-9′s ability to provide aerial continuity and attack support for air and ground forces during counter-insurgency and close air support,” said 556th commander Lt. Col. Michael Chmielewski. “Doubling the firepower of this high-endurance aircraft with Hellfires improves the lethality and agility of the MQ-9 over many combat roles, with an arsenal of highly versatile, accurate, and collateral-friendly weapons for all combatant commanders.”

1602119225600.png
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

Valkyrie drone launches even smaller drone from inside payload bay

By: Valerie Insinna

1617826839600.png


WASHINGTON — The Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie drone successfully launched an even smaller unmanned aircraft from inside its internal weapons bay on March 26, the U.S. Air Force announced Monday.

During the Valkyrie’s sixth flight test at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, it opened its payload bay doors during flight for the first time and released an ALTIUS-600, a small, tube-launched autonomous drone made by Area-I, a Georgia-based company that designs unmanned aerial systems.

The Valkyrie is an “attritable” drone, the word the military uses for an asset that can be reused but is cheap enough that a commander would expect and be comfortable with a certain amount of losses while in combat.

The Air Force is experimenting with using the Valkyrie as a communications node for the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets, as well as assessing it as a potential Skyborg system that would be equipped with artificial intelligence and be able to fly autonomously alongside tactical aircraft.

ALTIUS-600 can be launched for a variety of missions, including electronic warfare, signals intelligence, counter-UAS, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and it can be outfitted to produce kinetic effects. It can weigh up to 27 pounds — including a 6-pound payload stored in its nose — and has an endurance of about four hours, according to Area-I.

Both Kratos and Area-I worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop software and fabricate a carriage that would allow the Valkyrie to release the ALTIUS-600, the lab said in a release.

Once the launch of the ALTIUS system was finished, the Valkyrie completed additional tests geared toward expanding the aircraft’s flight envelope, the lab said.

“In addition to this first [small UAS] separation demonstration, the XQ-58A flew higher and faster than previous flights,” said Alyson Turri, the Air Force’s program manager for the demonstration.

Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said the success of the ALTIUS release “adds an exclamation point to the 30-month development of the Valkyrie system by the Kratos and AFRL team, which resulted in a pre-production system with substantial operational capability, not simply a proof-of-concept flight demonstrator.”

The Army is also experimenting with the ALTIUS platform as part of its air-launched effects demonstrations, including last year’s Project Convergence demo, which saw the UAS deployed from an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone.

Last week, Anduril Technologies announced plans to buy Area-I and operate it as a wholly owned subsidiary that would retain the Area-I brand.
 
Last edited:

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

Two Saudi companies to produce Turkish drones

By: Burak Ege Bekdil

1617827259800.png

The Karayel-SU on display at a trade show. (Staff)

ANKARA, Turkey — Two Saudi Arabian manufacturers have started co-producing a Turkish-made medium-altitude, long-endurance drone.

Intra Defense Technologies and Advanced Electronics Company will produce the Karayel-SU under license from the Vestel Savunma.

Vestel Savunma did not respond to a request for comment, but a company official told Defense News on condition of anonymity that AEC will provide electronics parts and Vestal will supply “essential, critical components of the aircraft.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed March 16 that “there was Saudi demand for Turkish armed drones,” without elaborating.

The Vestel official said that in addition to the co-production deal, Saudi Arabia is also negotiating for the off-the-shelf purchase of an unknown batch of Karayel-SU drones.

The deal dates back to the 2017 Dubai Air Show, where Saudi Arabia expressed interest in contracts for both the direct purchase and co-production of the drones, Turkish defense analyst Anil Sahin told Sputnik News.

Sahin said the co-production program involves building a batch of 40 Karayel-SU aircraft between 2021 and 2025. The Turkish drone will be reflagged as Haboob in Saudi Arabia.

When unloaded, the Karayel-SU can fly up to 20 hours at an altitude of 18,000 feet; or for eight hours with a 120-kilogram payload. It can fly at a speed of 60-80 knots at a ranger of up to 150 kilometers.

The drone features a 97-horsepower engine. It uses two rocket systems and is equipped with the smart micro munitions MAM-C and MAM-L. Those weapons are both produced by Turkey’s state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan.
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

Chinese company Zhongtian Feilong unveils UAV ‘mothership'

08 April 2021
by Greg Murray & Gabriel Dominguez

Chinese company Zhongtian Feilong announced on 1 April that it successfully carried out a “technical verification” flight of a newly developed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is capable of deploying a number of smaller UAVs for use in different roles, including on reconnaissance and attack missions.

Referred to by the company as an “unmanned airborne swarm system”, the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV, which took to the skies on 20 March from an unspecified airport in China, is a twin-boom design employing a pusher propeller for forward flight and four rotors to enable VTOLs.

1617902512200.png

A screenshot from a video released by Zhongtian Feilong on 1 April showing the firm’s newly developed ‘unmanned airborne swarm system’ releasing a smaller UAV while in flight. (Zhongtian Feilong)

The platform is fitted with a belly-mounted dispenser that turns it into a carrier of smaller unmanned airborne systems. As a result, this ‘mothership’ could, for instance, simultaneously deploy a loitering munition, a mini UAV with an electronic warfare (EW) payload, and another with advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, according to the company. It is unclear how many of these smaller systems the platform can carry but a company video of a launch demonstration appears to show four.

The ‘mothership’ enables smaller systems to be carried to a designated location before opening the cargo bay/dispenser for deployment. The company did not state whether airborne recovery of the mini UAVs is possible but this is unlikely to be the case judging by the size of the ‘mothership’.
 

Jaeger

Professional
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
946
Reactions
1,627 13 0
Country
Germany
Location
USA
I believe the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict proved that UAVs are significantly important nowadays for any country's armed forces, however I do believe Anti-UAV technology will be rapidly developed at a fast rate as well.
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

How General Atomics Is Going All-In On Making Its Drones Relevant In A Peer-State Conflict

General Atomics drones are gaining the ability to launch unmanned aircraft in mid-air, new self-defense options, and other advanced capabilities.
By Joseph Trevithick
May 21, 2021
1621623616200.png


General Atomics has revealed a new small drone design that can be launched in mid-air from the MQ-9 Reaper, the company's flagship product, as well as its MQ-1C Gray Eagle. The disclosure of this unmanned aircraft, the name of which has not been released, but that is in development now, is part of a larger vision for how the MQ-9 and MQ-1C could be employed in the future, including in support of higher-end conflicts. In addition to acting as unmanned motherships for smaller drones, there are also efforts underway to improve their self-defense capabilities and expand their mission sets.

General Atomics' Aeronautical Systems, Inc. division, or GA-ASI, released concept art, seen above and below, featuring the unnamed drone along with other materials it provided as part of the 2021 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), which began on Monday and wraps up today. This annual event is being hosted virtually for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

1621623630500.png

GA-ASI
An artist's conception of an MQ-1C Gray Eagle carrying, among other things, a previously undisclosed smaller unmanned aircraft capable of being launched in mid-air.


"This rendering represents the first public look at one of our new, unannounced prototypes, which has been in development for some time and is really a remarkable addition to the product line," C. Mark Brinkley, the Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing at GA-ASI, told The War Zone. "As a whole, our sUAS/ALE family of systems presents a great opportunity to extend the capabilities of the MQ-9 and MQ-1C for the future fight."

Though he could not provide detailed specifics about the drone, Brinkley said that it was one component of "a family of small UAS," or unmanned aircraft systems, which also includes Sparrowhawk and General Atomics' entry into the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) LongShot program. Sparrowhawk is another small drone designed to be launched and recovered in mid-air, which you can read more about here. LongShot is exploring concepts for air-launched unmanned systems armed with air-to-air weapons that could extend the reach of the platform employing them, something you can read more about here.

1621623653600.png
GA-ASI
General Atomics's Sparrowhawk, which is designed to be both launched and recovered in mid-air, seen under the wing of an MQ-9.


From what we can see in the artwork, the newly unveiled small drone design has a front-mounted propeller, pop-out wings, and a v-tail, and also appears to have some low observable (stealthy) features. Its general form and function do appear similar to Sparrowhawk, which also has a v-tail, but has a different pop-out wing configuration and propulsion system.

1621623671400.png

GA-ASI
Close-up looks at the newly unveiled General Atomics small UAS design as seen in the concept art released for SOFIC.



The MQ-1C artwork also shows that drone flying together with a pair of Area-I Agile-Launch Tactically Integrated Unmanned System (ALTIUS) 600 drones. GA-ASI has already demonstrated the ability of the Gray Eagle to launch the ALTIUS-600 in flight and the U.S. Army has been actively using these drones as part of work on its Air Launch Effects (ALE) program. Brinkley said that the family of General Atomics drones that includes the newly revealed design is also "sometimes known as air-launched effects."

The goal of the ALE program is to develop a family of smaller drones that can be launched from larger manned or unmanned aircraft and that are capable of working together as networked swarms to perform various missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic attack, and even lethal strikes. You can read more about the ALE effort here. The Army has also been using the ALTIUS-600 to explore the potential for deploying ALE systems from the ground and the U.S. Air Force has also air-launched at least one of these drones from an XQ-58A Valkyrie's internal payload bay.

1621623685300.png

US Army
US Army personnel launch an ALTIUS-600 from a DAGOR ultra-light vehicle during an exercise.


"Army Futures Command (AFC) has identified a future fight in an Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS)-rich environment where platforms must be survivable, attritable, or expendable to deliver sensing capabilities effectively where 1) The MQ-1C Gray Eagle flies racetrack patterns tangential to the IADS threat, at 80 km [~50 miles] distance, 2a) ALEs deploy from the MQ-1C Gray Eagle as the forward most element of the advanced team in areas of expected enemy contact in order to detect, identity, location and report (DILR) and attack/disrupt/decoy threat assets to initiate disintegration of the IADS," according to an official 2020 Army contracting notice. The word "attritable" that is used here refers to platforms that, while not explicitly expendable, are low-cost enough where they could be employed in areas where it would otherwise be less palatable sending more expensive 'exquisite' designs.

The concept of operation General Atomics envisions for employing the unnamed smaller UAS from the MQ-9 is very similar to these stated plans from the Army. "Our larger aircraft can transport these small UAS systems thousands of miles into the operational area, and provide the long-range sensors needed to identify potential targets of opportunity," Brinkley explained.

"Once identified, the small UAS can swoop in for a closer look, provide positive ID, and then track hostile actors," he continued. "That data is passed back to the MQ-9 or MQ-1C, which has the robust communications suite necessary to transmit that data anywhere in the world where the information is needed. As a team, the large/small UAS combo will be a key element for targeting, intelligence, reconnaissance, and networking across the future combat spectrum."

GA-ASI has also made clear that it sees MQ-9s and MQ-1Cs deploying smaller drones as key to how those platforms will able to support operations in more contested environments during future higher-end conflicts, just like the Army does. The Reaper and the Gray Eagle were designed originally more with operations in permissive airspace in mind and have been shown to be vulnerable even to lower-tier air defense capabilities.


"By employing these smaller UAS, Reaper and Gray Eagle operators will be able to penetrate, disintegrate and exploit anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) air defenses, and support operations in any domain," Brinkley added, though, of course, any such penetration would be indirect. "Meanwhile, the greater standoff afforded by these smaller UAS increases the survivability of the larger aircraft by placing them outside the kinetic range of tactical surface-to-air missiles."

These small drones are just one of a number of efforts to reduce the vulnerability of the Reapers and Gray Eagles, as well as give them additional mission sets, to help ensure their relevance going forward. The concept art of the MQ-1C carrying one of the newly disclosed UASs also shows that aircraft equipped with a new self-protection pod that GA-ASI has been working. The company had announced in January that it had finished a flight test demonstration of this system, which it had developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with SOCOM, on the MQ-9.

The pod has built-in radar warning receivers, as well as an AN/AAQ-45 Distributed Aperture Infrared Countermeasure (DAIRCM) system. The AN/AAQ-45 uses an array of electro-optical and infrared sensors to detect and track incoming missiles, and can then employ a laser against threats that employ infrared seekers to blind and confuse them, throwing them off course. The podded self-defense system also has a countermeasures dispenser that can release decoy flares, chaff, and the BriteCloud expandable radio-frequency decoy. That latter countermeasure, which you can read more about here, is used to lure away radar-guided missiles.

As part of the materials it provided for SOFIC, GA-ASI also released artwork depicting an MQ-9 equipped with the self-defense pod, as well as an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. The U.S. Air Force has been exploring arming its Reapers with these air-to-air weapons for self-defense and potentially other roles, including knocking down incoming cruise missiles.

1621623711900.png

GA-ASI
An artist's conception of an MQ-9 Reaper equipped with the self-defense pod and armed with an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, as well as other weapons and stores.


The concept art of the MQ-9 launching two of the smaller UASs also shows that Reaper fitted with a Scalable Open Architecture Reconnaissance (SOAR) pod under its right wing and a Rosetta Echo Advanced Payload (REAP) under its left wing, both of which are also GA-ASI products. SOAR is a signals intelligence suite that "provides identification, geolocation and characterization of RF Signals of Interest (SOI) for the formation of Electronic Order of Battle," according to General Atomics' website. REAP is a communications and data-sharing system.

1621623728700.png

GA-ASI
An infographic showing various payloads General Atomics has or is developing for the MQ-9, including the SOAR and REAP pods.


REAP underscores another potential future role for the MQ-9, as a communications and datalink gateway node. GA-ASI says that this pod "provides the foundation for an Open Mission Systems (OMS) capable communications gateway (ABMS building block)." An open-architecture system is one designed to be readily adaptable and upgradeable to give existing systems additional functionality and enable all-new capabilities. ABMS is the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System program, which is a broad initiative exploring a wide array of new technology to improve networking and associated capabilities, with a heavy emphasis on leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The REAP pod is also notably one of three pods that the Air National Guard is now exploring as part of a large upgrade package, referred to as Ghost Reaper, for its MQ-9s. General Atomics first unveiled the Ghost Reaper concept in 2020. A Reaper from the 174th Attack Wing, an element of the New York Air National Guard, flew with a set of Ghost Reaper pods during the recent iteration of the annual Northern Edge exercise in Alaska.

The other two pods that are part of this configuration are a Centerline Avionics Bay Pod, which provides an expansion area where various additional systems can be installed, and Northrop Grumman's Freedom Pod. The Freedom Pod contains the advanced Freedom 550 software-defined radio, which, depending on its exact configuration, has the power to translate between a wide array of different and otherwise incompatible waveforms, as well as sport an infrared search and track (IRST) system.

1621623751600.png

USAF
An MQ-9 Reaper assigned to the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing with, from left to right, an Agile Pod configured as a surrogate for the REAP pod, the Centerline Avionics Bay Pod, and the Freedom Pod.



Between REAP and the Freedom 550, the Ghost Reaper concept could turn the MQ-9 into a powerful data-fusion node, able to collect information from various sources, including its own onboard sensors and ISR data collected by drones it has launched, and then help push it out to other aircraft, as well as friendly forces down below. The Air Force has said specifically that these pods will allow Reapers "to receive and pass information to and from older fourth generation and newer fifth-generation aircraft," a major area of interest for the service for years now.

"REAP bridged surveillance imagery video from a Coyote unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to ground command-and-control assets," according to a story from Aviation Week last September. "Follow-on versions of REAP include Link 16 integration, providing low-latency tactical data link information to military personnel in the air and on the ground. This new capability would allow the Joint Terminal Attack Controller to designate an attack aircraft to hit a target."

Raytheon's Coyote family of small drones is another design that is increasingly popular within the U.S. military, as a whole. Coyote variants have been employed in a number of research and development efforts regarding swarming technology over the years, especially within the U.S. Navy, and the Block 3 design is now being employed in a new round of work in this vein, which you can read more about here.

On top of all that, the Freedom Pod's IRST would offer a way to passively watch for aerial threats, either to the drone itself or an other assets it might working with, even stealthy aircraft or missiles, and in environments where there is significant electronic jamming.

1621623767500.png

GA-ASI
General Atomics has also flight tested its Avenger drone with a Lockheed Martin Legion Pod equipped with an infrared search and track (IRST) system, as seen here.


All of this comes as the future of the MQ-9, in particular, is increasingly uncertain. Last year, the Air Force announced, unexpectedly, its desire to stop buying any additional Reapers, citing how vulnerable they would be in a higher-end conflict. The service then initiated a replacement program for these drones, known as MQ-Next, which you read more about here.

Congress blocked those plans by inserting funding for additional Reapers in a defense spending bill that became law in January despite a veto from then-President Donald Trump. However, the Air Force continues to make clear that it is working to move beyond the MQ-9.

General Atomics is also now pitching the MQ-9 as an alternative option to SOCOM's Armed Overwatch effort. The Armed Overwatch program is looking to acquire an armed manned aircraft of some kind to replace Air Force Special Operations Command's U-28A Draco fleet. SOCOM envisions the Armed Overwatch aircraft operating primarily in more permissive environments in support of lower-end conflicts.

Of course, any future replacement for the Air Force's MQ-9s, as well as the Army's MQ-1Cs, is likely still years away from entering widespread service, meaning that Reapers and Gray Eagles could very much benefit from upgrades and add-on capabilities that could make them more relevant in higher-end conflicts in the near term. General Atomics says that it hopes that the smaller air-launched UAS it revealed this week at SOFIC will fly for the first time in 2022.

Brinkley, GA-ASI's Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing, stressed that the development of many of these new capabilities, including work on Sparrowhawk and the launching of ALEs from Army Gray Eagles, has already progressed to a significant degree. "We’re not talking about some distant future here. It’s not 'Star Trek.'" he said.

As such, other existing and future operators of the Reaper, or other variants and derivatives of that design, could also be interested in these new capabilities for their drones. This operator base is now notably growing thanks to changes last year in the U.S. government's restrictions on exporting unmanned aircraft.

All told, the coming evolution of the capabilities of both the MQ-9 and MQ-1C within the U.S. military, especially their increasing ability to launch smaller unmanned aircraft, potentially in networked swarms, looks set to be full of exciting new developments in the coming years, if not months.

Contact the author: [email protected]
 

space cadet

SENIOR MEMBER
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,338
Reactions
773 15 0
Country
USA
Location
USA

Poland buys Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from Turkey
1621684324878.png


Poland has confirmed it will acquire Turkish-made armed drones.

“We have signed a contract for the purchase of four sets, that is, 24 aircraft armed with anti-tank missiles,” Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on the air of Polish Radio 24, announcing the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 armed drones.

The first medium-altitude, long-range tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system is due to be delivered in the coming year, according to Mariusz Blaszczak.

The new drone system was developed by Kale-Baykar, a joint venture of Baykar Makina and the Kale Group. It can perform reconnaissance, intelligence, and attack missions.

Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle can carry a maximum payload of more than 55kg. The drone can fly up to 22,500 feet and loiter for more than 24 hours.

Bayraktar TB2 drones, which entered the Turkish army’s inventory in 2014, are currently used by Turkey, Ukraine, Qatar, and Azerbaijan.

In recent years, Turkey’s defense and aviation companies made significant achievements in research and development, as well as production and export. Turkey is among six countries in the world that can produce its own drones.
 

space cadet

SENIOR MEMBER
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,338
Reactions
773 15 0
Country
USA
Location
USA

Aevum announces all-in-one drone for satellite launches, cargo delivery and surveillance​

Nathan Strout
1621722869362.png

Aevum CEO and Founder Jay Skylus stands in front of the company's Ravn X drone, built to launch small payloads into low Earth orbit. (Aevum)

WASHINGTON — A large unmanned aircraft from Aevum that can launch small rockets while flying will also be able to deliver cargo and host intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads, the company said.

Founded in 2016, the company only recently came out of stealth mode to reveal its designs for the Ravn X drone, an 80-foot aircraft that can launch small payloads into low Earth orbit from midair. Aevum labels Ravn X as the largest drone in the world by mass, with a gross takeoff weight of 55,000 pounds. But the company said it has secured a new patent that will allow it to rapidly reconfigure its drone for multiple missions, including autonomously delivering cargo or carrying sensor payloads.

“Really, the services that Aevum provides is logistics. So we move stuff. It can be both physical cargo or it can be data,” explained CEO and Founder Jay Skylus.
1621722929289.png

depiction of the different modules Aevum can use with Ravn X, including including one that can carry 264 smaller drones, which can then fly out and provide personal deliveries. (Aevum)

This multipurpose drone could be a drastic change from single-use or single-mission drones that the military has typically invested in. Skylus compared Ravn X to an RQ-4 Global Hawk, used for ISR missions. While a Global Hawk can swap out payloads, those payloads are different types of sensors to help it complete its ISR tasks. Ravn X will be able to carry sensor payloads, but it can also be rapidly reconfigured for other missions, including delivering cargo to a forward operating base. The ability for the drone to land on a 1-mile runway — or even flat farmland — expands the possibilities for cargo delivery to hard-to-reach places.

Continuing the comparison, Skylus noted that Ravn X can carry 15,000 pounds of payload. A Global Hawk can carry 3,000 pounds. Aevum doesn’t expect Ravn X to replace the dedicated mission drones the U.S. currently relies on, but to provide a new modular option that can overcome several logistics challenges.

While Skylus couldn’t speak to what contracts the company would compete for from the Department of Defense with these new missions, Aevum has already secured multiple contracts to provide launch services for the military.

Ravn X’s first mission will be the Space Force’s ASLON-45 mission, a $5 million contract to test the company’s ability to launch a payload in 24 hours or less. Aevum was one of eight companies to win a $986 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for Orbital Services Program-4, a DoD effort to use the commercial launch market to put small payloads on orbit. The company noted last year that it had also secured a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award and a classified contract.

Still, the company doesn’t plan to rely solely on defense launch contracts. Skylus said that the company is primarily commercial, with just 15 percent of revenues coming from defense contracts, and the plan is to continue to move in that direction. In fact, Skylus said commercial cargo delivery would likely be a much larger profit driver for Aevum.

“Small launch generated, like, less than a billion dollars last year. On the other hand, air cargo generated $270 billion,” said Skylus. “It’s just totally different.”

Ultimately, Aevum wants small launch to simply be one additional feature of the broad logistics services it can provide via Ravn X.
 

GRANNY001

Professional
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
337
Reactions
288 25 0
Country
Canada
Location
Canada
Hello Batman. Yes, the MQ25 Tanker Drone seems to be a real 'Game Changer" for in-flight refueling ops and would be something for Canada to at least take a hard look at for our air force. <3>
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12,354
Reactions
24,511 1,297 0

Skyborg makes its second flight, this time autonomously piloting General Atomics’ Avenger drone

By: Valerie Insinna  
5 minutes ago
1625091159900.png

A General Atomics MQ-20 Avenger unmanned vehicle returns to El Mirage Airfield, Calif. June 24, 2021. The MQ-20 successfully participated in Edwards Air Force Base’s Orange Flag 21-2 to test the Skyborg Autonomy Core System. (General Atomics)


WASHINGTON — The Air Force conducted a second flight test of the robot pilot known as Skyborg, which autonomously flew a General Atomics MQ-20 Avenger drone June 24.

The event comes about two months after the first flight of Skyborg autonomy core system (ACS) aboard the Kratos UTAP-22 Mako, and proves that the system can be used to pilot multiple types of unmanned aircraft.

“Flying the Skyborg ACS on platforms from two different manufacturers demonstrates the portability of the government-owned autonomy core, unlocking future multi-mission capabilities for the Joint Force,” said Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, commander of Air Force Research Laboratory.

With Skyborg, the Air Force hopes to eventually field an expendable loyal wingman-style drone that can accompany manned tactical jets into battle, taking on missions that may be too dangerous for human fighter pilots.

The MQ-20 flight took place during the Orange Flag exercise at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., over a period of about two hours and 30 minutes. After a human operator launched the Avenger drone and flew it to a safe altitude, it passed control of the aircraft to the ACS, the Air Force said in a statement.

“The ACS accomplished basic aviation behaviors and responded to navigational commands, while reacting to geo-fences, adhering to aircraft flight envelopes, and demonstrating coordinated maneuvering,” the service stated.

Air Force personnel at a nearby ground command and control station monitored the flight.

While initially the program will be focused on “demonstrating an open, modular ACS that can autonomously aviate, navigate, and communicate,” the service eventually wants to integrate more advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into the Skyborg brain.

The Air Force is testing the Skyborg ACS with three drone manufacturers, which were awarded contracts in December 2020. Kratos received a $37.7 million, General Atomics got $14.3 million, and Boeing — the only company who has not yet paired its drone with the ACS — got $25.7 million.

According to the service, “future Skyborg experimentation events will explore direct manned-unmanned teaming between manned aircraft and multiple ACS-controlled unmanned aircraft.”

Skyborg is one of the Air Force’s Vanguard programs — four high-priority efforts where AFRL is using prototyping and experimentation to try to push groundbreaking technology forward.

Pringle serves as chief technology officer of the Skyborg program, while Brig. Gen. Dale White, the service’s executive for fighters and advanced aircraft, executes the acquisition side of the program.
 

Counter-Errorist

THINK TANK
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
1,105
Reactions
2,852 149 0
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan

Army Orders 100 Swarm Drones From Indian Startup​

September 3, 2021 / By Team Livefist

WhatsApp-Image-2021-09-03-at-10.13.04-PM.jpg


In a first of its kind procurement, the Indian Army has just awarded Bengaluru-based startup Newspace Research & Technologies a $15 million contract to supply 100 swarm drone units. The contract was awarded under emergency procurement rules active since the India-China standoff in Ladakh began last year, forcing a slew of fast-track procurement initiatives.

Livefist learns the Army intends to use the 100 Newspace drones — a heterogeneous swarm comprising IC engine and battering powered types — to develop swarming concept of operations as well as explore technologies like manned unmanned teaming, with an emphasis on learning lessons to help design future swarming systems under. The demonstration of Chinese swarm drone capabilities are likely to have played a frontal role in compelling an emergency procurement.

The Army Design Bureau played a key role in the evaluation and procurement of the Newspace drones. A larger capital acquisition of similar drones will likely be driven by lessons learnt from operation of these systems, which in themselves embrace autonomous and AI powered algorithms to mimic biological behaviour of animals and birds to saturate an area. While the drone hardware is crucial, it’s the software that is key to the capability being contracted and looked at closely by the Army, since fine-tuning drone code will be key to tailoring the cooperative behaviour of drones in different settings, from the high altitudes of Ladakh to the desert and border sectors.

1212-1024x555.jpeg

Bengaluru-based Newspace, a startup founded by an Indian Air Force veteran working with the armed forces, HAL and other agencies in a slew of unmanned system and artificial intelligence training programs, stood first in Army’s swarm drone evaluation trials at Ahmednagar, Maharashtra earlier this year.

ErxA5RCXUAEtGjS-1024x612.jpeg
Newspace swarm drone demo at Army Day Parade on January 15, 2021
Newspace is among a raft of cutting edge new startups that have emerged in India’s private sector aerospace and research ecosystem that are increasingly being looked at to deliver capabilities to the armed forces. Newspace, which joined hands in a technology partnership with HAL last February for unmanned systems and artificial intelligence, jointly unveiled a series of military unmanned systems at the Aero India show this year, including airpower teaming systems and air-launched cruise missiles.

Image

The contract to Newspace, while small, holds huge significance, largely because it demonstrates that the armed forces are looking with alacrity at Indian private firms, including small startups, and are capable of closing the loop on procurements that would been deemed impractically elusive just a few years ago. In January this year, the Indian Army awards a Rs 130 crore contract, it’s largest for such systems, to Indian drone firm ideaForge for an unspecified number of its Switch surveillance drones, specifically for high altitude frontline units. You can read all about that procurement here.

The contract award to Newspace is one of two that hugely significant deals signed by the Indian armed forces in the past week. The other is a contract to private firm Alpha Design for its SkyStriker loitering strike drones, being built in a collaboration with Israel’s Elibit Systems. The Indian Air Force currently operates Harop loitering strike drones of Israeli origin.

In a separate development today, India & US today signed a project agreement to co-develop an Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The DRDO-Air Force Research Laboratiry (AFRL) air launched drone programs has been cleared under a bilateral air systems joint working group. Represented by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) from the India side, the DRDO and AFRL will now develop an air-launched drone system in seven years.

 
Top