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Unmanned aerial vehicles | UAVs

mtime7

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UAVOS, KACST developing new Saker-1C MALE unmanned aircraft

UAVOS and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) of Saudi Arabia are developing a new medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle, the Saker-1C, according to a company statement.

The Saker-1C can carry payloads ranging from synthetic aperture radar (SAR), imagery and coherent change detection, gyro-stabilised electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) gimbal, and digital video datalink. The aircraft is designed to perform long-endurance surveillance, communications relay, and search and rescue missions, among others.

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The Saker-1C has a 300 kg payload capacity, which is larger than found on the smaller Saker-1B. Aliaksei Stratsilatau, UAVOS CEO and lead designer, told Janes on 28 May that the company had to make many trades, mostly for safety, to accommodate this larger payload capacity. The tail was modified to aid mass distribution in the fuselage and an increase of inertial moments.

Advanced wing mechanisation, such as flaps, spoilers, and winglets, Stratsilatau said, was also implemented to support flight controls in different aircraft configurations and changes of payload weight. He said one of the Saker-1C’s requirements is to be able to land fully-loaded, just after take-off, in case of emergency.

UAVOS, thus, had to implement emergency fuel drain, improve landing gear capacity, and redesign many safety procedures to be approved to operate in airspace. The increased payload capacity, Stratsilatau said, also made an impact on the power distribution system, which was redesigned.
 

Khafee

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Looks like Turkish Anqa UAV.
Turkish Anqa were bought by the navy, given the location of this pic, in all probability it is Wing Loong 2
 

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White House Eyes Redefining Arms Control Deal to Permit Sale of US Drones Abroad
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According to a report by Reuters, the US is seeking to reinterpret the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a 1987 arms control agreement, so as to permit the sale of US drones to more countries where makers such as Israel and China, which are not governed by the treaty, dominate the market.

Reuters reported on Friday, citing defense industry executives, that the Trump administration wants to redefine the MTCR so that large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are no longer classified as cruise missiles. This would remove them from tight regulations intended to prevent the proliferation of missile technology, and thus also of nuclear weapons.
The redefinition would affect US drones such as General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper and Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, two large drones that fly slower than 500 miles per hour.
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An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle

Heidi Grant, director of the Pentagon's Defense Technology Security Administration, told Reuters the move would help boost drone sales by those companies, noting that some nations that have previously shown interest in acquiring US drone technology, such as Jordan, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are instead filling their needs with Israeli and Chinese UAVs.

Stemming the Spread of WMDs
The MTCR was drawn up in 1987 by the G-8 countries to limit the spread of missile technology. Its primary concern was preventing the spread of technology for projectiles capable of carrying an 1,100-pound payload a distance of 190 miles, judged to be the minimum weight for a first-generation nuclear weapon and the minimum distance for a viable strategic strike, but the regime later expanded to include potential biological and chemical delivery systems as well.

The agreement itself is nonbinding, but adherents are obliged to “establish national export control policies for ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, space launch vehicles, drones, remotely piloted vehicles, sounding rockets, and underlying components and technologies that appear on the regime's Material and Technology Annex,” according to the Arms Control Association, a US-based nongovernmental body.
Today there are 35 member nations, but large weapons makers such as Israel and China, as well as Slovakia and Romania, remain outside the treaty, although they have also informally pledged to abide by its mandates.

The MTCR is just the latest international agreement to come under fire from the Trump administration. From the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and most recently the Treaty on Open Skies, the White House has taken the US out of one agreement after another aimed at stabilizing an increasingly unstable world.

Other documents, such as the 1968 Outer Space Treaty, a nonbinding agreement barring the militarization of space, and the New START nuclear treaty that ends next year, are also imperiled by US policies.

Losing Ground to China
In a Thursday op-ed in Defense News, Heather Penney, a senior resident fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and a former US Air Force F-16 Falcon pilot, argued the US was surrendering the drone market even among its allies to “irresponsible actors” like China.

“UAVs are essential, high-leverage tools in modern military operations - from ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] to strike and beyond,” Penney wrote. “As the nation now positions to compete against high-end peer threats, American success depends upon leveraging unmanned aerial systems across the spectrum of combat. This means that our allies and partners must also have access to these same systems.”
The analyst noted that, like other Chinese technology flagged by US intelligence as potentially forming security vulnerabilities, allowing US allies to use Chinese drones could turn them into a “liability.”


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A Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle is presented during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing (file)
“Chinese equipment erects barriers to more effective coalition operations because it poses a security liability. Left unchecked, Chinese UAVs create the opportunity for Chinese intrusion into US systems and networks to observe or disrupt operations. Coalitions fundamentally rely on trust. That bedrock is rapidly eroded if the equipment used by US partners is suspect,” she said.
US intel-sharing partners in the “Five Eyes” alliance, namely the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have attacked Chinese tech companies as being potential spy tools for the Chinese government. Among others, telecom giant Huawei has been extensively demonized by Washington as ostensibly having put Beijing-mandated “backdoors” in its cellphones and 5G networks that would compromise user privacy - accusations Huawei and Beijing have both denied.
Chinese civilian drone makers already have the worldwide market cornered. According to 2018 industry estimates, Shenzhen-based Dà-Jiāng Innovations (DJI) supplies some 74% of civilian drone needs worldwide, including sales to police departments and other government agencies. In January, the US Department of the Interior grounded its entire 800-aircraft fleet of Chinese-made drones in a reversal of a prior study that found the drones would not be security liabilities.
 

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US Navy’s Refueler Drone May See 3-Year Delay if Pentagon Drags Feet on Carrier Upgrades

A US government watchdog has warned that if the US Navy fails to upgrade two aircraft carriers to operate the new MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone by the time the ships leave drydock, it could delay the Stingray program for three years and throw all budget estimates off base.
The US Navy hopes to extend the range of its carrier-based air forces by hundreds of miles using the remotely piloted MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone. It’s already paid Boeing some $805 million for three test aircraft, but if the Navy doesn’t hurry up and finish the necessary system upgrades on two aircraft carriers while they’re still in port, the Stingray system could face a delay in testing of as much as three years.
“According to program officials, the Navy anticipated the submission of strategic low pricing for this contract because of investments made prior to development award,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote in a June 3 report.
“Program officials stated that, among other things, the Navy’s potential inability to maintain its schedule commitments could require modifications to the contract that would impact the fixed price terms. Specifically, the Navy faces limited flexibility to install MQ-25 control centers on aircraft carriers. If the Navy misses any of its planned installation windows, the program would have to extend MQ-25 development testing by up to 3 years,” the GAO warned, noting that “such a delay could necessitate a delay to initial capability and result in a cost increase.”
However, Navy officials don’t anticipate a delay in the Stingray’s initial operating capability (IOC), which is scheduled for January 2024, according to a Pentagon acquisition report from last year.
“The Navy is still planning to achieve [initial operating capability] in 2024,” Jamie Cosgrove, a spokesperson for Naval Air Systems Command, told Defense News. “A three-year extension of development testing and a delay to IOC is extremely unlikely and represents improbable scenarios where both aircraft carriers currently designated to support MQ-25 testing are unavailable due to operational requirements, or the program misses the planned periods to install the MQ-25 test equipment on those two carriers.”
“Should either of these unlikely scenarios occur, the program will reevaluate the schedule and determine how to best mitigate schedule impacts to deliver the mission-critical MQ-25 to the Fleet ASAP,” Cosgrove said.
The two warships in question, the aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS George H.W. Bush, both need special control and networking equipment to support operating the drone from their flight decks. Both ships entered port in February 2019 for lengthy repairs: the Vinson has been in its docking-planned incremental availability (DPIA) period at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, since 2018; and the Bush at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, where it’s been receiving a slew of upgrades.
However, the Vinson is due to return to San Diego, California, by August of this year, and the Bush is scheduled to finish its updates by June 2021, leaving little time for Stingray compatibility to be finished.
The Navy anticipates buying a total of 72 Stingrays, with the total cost of the program estimated at $15.2 billion. In September 2017, then-US Naval Air Forces commander Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker told the magazine USNI Proceedings that the Stingray would “extend the air wing out probably 300 or 400 miles” beyond its present range from the carrier.
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NightWolf

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Indonesia reveals armed reconnaissance UAV development programme

Indonesia reveals armed reconnaissance UAV development programme
by Kelvin Wong

PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), a state-owned Indonesian aerospace company, has unveiled the first prototype of an indigenously developed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the public at its Bandung headquarters on 30 December.
The strike-capable UAV has been designated Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) and is being developed by a local consortium led by PTDI, comprised of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), as well as other state-owned firms including defence electronics prime PT Len.
PTDI’s Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) appears to be modelled after the Chinese-made CH-4 MALE UAV. (PTDI)

PTDI’s Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) appears to be modelled after the Chinese-made CH-4 MALE UAV. (PTDI)
According to specifications released by PTDI, the prototype Black Eagle UAV features a 16 m wingspan with an 8.65 m long and 2.6 m high fuselage. The air vehicle adopts a low-wing monoplane configuration that comprises mid-mounted wings and terminates in a V-shaped tail assembly and a rear-mounted engine that drives a two-bladed pusher propeller.
PTDI also stated that the Black Eagle has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,300 kg and carry up to 420 kg of fuel. It will be equipped with a 4-stroke engine that produces up to 150 hp, which the company hopes will enable it to attain an operational ceiling of 23,622 ft (7,200 m) and cruise at altitudes between 9,842 and 16,404 ft. Desired cruise and maximum speeds have been stated as between 50 km/h and 180 km/h and up to 235 km/h, respectively.
Indonesia's PTDI unveiled a prototype of its Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) armed reconnaissance MALE UAV on 30 December. (PTDI)
 

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US Air Force relaunches effort to replace MQ-9 Reaper drone
US Air Force begins search to replace General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper in 2030


Taking into consideration the trends of major UAVs countries, it will be a completely brand new, state-of-the-art fly wing type solution, I suppose.
 

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Trump administration considering new plan to ease drone export rules

WASHINGTON —The Trump administration reportedly plans to reinterpret a key arms agreement that governs the sale of unmanned aircraft, opening the door for more countries to buy drones from U.S. defense contractors.
According to Reuters, the Trump administration plans to loosen its interpretation of the Missile Technology Control Regime, an agreement among the U.S. and 34 other nations that governs the export of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The report does not exactly lay out how the White House’s interpretation of the MTCR will change, but it likely involves how the administration construes the phrase “strong presumption of denial.” Currently, the U.S. government’s interpretation of that clause leads to a blanket denial of most countries’ requests to buy “category-1” systems capable of carrying 500-kilogram payloads for more than 300 kilometers.
The White House’s National Security Council is set to review the change during a June 16 meeting, according to Reuters. The departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice and Homeland Security signed on to the new interpretation in May, and key industry stakeholders — including General Atomics and Northrop Grumman — have already been notified.
The State Department could approve the first UAV sales under the new interpretation as soon this summer, a U.S. official and multiple industry executives told Reuters.
The Trump administration has made loosening arms sale restrictions a major priority, but so far the changes to drone export policies have not had the impact desired by defense companies, which argue that they continue to lose sales to China and Israel.
During a June 3 event on drone export policy, Keith Webster, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s defense and aerospace export council, said the administration has made some positive changes — including the approved sale of General Atomics MQ-9 Sea Guardian drones to India — but “for the policy changes, it has been disappointing.”
Trump’s new drone, defense export rules expected this week
Trump’s new drone, defense export rules expected this week
The Trump administration is set to unveil a series of rules making it easier to export drones to other nations.
By: Aaron Mehta, Valerie Insinna
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In April 2018, the White House announced changes in policy allowing companies to sell certain unmanned aircraft through direct commercial sales to international militaries rather than having to go through the more laborious Foreign Military Sales process, where the U.S. government plays a large role in negotiating an agreement. It also struck rules that categorized unarmed drones with laser-designator technology as “strike enabling,” which grouped them with more highly restricted armed drones.
The United States also attempted to change the MTCR by proposing language that would assign drones that fly under 800 kilometers per hour to “category-2” status, where sales are subject to approval on a case-by-case basis, said Heather Penney, a senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies. However, that proposal was not approved by all members of the regime and was thus denied.
“We have information that the U.S. is potentially looking at an additional airspeed proposal, not from 800 kilometers per hour, but dropping that to 600 kilometers per hour — which is roughly about 320 knots,” she said at a June 3 event hosted by the Mitchell Institute. “This does not solve the problem set. It enables the look of advancement, the look of change, but really it does not move the ball forward.”
Webster agreed, calling proposed changes to the MTCR a Band-Aid.
“That buys us a year or two, but we’re right back to square one because we haven’t resolved the issue,” he said.
 

TomCat

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CH-5 Maritime Version

Wing span : 21m
Ceiling : 8,300m,
The standard CH-5 has a max endurance of 35 hrs, a top speed of 300 km/h, a max takeoff weight of 3,300 kg, and a payload weight of 480 kg.



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Four companies win contracts to build the Air Force’s Skyborg drone
By: Valerie Insinna

The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle completed its inaugural flight March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. (DoD)


WASHINGTON — Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Kratos will move forward in the Air Force program to build an AI-enabled drone wingman known as Skyborg.

Each company Thursday was awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract worth up to $400 million, but no seed money was immediately allocated as the firms will have to compete against each other for future orders.

Through the Skyborg program, the Air Force wants to field a family of unmanned aerial systems that use artificial intelligence to adapt to battlefield conditions. The Skyborg drone should be cheap enough where the loss of aircraft in combat could be sustained, yet survivable enough so that it could move into a high-end fight and function as a wingman to manned fighter jets.

“Because autonomous systems can support missions that are too strenuous or dangerous for manned crews, Skyborg can increase capability significantly and be a force multiplier for the Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Dale White, who leads the Air Force’s program office for fighters and advanced aircraft. “We have the opportunity to transform our warfighting capabilities and change the way we fight and the way we employ air power.”

Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper has said that Skyborg could eventually become smart enough that, like R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, it can autonomously present information and conduct tasks to help decrease fighter pilot workload. The system learns from prior experiences how best to support human pilots.

But in the near term, the Air Force wants to use the Skyborg program to integrate an autonomous air vehicle with open mission systems as a way to demonstrate that it can team with a manned fighter, the service said in a statement.

“Autonomy technologies in Skyborg’s portfolio will range from simple play-book algorithms to advanced team decision making and will include on-ramp opportunities for artificial intelligence technologies,” said Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, the Air Force Research Laboratory commander. “This effort will provide a foundational government reference architecture for a family of layered, autonomous, and open-architecture UAS.”
 

Counter-Errorist

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U.S. Army awards contract to SRC for mobile counter-drone systemshttps://defence-blog.com/category/news

By Dylan Malyasov | Jul 24, 2020



On Thursday, the Department of Defense announced an agreement worth about $425,8 million with SRC Inc. for development, production, deployment and support of the Expeditionary-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (E-LIDS).

The E-LIDS is a mobile counter-drone system designed to protect troops against enemy-armed and intelligence gathering small Unmanned Aerial System’s operating at various speeds and altitudes.

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 26, 2025, according to a press release issued by the Department of Defense.

No details on the system were disclosed, except that the new system will detect, track, identifies and defeats hostile small UAS.

The E-LIDS technology comprises proven, radar and electronic warfare systems, a camera for visual identification of targets and a user display to provide the warfighter with advanced situational awareness.

Once a UAS has been identified as hostile, the operator has the option of engaging with various low-cost, low-risk EW effects, like interrupting UAS communication links, causing the craft to return to its base station or perform an emergency landing.
 

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