Unmanned aerial vehicles | UAVs

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Small Eye In The Sky: Special Forces Will Soon Have New Enduring ISR Option
Tethered Indago small UAS delivers continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at fraction of cost


VINEYARD, Utah, April 29, 2019 - Combating counterinsurgency, conducting reconnaissance, collecting information vital to national security, United States Special Forces conduct some of the most sensitive and critical missions.



  • Lockheed Martin Indago

The people and infrastructure required for these missions also require constant protection through reliable intelligence and surveillance. That's why Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] expanded its Indago portfolio to include a tethered option.

Without the tether, Indago 3 flies for 50-70 minutes and can be carried in a rucksack, leading the group 1 small unmanned aerial system (UAS) industry in endurance and transportability. For uninterrupted ISR, special forces can quickly configure the tether, taking away the need for battery reliance.

"When it comes to unmanned systems and capability, size does matter," said Michael Carlson, Business Development manager for Indago. "We want to make something as important as force and facility protection as simple and effective as possible – the tethered Indago can do that."
Its payloads provide high resolution, daytime, electro-optical imagery capable of reading a license plate from a 1000-foot standoff distance. For nighttime, it provides detailed thermal infrared that can identify a person, weapon, and other intelligence, such as warmth of vehicle tracks on the surface. This includes imagery in black hot, white hot, and ironbow, an orange and purple heatmap color scheme.

https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2019-04-29-Small-Eye-in-the-Sky-Special-Forces-Will-Soon-Have-New-Enduring-ISR-Option
 

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INDAGO UAS
he Lockheed Martin Procerus Technologies Indago quadrotor unmanned aerial system (UAS) goes beyond an average drone’s capabilities. With its leading endurance and quick deployment ability, Indago gives civilians and warfighters an eye-in-the sky in just minutes. The UAS, along with its payload options and advanced ground control software, helps users to accomplish diverse missions including precision agriculture, firefighting, first response, and mapping, surveying and inspections.

Deployed in minutes
The collapsible Indago quadrotor UAS weighs less than 5 lbs. and folds into a man-packable unit that requires no tools for assembly. Indago can be unfolded in 60 seconds, and airborne in just 2.5 minutes.



indago-folded-870.jpg.pc-adaptive.1920.medium - Copy.jpeg

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

In addition to its compact folding design and quick setup time, the Indago quadrotor UAS features include:
  • Whisper quiet, rugged, all-weather capability
  • Configurable failsafe behaviors
  • Industry-leading image stabilization
  • Proven Kestrel 3 autopilot
  • Multiple hot-swappable payload options
  • Up to 50 minutes flight time with 200 gram payload
  • Line-of-sight range of 2.5 kilometer
  • More than 3 kilometer range using optional long range antennae kit
  • A ready to fly weight of 5 lbs. with payload included (2,268 grams)
  • UAV dimensions (L x W x H):
    • Open: 32 x 32 x 7
    • Folded: 12 x 9 x 6
  • Operating altitude of 10-500 ft. AGL (typical), 18,000 ft. MSL
Procerus-hand-controller-870.jpg.pc-adaptive.1920.medium - Copy.jpeg

WIRELESS HAND CONTROLLER

In tandem with the UAV platform, the Indago quadrotor UAS includes a weather-resistant wireless hand controller, which provides an easy-to-use interface for untethered UAV operation. The wireless hand controller can be used for small unmanned aircraft operation, whether fixed wing or VTOL, to provide onboard video recording and high resolution still images. With a runtime of four hours, the lightweight 3.5 lbs. hand controller has an ergonomic design with a large touchscreen. Among its capabilities are a full spectrum of features that help make the Indago VTOL transcend the capabilities of an average drone:
  • Virtual Cockpit™ user-friendly mapping interface
  • Powerful mission planning tools
  • In-flight re-tasking
  • Full waypoint navigation
  • Windows-based operating system
  • Wi-Fi link to laptop and video dissemination
  • Integrated GPS and 4G LTE connectivity

SEE THE INDAGO IN ACTION

INDAGO: READY FOR CIVIL, MILITARY APPLICATIONS
The Indago goes beyond the stable, capable design of the unmanned aerial vehicle. Features include an extended hover and fast forward flight capability that provides military, civil and commercial customers with a quick aerial reconnaissance capability in crowded areas unreachable by fixed-wing unmanned aircraft. The Indago’s payload system provides additional capability that separates Indago from the average drone. Featuring a quick disconnect adapter, Indago allows the operator to choose an appropriate payload that suits the mission. There are payloads available for a variety of different applications including: precision agriculture, mapping, surveying and inspection, and reconnaissance. Additional payloads are in development.


Indago
 

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Army takes another stab at ‘rucksack portable’ unmanned aircraft
By: Jen Judson   3 hours ago


U.S. Army Soldier assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), launch the RQ-11 Raven during platoon live fire exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky. Jan. 25, 2018. (Capt. Justin Wright/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — The Army is taking another stab at procuring rucksack-portable unmanned aircraft systems after trying a variety of different ways to establish the capability in the force over roughly the past decade.

For instance, the service tried back in 2012 and 2013 to issue a capabilities production document for rucksack-portable UAS and even issued contracts to a group of companies in 2013 to supply small UAS on demand, but nothing’s really gained traction as the quintessential capability.
The Army’s Raven and Puma UAS — both small, hand-launched aircraft — have continued to be in operation, but aren’t as portable as the service has wanted, particularly down at the platoon level.

The tiny Black Hornet UAS has been selected as a soldier-borne sensor, but the Army still wants to find short-, medium- and long-range UAS that can fit in a backpack, according Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, the service’s program executive officer for aviation.

Todd’s program office has been tasked by the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, to pursue rucksack-portable UAS and this time the Army is prepared to move out quickly.

“We think we will be very agile and get a capability out there in relatively short order,” Todd told Defense News in a recent interview.

The service plans to award Other Transaction Authority contracts this fiscal year to companies to move out on providing enough systems for units to test and evaluate, Todd said. The plan is to get the UAS into users hands at the beginning of fiscal year 2020, he added.

OTAs allow the service to move more quickly with more flexibility than other contracting mechanisms. The Army, for example, recently awarded OTAs to two companies to provide unmanned aircraft prototypes for a Future Tactical UAS that platoons will evaluate before the service decides to buy.

The Army has taken a step forward, according to an April 29 statement from PEO Aviation, by setting up a partnership between the PEO’s project manager for UAS, the Defense Innovation Unit and the Maneuver Center of Excellence, that is tasked to “identify and prototype new capabilities with commercial companies that specialize in on-demand, eye-in-the-sky technologies.”

The team has established the Short Range Reconnaissance program, the statement reads, to deliver an “inexpensive, rucksack portable, vertical take-off and landing drone that provides the soldier on the ground with a rapidly deployable scouting capability to gain situational awareness.”

Six OTAs have been awarded to companies to provide “object detection in both daytime and nighttime environments,” according to the statement.
Using quadcopters, the companies will, over the next several months, develop solutions for a next-generation small UAS, it adds.

For most of the companies, it will be the first time working with the Defense Department, according to the statement.

“The goal is to move with speed through the prototyping phase, with companies meeting key milestones, and then transition the best technology to production to be fielded within months, not years,” the statement says.

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/04/29/army-takes-another-stab-at-rucksack-portable-unmanned-aircraft/
 

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APRIL 30, 2019
Boeing's MQ-25 refueling drone moved to air base for flight testing
By Allen Cone


Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler, known as T1, was tested at Boeing’s St. Louis site. Photo by Eric Shindelbower/Boeing

April 30 (UPI) -- Boeing's prototype MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling drone is so huge it needed help from government agencies in Missouri and Illinois to move 40 miles.

With assistance from law enforcement in both states, a truck carried the aircraft -- which is the size of an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter -- from Boeing's technical plant at St. Louis's Lambert International Airport across the Mississippi River to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, a small regional airport next to Scott Air Force Base in rural Illinois.

The semi traveled on side roads and at 5-10 mph for much of the trip Sunday night, KDSK-TV reported. Temporary road closures were in Edwardsville, Marine and Lebanon as the jet moved through.
The plane arrived before 6 a.m. Monday, KMOV-TV reported.

The regional airport is in less crowded airspace, which "gives us some flexibility in how we can fly," Dave Bujold, the Boeing program manager overseeing drone project, told The Drive.

Boeing plans to test fly the MQ-25 Stingray, known as known as T-1 or "Tail 1," before the end of the year. But first it must pass ground taxiing tests and the Federal Aviation Administration must certify the aircraft and grant clear airspace for it to fly. Ground control stations are being installed at the airport.
The Boeing test aircraft later will undergo testing on the East Coast. The Navy will also hoist it onto an aircraft carrier for deck handling testing.

"By the time the Navy's assets are jumping in the air, we will already have had thousands of test hours on the ground and hundreds in the air," Bujold said.

The first Navy aircraft is scheduled to fly in fiscal year 2021.
Last August, Boeing was awarded a $805 million contract to build four aircraft for the U.S. Navy.

The drones, which won't carry weapons, will be based on aircraft carriers to refuel other aircraft mid-flight, including the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters.

"The MQ-25 program is vital because it will help the U.S. Navy extend the range of the carrier air wing, and Boeing and our industry team is all-in on delivering this capability," Bujold said.

Curtiss-Wright's Defense Solutions, which has been a Boeing contractor for 60 years, announced last week it has been awarded a contract by Boeing to supply data technology systems for the program.


Boeing's MQ-25 refueling drone moved to air base for flight testing
 

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Laflamme Aéro develops tandem-rotor UAV
Pat Host, Chicago
01 May 2019


Laflamme Aéro's LX300 tandem-rotor helicopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on display on 30 April at the 2019 AUVSI Xponential conference in Chicago. Source: IHS Markit/Pat Host

Laflamme Aéro has developed a tandem-rotor helicopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that the company hopes will be as cheap as the most affordable manned rotary-wing aircraft.

David Laflamme, company chief technology officer (CTO), told Jane's on 30 April the aircraft's advantage is the removable belly that can provide different capabilities such as integrated tanks, payload cover, airdrop, clima-cargo, and a sling for carrying heavy equipment. There is also extra space in the front and rear covers. The LX300 can carry about 90 kg of payload.

Laflamme said at the 2019 AUVSI Xponential conference being held in Chicago from 29 April to 2 May that the aircraft has autonomous take-off and flight, but needs to be landed manually. The company, he said, is working on developing an autonomous landing capability and expects to develop this once the LX300 starts landing on ships. Laflamme said the company is aiming for the LX300 to fly at a cost of USD200 per hour in its most basic configuration, depending on the communication system.

Laflamme believes the aircraft can fill a gap where it can be small enough to deploy from ships but still be large enough to perform critical heavy missions in defence. The LX300 can also carry electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payloads.

The airframe is 1.2 m wide, 1.5 m high, and 2.9 m long.

 

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Lockheed Martin expects most Indago sales to include tether power
  • 01 MAY, 2019
  • BY: GARRETT REIM
  • CHICAGO
Lockheed Martin expects up to 80% of future Indago quadrotor sales to include purchases of the drone’s tethered power option.

The Indago previously could be flown with battery packs that offered 50min or 70min of flight endurance, but now Lockheed Martin says the unmanned air vehicle’s (UAV) endurance is virtually limitless when powered via its tether. In an experiment the company demonstrated five days of tethered flight time.

Lockheed Martin Indago
Asset Image

Lockheed Martin

The company began publicly offering the Indago with a tethered power option on 29 April. Lockheed Martin believes the drone would be useful to special operations units, perhaps stationed at remote outposts, which need a lingering eye in the sky.

“You can unhook the tether, fly the Indago around on your mission,” says Mike Carlson, unmanned systems business development manager. “And then, when you come back to the fire control base or forward operating base, you can connect the tether and continue to do security or surveillance of a post.”

The UAV could substitute for an aerostat in some situations, he adds. The drone has a 50m (164ft) power cord.

In daytime the UAV’s electro-optical camera is capable of reading a license plate from a 1000ft away, says Carlson. The drone comes with electro-optical or infrared cameras. It has a payload of about 450g (1lb).

Lockheed Martin expects most Indago sales to include tether power
 

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Northrop Grumman aims to outsource much of Firebird production
  • 01 MAY, 2019
  • BY: GARRETT REIM
  • CHICAGO
Northrop Grumman designed its optionally-piloted Firebird surveillance aircraft so that parts of its production could be readily outsourced to developing nations that demand local manufacturing involvement.

The company says the Firebird’s configuration is simple enough that less sophisticated aerospace manufacturers could easily play a role in its production should their government decide to purchase the aircraft. The firm believes international orders of the Firebird could equal the size of orders from the US government.

Northrop Grumman Firebird
Asset Image

Northrop Grumman

“It’s a very reproducible aircraft,” says Kristen Griffin, director of strategy and business development with Northrop Grumman. “It’s a composite aircraft, but it’s not exotic.”

Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines or Vietnam, as well as Eastern European countries, haven’t been able to afford expensive and narrowly tailored unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) such as the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton, says Brian Chappel, vice-president of Northrop Grumman’s Autonomous Systems Division. They’ve also been difficult to sell to because of US export restrictions around the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), he says.

“We haven’t tried to take a large system to a country outside the more traditional MTCR [signatories]. This type of system gives them an option.”

Aside from ownership of the aircraft’s design and software code, Northrop Grumman says it has little intention of holding onto production of the aircraft’s components and wants third-parties to line up to integrate with it. The aircraft has an open systems architecture and payloads can be swapped in less than 30min, the manufacturer says.

The Firebird can be flown with a pilot aboard or remotely as a UAV. Countries can opt for a less expensive manned version of the aircraft and then later install the hardware needed to fly it unmanned.

The unmanned version has a 30h endurance capability when flying at about 25,000ft. The aircraft also has ruggedised landing gear to take off from short, unprepared runways.

The Firebird demonstrator was designed by Northrop Grumman’s Scaled Composites subsidiary. However, Northrop Grumman now has taken over production of the aircraft and thus far built three aircraft at a facility in Mojave, California for unnamed US government customers.

Northrop Grumman aims to outsource much of Firebird production
 

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Threod Systems developing direction finder for Stream C VTOL UAV
Pat Host, Chicago
02 May 2019

Threod Systems’ Stream C vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has roughly five hours endurance while the fixed-wing version has about six hours. The aircraft was on display on 2 May 2019 at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Chicago. Source: IHS Markit/Pat Host
Threod Systems of Estonia is developing a signals intelligence (SIGINT) direction finder capability for its Stream C vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), according to a company official.

Siim Juss, Threod business development manager, told Jane's on 2 May that this capability will allow a user to spot handheld radios and similar technologies on the ground. Threod had its Stream C VTOL aircraft on display at the 2019 AUVSI Xponential conference.

Stream C VTOL is the upgrade version of the previous Stream C fixed-wing aircraft. The VTOL variant, which features removable quadcopters on the wings, has about five hours endurance while the fixed-wing version has six hours flight time.

Juss said these options give a customer the choice of longer endurance with the fixed-wing aircraft, launched by a catapult, or the VTOL launch capability for crowded spaces or urban areas. The Stream C fixed-wing variant lands upside down via parachute capability to protect the retractable gimbal.

The Stream C VTOL is powered by an air-cooled two-stroke petrol engine and has two small mufflers on the front to reduce noise. Juss said Threod chose a petrol engine as it provides the most power efficiency. The aircraft has roughly 42-50 kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). Juss said the fuel tank size can be customised but that the standard is 7 litres.

The aircraft has a communication radius of 150 km line of sight (LOS) and over 250 km with range extension. The Stream C VTOL has an operational altitude of 9,843 ft above ground level (AGL).

Juss declined to say if Threod has sold Stream C VTOL to any militaries but said the company works in the military and law enforcement domains. Threod announced in December 2018 that it integrated the VTOL capability onto the Stream C fixed-wing variant.

 

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BAE Systems flies aircraft with no moving control surfaces
by BAE Systems -
7th May 2019


Using new technologies that replacing moving control surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, BAE’s MAGMA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has shown the way for engineers to create better performing aircraft that are lighter, more reliable and cheaper to operate.

BAE Systems said at the beginning of the month that for the first time, an aircraft was manoeuvred in flight using supersonically blown air, removing the need for complex movable flight control surfaces.

In a series of flight trials that took place in the skies above north-west Wales, the MAGMA unmanned aerial vehicle demonstrated two innovative flow control technologies which BAE Systems said could revolutionise future aircraft design.

MAGMA, designed and developed by researchers at The University of Manchester in collaboration with engineers from BAE Systems, successfully trialled the two ‘flap-free’ technologies at the Llanbedr Airfield.

The technologies have been designed to improve the control and performance of aircraft. By replacing moving surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, the trials have paved the way for engineers to create better performing aircraft that are lighter, more reliable and cheaper to operate. The technologies could also improve an aircraft’s stealth as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make aircraft more observable on radar.

“Developing such technologies helps to ensure the UK has the right technologies and skills in place for the future and could be applied to the development of a Future Combat Air System. It is the latest technological breakthrough to come from a number of BAE Systems collaborations with academia and industry, that will help the UK to deliver more advanced capability, more quickly, and through shared investment,” BAE Systems said.

Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technologist, BAE Systems Air, said: “MAGMA is a great example of how collaborating with bright minds at British universities can deliver ground-breaking research and innovation. Our partnership with The University of Manchester has identified cutting-edge technology, in this case flap-free flight, and turned what began as a feasibility study into a proven capability in just a number of months. It demonstrates how
STEM can be applied in the real-world and I hope the success of these trials inspires the next generation of much-needed engineers and scientists.”
Bill Crowther, senior academic and leader of the MAGMA project at The University of Manchester, added: “We are excited to have been part of a long-standing effort to change the way in which aircraft can be controlled, going all the way back to the invention of wing warping by the Wright brothers. It’s been a great project for students to be part of, highlighting that real innovation in engineering is more about finding practical solutions to many hundreds of small technical challenges than having single moments of inspiration.

“The partnership with BAE Systems has allowed us the freedom as a university to focus on research adventure, with BAE Systems providing the pathway to industrial application. We made our first fluidic thrust vectoring nozzle from glued together bits of plastic and tested it on a hair drier fan nearly 20 years ago. Today BAE Systems is 3D printing our components out of titanium and we are flight testing them on the back of a jet engine in an aircraft designed and built by the project team. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

The technologies demonstrated in the trials were:

— Wing Circulation Control: Taking air from the aircraft engine and blowing it supersonically through narrow slots around a specially shaped wing
tailing edge in order to control the aircraft.

— Fluidic Thrust Vectoring: Controlling the aircraft by blowing air jets inside the nozzle to deflect the exhaust jet and generate a control force.
The trials form part of a long-term collaboration between BAE Systems, academia and the UK government to explore and develop flap-free flight technologies, and the data will be used to inform future research programmes. Other technologies to improve the aircraft performance are being explored in collaboration with NATO Science and Technology Organisation.

 

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Marine Corps counter-drone experiment ends this year
By: Joe Gould
07-May-2019

Pierre-Olivier Nouges, left, and Bill Watson, right, take a look at the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or LMADIS mounted on a MRZR all-terrain vehicle on the exhibit floor during the Sea Air Space Exposition at the Galylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. on May 7, 2019. (Alan Lessig/Staff)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. ― A U.S. Marine Corps experiment that has deployed a counter-drone system on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle to the Mideast is winding down, according to a Corps official.

The Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, or LMADIS, comprises two MRZR vehicles, a command node and a sensor vehicle, that uses RF to jam flying drones. The capability has been deployed by U.S. Central Command, though the Marine Corps is not disclosing exactly where the system is operating or how many are deployed.

It’s an offshoot of the MADIS program of record, which is expected to support the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, with counter-UAS and a “hard kill” weapons systems. The highly mobile “gap-filler” LMADIS can be carried on a CH-53 or V-22 Osprey to detect, track, and defeat drones via an electronic warfare system.

“We’re aligned with a deployment schedule so they go out with certain units at a certain point in time,” Capt. Forrest Williams, LMADIS project officer for the Program Executive Office for Land Systems said of the capability. “This effort ends by the end of FY19, but it’s going to be sustained, not by money, but by the amount of equipment that we have. As long as Marines are using the equipment, the program office will supply them.”
PEO Land Systems displayed the LMADIS system at the Sea Air Space show here.

Increasingly, drone technology has found its way into the hands of terrorist groups and ragtag militias. ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria have been known to weaponize small commercial quadcopter drones, dropping small munitions and hand grenades on Iraqi and partner nation forces. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan have gotten in the game, using small drones to film attacks on remote Afghan army outposts.

In U.S. Central Command, Marines are using LMADIS on-the-move to protect convoys or provide a forward operating base with protection from unmanned aerial systems, according to Williams.

Data from the CENTCOM deployment is informing the MADIS program of record, Williams said. For instance, the system has been successful against a range of small commercial systems ― the commercial DJI Phantom 4 Pro, X8 fixed wing and Airhawk among them ― which suggests its strength is in its flexibility and modular nature.

Though the LMADIS is ever-evolving, the Marine Corps has disclosed that it includes an RPS-42 tactical air surveillance radar, small EO/IR camera, Skyview RF Detection system and Sierra Nevada MODi RF jammer.

“I can reprogram the radar, reprogram the optic, or the software on the tablet or something in the MODi,” Williams said. “What we’ve realized is the UAS threat is ever-changing. One day the enemy’s flying Phantom Pros, the next day they’re flying a fixed wing with certain components. What the fleet’s really helping us identify is what they’re flying and how to defeat them, so we can turn back to the fleet and give them a better product to stay up to date with the enemy’s current threats.”

Shawn Snow, of Marine Corps Times, contributed to this report.

 

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Air Force looks to Intelligent Automation for tactical beamforming antennas in future swarming drones
Intelligent Automation is providing antennas for distributed tactical beamforming capabilities in future generations of swarming autonomous aircraft.
Author
by John Keller
May 21st, 2019
Swarming Drones 21 May 2019



ROME, N.Y. – U.S. Air Force researchers needed distributed airborne tactical beamforming capabilities to enable future generations of aerial swarming drones. They found their solution from Intelligent Automation Inc. in Rockville, Md.

Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y., announced a $1.4 million contract to Intelligent Automation on Monday for the distributed phased array antenna system for elastic network of autonomous SWARM (DPAA-SEA) project.

The Air Force is asking Intelligent Automation engineers to design and build low-cost distributed beamforming capabilities with swarms of omni-directional antennas to enable swarming behavior and cooperation among formations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Intelligent Automation will use omnidirectional radio systems to cooperate and form a pseudo phased array with distributed elements in which omnidirectional antennas can steer their signals at extended ranges.

This work is part of the Air Force Research Lab's Elastic Tactical Networking for Autonomous Swarms project, launched in late 2017 to develop affordable technologies to network future autonomous swarm applications with tactical beamforming, which will differ drastically from information exchange requirements for current applications.

For example, the project seeks new communications capabilities to enable intra-agent collaboration in severely contested environments, something which existing military and commercial networking protocols are unable to achieve, Air Force researchers say.

The project seeks new networking paradigms for future swarm-based autonomous UAV missions, and new techniques to enable existing point-to-point data links for UAV swarm networking, which includes distributed beamforming techniques.

This is where Intelligent Automation comes in. The company will address several considerations to enable swarming UAVs to perform cooperative distributed beamforming as they communicate. These include:
-- precise carrier and timing synchronization throughout the swarm despite relative Doppler effects and the unavailability of GPS satellite navigation signals;
-- efficient and scalable ways to assign transmission weights dynamically to nodes placed arbitrarily for strong beam pattern properties, such as minimum sidelobe leakage, and narrow beam width;
-- efficient dissemination of data and control messages to UAVs participating in the swarm; and
-- pulse shaping, participation control, or other techniques to account for timing delays as nodes separate many wavelengths apart.

Intelligent Automation researchers will account for self-aware motion from onboard sensors and neighbor messaging in signal processing using adaptive interpolation, instantaneous frequency estimation, admissible trajectory identification, and control for sense and avoid.

Company engineers also will account for situation-aware inference like predicted motion of neighbors based on swarming protocol, and will incorporate information from onboard optical sensors, inertial measurement units (IMUs), and radar.

Intelligent Automation experts also will demonstrate their swarm networking technology using low-cost class I and II UAVs to show the advantages of distributed beamforming technology with swarming aerial assets in tactical environments.

UAV flight line testing will be at the Stockbridge Controllable Contested Environment test range near Rome, N.Y. For more information contact Intelligent Automation online at www.i-a-i.com, or the Air Force Research Lab Information Directorate at www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl/ri.

 

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Hummingbird-like unmanned flying drone developed at Purdue to push limits of micro technology
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Engineers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., have built an unmanned flying drone to mimic one of the most expert flyers in the natural world: the hummingbird. Popular Mechanics reports.

May 14th, 2019
Hummingbird-like unmanned flying drone developed at Purdue to push limits of micro technology

Hummingbird-like unmanned flying drone developed at Purdue to push limits of micro technology


14 May 2019 -- Drones wish they could fly with the agility and grace of the biological family Trochilidae, which includes all 357 types of hummingbirds. Boasting the flying capabilities of birds and the hovering abilities of insects, they represent an intersection of flying philosophies that scientists are eager to unlock.

Hummingbirds could lead to leaps forward for search-and-rescue drones, commercial filming robots, military use, and any other flying venture that is punctuated by quick, unexpected stops and starts.

The Purdue engineers trained their tinyunmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) through an algorithm based on various techniques that hummingbirds from the Andes to America use every day. After going through the training, the robot has an understanding, so to speak, of when to pause and when to take flight. Even more impressive? The robot can't actually see. It senses by touching surfaces, with each touch altering an electrical current.


 

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DroneBullet is a kamikaze drone missile that knocks enemy UAVs out of the sky
May 7th, 2019

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Imagine this scenario: a quadcopter drone, rigged to carry a bomb, is headed for the White House, a major airport, or a packed school full of children. There’s no time to track down and arrest the person who either programmed its path or is directly piloting it. The most important thing to do is to use counter-drone technology to get it out of the air as soon as possible, stopping it from ever reaching its target. Digital Trends reports.


DroneBullet is a kamikaze drone missile that knocks enemy UAVs out of the sky

DroneBullet is a kamikaze drone missile that knocks enemy UAVs out of the sky

7 May 2019 -- Officials of AerialX, a six-year-old company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, say they have come up with a magic bullet to stop unmanned aircraft incidents like this. Literally. Drawing on its expertise in areas like machine vision and unmanned aircraft, and combining that with its contacts in the defense world, AerialX has created a patent-pending solution called the DroneBullet.

The DroneBullet is described as a hybrid between a missile and a quadcopter. It is, in essence, a kamikaze drone which looks like a miniature missile, but with the maneuverability of a quadcopter.

With a takeoff weight of 910 grams, this pocket rocket has a four kilometer range and is able to reach speeds of nearly 220 miles per hour in a dive attack. It’s designed to lock onto enemy drones and then doggedly pursue them; ultimately crashing into them and knocking them out of the sky.

 

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Silvus, Anduril join forces on ad-hoc networking to link unmanned vehicles over tactical radios
May 6th, 2019

By Mil & Aero staff

By Mil & Aero staff


LOS ANGELES – Ad-hoc networking expert Silvus Technologies Inc. in Los Angeles is working together with Anduril Industries Inc. in Irvine, Calif., to provide mobile networked-multiple input and multiple output (MN-MIMO) networking through Silvus StreamCaster 4200 tactical radios.

Silvus Technologies provides wireless communications systems that work in challenging conditions for military, law enforcement, and broadcast, applications in communications and unmanned vehicles control.

Mesh technology in Silvus radios helps with video and data transmission in urban, remote, mobile, high-scatter, and at-sea environments. Anduril is using this technology to control networks ofunmanned vehicles in communications-challenged environments.

Anduril Industries specializes in autonomous drones and sensors for military applications, as well as in artificial intelligence and sensor fusion.

MN-MIMO is an RF waveform that operates in limited-range, poor-performance outdoor- and interference-laden environments. It is a blend of coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (COFDM), MIMO antenna techniques, and mobilead-hoc networking (MANET) for digital communications.

Silvus provides enabling RF technologies for relaying information between its intra-tower and drone mesh network that is nearly unbreakable, company officials say. It is for long-range, mobile and non-line of-sight communications that can transmit large amounts of HD video, voice, and telemetry data.

For more information contact Silvus Technologies online atMobile-Networked MIMO Wireless Communication Systems | Silvus, or Anduril Industries at www.anduril.com.

 

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Russia's New Stealth Drone Looks Like a B-2 Stealth Bomber. But Can It Fight?
Coming soon?
May 21, 2019
by David Axe

Russia’s prototype stealth drone was on the flight line when Russian president Vladimir Putin on May 14, 2019 inspected the country’s latest warplanes.

Commercial satellite imagery confirmed the Hunter-B drone’s presence at the 929th Chkalov State Flight-Test Center in Russia's Astrakhan region.
It was the unmanned aerial vehicle’s first appearance since January 2019, when photos began circulating depicting the large, flying-wing UAV on the ground at an airfield in Novosibirsk in southern Russia.

Other warplane types also were on the flight line at the test center, including the Yak-130 trainer and several version of the Su-30 multi-role fighter. But Putin visited Chkalov apparently mostly to hype to Su-57 stealth fighter.
Six Sukhoi Su-57s -- fully half of the stealth fighters that Sukhoi has built since the type first flew in 2010 -- escorted Putin’s Il-96 VIP plane on the trip from Moscow to Astrakhan.

Claiming that Sukhoi had driven down the cost of an Su-57 by 20 percent, Putin announced the Kremlin by 2027 would buy 76 Su-57s instead of just 16, as Moscow previously planned. “I hope that the adjusted plans will be executed,” Putin said in a prepared statement following the Chkalov visit.
Putin by contrast barely mentioned the Hunter-B. “In addition to the modern and advanced military aircraft and helicopters that were shown to us, unmanned aerial vehicles were presented,” Putin said. “I emphasize that all the activities in preparation for the serial production of this technology were performed on time.”

“Let's get to work,” Putin said.

Observers should not read Putin’s comments to indicate that the Hunter-B is ready for mass production and front-line service. It almost certainly isn’t ready.

It’s worth pointing out that Putin’s announcement of a possible big order for Su-57s also could be premature. But before it can mass-produce Su-57s that the Russian air force actually can use in combat, Sukhoi must complete development of the type’s combat systems, integrate weapons on the planes, expand the assembly line that builds the stealth fighters and train workers actually to make them.

A flying wing similar in shape to the U.S. Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber, Hunter-B, in theory, could penetrate enemy defenses to deliver ordnance.

Hunter-B is in the same class as China's Tian Ying drone, the U.S. Air Force's RQ-170 surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle, the U.S. Navy's experimental X-47B UAV and Boeing's X-45C drone demonstrator.

The likelihood of Hunter-B eventually entering squadron service with the Russian air force is "big," Tom Cooper, an independent expert on Russian military aviation, told The National Interest.

"The Russian military is running multiple UAV-related projects," Cooper said. "Thus the emergence of this project is perfectly normal."
Hunter-B could begin flight-testing any time now, if it hasn’t already done so. “the Russian defense establishment is promising a test that will include a short-duration 'jump'—the UCAV will rise ever so briefly above the tarmac to test its launching and landing capabilities," said Samuel Bendett, an independent expert on the Russian military.

"At this point, it is going to be heaviest and fastest UAV [in Russian service] if and when fielded, but additional testing and evaluation will have to take place in order for this unmanned system to be fully functional,” Bendett added. “Its speed [up to 620 miles per hour] and weight — up to 20 tons — means that a host of aerodynamic, electronic and high-tech issues need to be worked out."

To be effective in service, Hunter-B also will need small precision-guided munitions, Cooper pointed out. The Kremlin long has lagged behind the rest of the word in PGM development.

All the above means that Hunter-B might need several more years of development before it's ready for squadron service.

But Russian crews are already getting ready, Cooper said. "The first generation of pilots and ground crews for UAVs just completed their four-years-long training, and they meanwhile have plenty of experience in operating smaller UAVs in Syria."

 

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