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9 avril 2014 3 09 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Des radars israéliens pour surveiller les méchants petits drones nord-coréens

Pour surveiller les drones nord-coréens: le système israélien de radar tactique et de surveillance RPS-42 (Rada Electronic Industries)

 

9 avril 2014 par Jacques N. Godbout - 45eNord.ca
 

L’armée sud-coréenne va acheter 10 radars de «surveillance aérienne tactique» de la société israélienne Rada Electronic Industries pour pouvoir enfin surveiller et détecter efficacement des appareils volant à faible altitude et de petits les drones comme que lui ont envoyé les Nord-Coréens, rapporte l’agence sud-coréenne Yonhap.

 

Tout récemment, la Corée du Sud a récupéré deux drones qu’elle croit d’origine nord-coréenne sur son territoire. Les petits drones bleus aux sombres desseins, bien que plutôt rudimentaires, inquiètent tout de même les responsables sud-coréens, tant civils que militaires, et le ministre de la Défense Kim Kwan-jin sud-coréen a déclaré que des mesures seront prises pour renforcer la capacité de défense aérienne du pays

«L’armée sud-coréenne a décidé d’affecter 20 milliards de wons (19 millions $) du budget d’urgence pour acheter 10 radars israéliens RPS-42 pour la surveillance des appareils volant à faible altitude afin de lutter contre les drones nord-coréens et d’autres équipements de surveillance», a déclaré ce mercredi la source.

Un drone nord-coréen muni d’une caméra récupéré à Paju, au sud de la Zone démilitarisée le 24 mars (Stars and Stripes)

Il faut un appareil ayant une capacité d’au moins 10 kilomètres pour pouvoir détecter les drones nord-coréens. Les radars de surveillance utilisés par l’armée à l’heure actuelle, TPS-830K, n’étant pas suffisants pour détecter ou surveiller les petits drones nord-coréens, l’armée du Sud projette maintenant d’acheter des radars à Israël pour les déployer dans les principales installations du pays, dont le bureau présidentiel, rapporte l’agence sud-coréenne.

«Le système de radar tactique de surveillance aérienne RPS-42 est optimisé pour détecter, classifier et suivre tous les types d’objets aériens à une altitude de 30 pieds à 30.000 pieds (de 9 à 9.000 mètres) dans un rayon allant jusqu’à 30 km.», dit Rada Electronic Industries, la société israélienne qui fabrique ce système. Parmi les objets que peut détecter le système de radar figurent des combattants, des hélicoptères, des avions et…des drones.

«Nous avons décidé d’acheter ces radars en consacrant un autre budget pour ce plan d’achat», a fait savoir un responsable du ministère de la Défense, déclarant «Nous projetons de signer un contrat d’achat de radars israéliens après un test de qualité et un examen des autres capacités avant la fin de cette année pour les déployer l’année prochaine».

Une commande importante pour la société de Netanya qui a reçu, en 2013 des nouvelles commandes pour une valeurs de 26 millions $. Merci qui! Merci Kim!, pourrait-on ajouter.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:45
source JD Merchet

source JD Merchet

 

08/04/2014 Vincent Lamigeon, grand reporter à Challenges - Supersonique



Un dispositif plus resserré et plus efficace pour les forces françaises en Afrique. C’est le redoutable chantier que le ministre de la défense Jean-Yves Le Drian mène depuis fin 2013. « L’idée est de passer d’une organisation héritée de l’ère coloniale à un système qui permet de mener au mieux les opérations , explique-t-on au ministère de la défense. Les forces françaises au Mali, au Niger, au Burkina-Faso et au Tchad seront placées sous l’autorité d’un seul commandement régional. » L’objectif est aussi de pouvoir répondre au défi de la zone grise du sud libyen, où de nombreux combattants djihadistes se sont retranchés après l’opération Serval au Mali.

 

En gros, le dispositif français s’articule sur quatre grands pôles spécialisés : un pôle renseignement au Niger, avec notamment les drones Reaper et Harfang ; un pôle chasse à N’Djamena (Tchad), avec des Mirage 2000 et des ravitailleurs C-135 ; un pôle avancé à Gao (Mali), doté notamment d’hélicoptères d’attaque Tigre ; et un pôle forces spéciales à Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso), où le COS est déjà présent depuis plusieurs années. Ces pôles seront complétés par des bases avancées au plus près des zones chaudes, comme Tessalit, au nord du Mali, ou Faya-Largeau, au nord du Tchad. Cet aéroport, idéalement situé à 350 km de la frontière libyenne, peut être utilisé par l’aviation de chasse et les gros porteurs français.
 

N’Djamena sera le siège de cet « Africom à la française », en référence au nom du commandement unifié des forces américaines en Afrique, qui devrait intégrer environ 3.000 hommes. Les effectifs français devraient ainsi y passer à 1.200 hommes, contre 950 il y a quelques mois. Le « point d’entrée logistique » est Abidjan, port ivoirien qui est aussi un nœud ferroviaire et routier appréciable. Abidjan et Djibouti serviront aussi de bases opérationnelles avancées (BAO), aptes à fournir des réserves d’hommes et de matériels pour les opérations, comme l’avait expliqué le blog Lignes de défense en janvier. La France compte aussi instaurer deux pôles, à Dakar et Libreville, pour les missions de coopération avec les pays de la région.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:51
Berlin Powerless to Challenge US Drone Operations At Ramstein Air Base

 

April 7, 2014 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; issued April 5, 2014)

 

The US Air Force base at Ramstein is reportedly a hub for coordinating Washington’s global drone war. Although the revelation has stirred controversy in Germany, Berlin has little political leeway to challenge the US.

 

Statements made by Brandon Bryant, a former drone pilot for the US Air Force, reveal that Germany plays a greater role in the US drone war than previously thought.

 

"The entire drone war of the US military wouldn't be possible without Germany," Bryant told German media. During his time in the US Air Force, Bryant flew more than 1,000 operations from the US.

 

The current debate centers around the US Ramstein Air Base in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The pilot controlling the drones is in the US, but with the long distance between the operational area and the US, the data from the remote controlled drones is transmitted via satellite to Germany and then sent via fiber optic cable back to America. What's more, live pictures taken from the drone operations are analyzed in Germany and compared with intelligence.

 

For years the US has been using drones to fight terrorism in Africa, the Middle East and in the Pakistani-Afghan border region. Since 2004, the Investigative Bureau of Journalism estimates there have been 383 US drone strikes in the Pakistani-Afghan border region alone. At least 2,300 people have been killed, among them 416 civilians.

 

Foreign policy spokesperson for the Greens party, Omid Nouripour, called on the government to take action against the potential involvement of US air force bases stationed Germany in drone attacks.

 

"It is shameful that the German government simply closes its eyes to violations of international law on German territory," said Nouripour in an interview with the news agency DPA.

 

Legal grey area

 

But there are differing views on whether drone strikes violate international law. In many cases, the strikes are secret. The border regions, where the drone assaults take place, are often difficult to access even for the country's government.

 

Human rights organizations like Amnesty International accuse the US of violating international law. However, Washington sees itself in a cross-border war against terror – a conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, not particular countries. In such conflicts, persons directly involved in fighting are deemed legitimate targets. Therefore, the US argues, killing such a person would not violate international law.

 

"If the execution of drone attacks does not violate international law, it is not a problem," said Andreas Zimmermann, professor of international law at the University of Potsdam.

 

The deployment of US troops in Germany has been regulated since the 1950s with the NATO Status of Forces Agreement. Therefore "military forces and civilian personnel are allowed to take required measures for the satisfactory fulfillment of its defense obligations on the provided premises." And this applies to drone attacks according to US legal interpretation.

 

But even if Germany believed international law had been violated, it would be difficult for Berlin to take legal action. Jurisdiction lies with the US. The German government could terminate the Status of Forces agreement, said Zimmermann, "but that would be a huge political decision that would question the entire alliance."

 

Little political leeway

 

The German government could use political measures, says Zimmermann. "If there is evidence the US has violated international law on German territory, the German government could demand that the US stops these acts," he said.

 

But for that, the German government needs to know about it. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert outlined what is known at a media conference on Friday (04.04.2014):

 

"The US government has confirmed that such armed and remote aircrafts are not flown or controlled from US bases in Germany," he said.

 

The German government has never specifically asked Washington, giving America the opportunity to avoid the issue, said Marcel Dickow from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

 

The main question is "whether these operations would be possible without American technology based in Germany. And without the analysis, the risk assessment and the evaluation of whether it is a target person or not, the attacks would not be carried out," he said.

 

Apparently the German government intends to ask the US for more specific information relating to the drone program. Seibert has indicated the government will demand a statement from the US about the new allegations. Nevertheless, it is a politically delicate question.

 

"What do you do against an ally who possibly violates international law from your own territory?" asked Marcel Dickow. "The Americans are the most important strategic partner. You don't easily challenge such a partner, particularly when you use the same tools and values in the common war against international terrorism."

 

Not much more can be expected other than a protest behind closed doors.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
USAF Releases Outllook for Remotely-Piloted Aircraft

 

 

April 07, 2014 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: US Air Force; issue April 04, 2014)

 

Future Outlook Released for Remotely Piloted Aircraft

 

WASHINGTON --- Air Force leaders outlined what the next 25 years for remotely piloted aircraft will look like in the RPA Vector, published April 4.

“The RPA Vector is the Air Force’s vision for the next 25 years for remotely-piloted aircraft,” said Col. Kenneth Callahan, the RPA capabilities division director. “It shows the current state of the program, the great advances of where we have been and the vision of where we are going.”

The goal for the vector on the operational side is to continue the legacy Airmen created in the RPA field. The vector is also designed to expand upon leaps in technology and changes the Airmen have made through the early years of the program.

“The Airmen have made it all about supporting the men and women on the ground,” Callahan said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them for their own advances in technology to expand the program, making it a top platform.”

The document gives private corporations an outlook on the capabilities the Air Force wants to have in the future, ranging from creation of new RPAs to possibilities of automated refueling systems.

“There is so much more that can be done with RPAs,” said Col. Sean Harrington, an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance command and control requirements chief. “Their roles (RPAs) within the Air Force are evolving. We have been able to modify RPAs as a plug-and-play capability while looking to expand those opportunities.”

In recent years, RPAs not only supported the warfighter on the ground, they also played a vital role in humanitarian missions around the world. They provided real time imagery and video after the earthquake that led to a tsunami in Japan in 2011 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, according to Callahan.

Then, most recently, during the California Rim Fire in August 2013, more than 160,000 acres of land were destroyed. Though this loss was significant, it was substantially decreased by the support of the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, with support from an MQ-1 Predator, a remotely piloted aircraft.

With this vector, technologies may be created to improve those capabilities while supporting different humanitarian efforts, allowing the Air Force to support natural disaster events more effectively and timely.

The future of the Air Force’s RPA programs will be continuously evolving, to allow the Air Force to be the leader in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.

“We already combine our air, space and cyber forces to maximize these enduring contributions, but the way we execute must continually evolve as we strive to increase our asymmetric advantage,” said Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff. “Our Airmen's ability to rethink the battle while incorporating new technologies will improve the varied ways our Air Force accomplishes its missions.”


For more information and to view the remotely piloted aircraft vector (101 PDF pages) click here.

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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 12:56
Les drones, par le patron du 1/33 Belfort, c'est à Lille le 8 avril
 

07.04.2014 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense

 

Un peu juste comme annonce, mais tant pis! Le thème et la présence du colonel Fontaine méritent le déplacement.

 

Demain mardi, à Lille, aura lieu un café-défense sur le thème des "drones: considérations tactiques, industrielles, légales et éthiques".


Deux intervenants sont annoncés: le lieutenant colonel Jérôme de Lespinois, responsable de programme à l'IRSEM, et le colonel Christophe Fontaine, commandant de l'escadron de drones 1/33 Belfort.

 

Pratique: domaine universitaire de Lille 3, au pont de bois, Amphi B7, de 18h à 20h.

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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
Robocopter: New Technology Brings New Capabilities to the Marine Corps

 

Apr 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : US Navy

 

Autonomy options for the Marines have taken a major step forward, as officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced today two successful helicopter flight demonstrations with unmanned flight capability at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., part of the Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) program.

 

AACUS will enable the Marine Corps to rapidly resupply forces on the front lines using cutting-edge technology sponsored by ONR. The system consists of a sensor and software package that will be integrated into rotary wing aircraft to detect and avoid obstacles in unfavorable weather conditions, or to enable autonomous, unmanned flight. The capability will be a welcome alternative to dangerous convoys, manned aircraft or air drops in all weather conditions.

 

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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
MQM-107 reusable target drone

MQM-107 reusable target drone

 

April 5, 2014: Strategy Page

 

As predicted by South Korean intelligence back in 2012 North Korea has developed a UAV based on the American MQM-107 reusable target drone. The MQM-107 was apparently obtained from Syria (which got them from Iran, a regular customer for this UAV in the 1970s when Iran was still a U.S. ally). The MQM-107 is a 664 kg, 5.5 meter (18.1 feet) long UAV with a 3 meter (9.3 feet) wingspan. It has a top speed of 950 kilometers an hour and max altitude of 12,200 meters (40,000 feet). Payload was usually less than 50 kg (110 pounds) and endurance was about two hours. Carrying less fuel allowed for a larger payload. Takeoff was via a rocket booster and landing was via a parachute. The MQM-107 entered service in the late 1970s and about 2,200 were produced until production ceased in 2003. The U.S. Army and Air Force were the biggest users.

 

It was recently discovered that North Korea had also applied its new UAV skills to produce some smaller propeller driven UAVs. These are about half the size of the MQM-107 but are slower and have longer endurance. Two recently crashed on South Korean territory and were recovered.

 

The MQM-107 is pretty basic technology and North Korea added a more efficient engine and modern navigation gear (GPS and the like), as well as several powerful, lightweight sensors to the MQM-107 airframe. The high speed provided by the jet engine enables the new North Korean UAV to quickly enter South Korean air space, take some pictures, and get out before missiles locked on and hit the MQM-107. North Korea is also believed to be developing an attack version of their UAV, another reason for going with a jet powered aircraft. It is the attack version that is most worrisome since it can be sent across the DMZ at low altitude using GPS for guidance to a specific target. The speed, weight of the UAV and 44 kg (100 pounds) of explosives can do a lot of damage.

 

 

The replacement for the MQM-107, in U.S. service, was the $900,000 BQM-167. This is a one ton, single engine aircraft that is 6.1 meters (20 feet) long, with a 3.4 meter (11 foot) wingspan. Max speed is about 1,000 kilometers an hour and the carbon fiber composite airframe can handle 9 g turns. Launched via a rocket from a rail the UAV lands via parachute and can fly automatically or via ground control. Max altitude is 16 kilometers (50,000 feet) and minimum is 16 meters (50 feet).

 

The BQM-167 can stay aloft three hours per sortie. Equipped with GPS the ground based operator usually maneuvers the BQM-167 to provide realistic targets for air force or navy missile carrying aircraft, or U.S. Army Patriot anti-aircraft missiles. Most of the time the UAV is just used to ensure that radar operators can track and precisely locate an aerial target. But sometimes, the missiles themselves are tested, and the UAV is fired on. In some of these situations, the UAV is equipped with countermeasures (like chaff or flares or electronic jammers) and will also maneuver as a manned aircraft would.

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5 avril 2014 6 05 /04 /avril /2014 22:55
French Unit May Work With UK UAV Team in Afghanistan

French Army officials hope the government will purchase the Watchkeeper UAV. (UK Ministry of Defence)

 

Apr. 5, 2014 - By PIERRE TRAN – Defense News

 

PARIS — Britain plans to send the Watchkeeper to Afghanistan this year, possibly to serve with a French Army unit working with the British Army team flying the tactical UAV, a British officer said on April 3 at a high-level defense conference here by the Franco-British Council.

Britain is pulling troops out of Afghanistan this year and still has 5,000 soldiers in the field. France brought back combat troops in 2012.

Meanwhile, the French Army is “full of hope” Paris will order the unmanned aerial vehicle, a French officer said at the conference.

Thales UK builds the Watchkeeper, based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450. The UAV moved closer to deployment in the field after an initial release to service was granted on March 5.

The French Army is testing the Watchkeeper for a potential order of the surveillance system. The 61st artillery regiment attached a team of noncommissioned officers to a British Royal Artillery unit flying the UAV in Wales.

The military on both sides of the Channel might be marching to the same beat, but it is unclear whether the governments will deliver satisfaction to the army high command and industry.

A French decision on acquiring the Watchkeeper has been tied to hopes Britain will order a French infantry fighting vehicle, the Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) built by state-owned Nexter and Renault Trucks Defense, French media have reported.

A French Army spokesman was not available for comment.

A linking of the two deals would be “very important” for defense firms, an industry executive said.

A big hurdle for the UK to order the armored vehicle is pressure on the defense budget, a British parliamentarian said.

In London, a Defence Ministry spokeswomen declined to be drawn on whether a final decision had been made to deploy Watchkeeper to Afghanistan.

?“The deployment of Watchkeeper to Afghanistan or any location is an operational decision taken at the time to meet the operational requirement,” the spokeswoman said.

?The British have used a Thales UK-led intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance system, based on a by-the-hour payment in Afghanistan, using an Elbit Hermes 450 unmanned aircraft. The service has been used to fill the gap created by delays to the Watchkeeper program.

The 32nd Royal Artillery Regiment, the unit training to operate Watchkeeper, was not among the units recently named by the British for the final deployment to Afghanistan before combat troops depart. That does not mean the unit will not be deployed at some stage during the next few months, military sources said.?

Britain is starting to revive a move toward procurement of a fighting vehicle, after dropping in 2008 a plan to buy the Piranha V vehicle from General Dynamics UK.

In Paris’s attempt to sell the VBCI to London, a VBCI was sent over for the Jan. 31 bilateral summit at Brize Norton Royal Air Force base, when President François Hollande met Prime Minister David Cameron.

“A new phase was opened by that last summit,” said chief executive Antoine Bouvier of European missile maker MBDA.

The announcements of industrial cooperation at that summit was considered a revival of the 2010 Lancaster House bilateral defense treaty, which had stalled as a French election returned a new administration two years later.

The January summit announced plans to sign an order for an anti-ship missile, the anti-navire léger/future air-to-surface guided weapon (ANL/FASGW), along with studies for a future unmanned combat aerial vehicle and an underwater anti-mine drone.

The missile deal shows the need for cutting duplication in the European defense industry and accept a mutual dependence on key technology, Bouvier said.

A resistance to that dependence will mean future weapons “won’t be affordable,” Bouvier said.

For MBDA, one of the lessons learned was the need to take a “long term vision,” one that took into account the different political timetables on both sides of the Channel, he said.

“Without this vision it would have been absolutely impossible to work,” he said. “Timing is an issue, more than funding.”

The Lancaster House treaty “is above politics,” a senior French politician said. The 50-year accord set a long term vision for planning despite political differences between a conservative-led government in London and a socialist administration in Paris.

Hollande sees defense is “important,” a French parliamentarian said.

The president reportedly offered Jean-Yves Le Drian the prime minister’s job in last week’s government reshuffle, but the defense minister turned down the offer to stay on in the present post.

The annual defense conference held by the Franco-British Council is a high level meeting attended by British and French defense ministers, army chiefs of staff, senior executives and officials. ■

Andrew Chuter contributed to this report from London.

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5 avril 2014 6 05 /04 /avril /2014 16:35
BAE Taranis UCAV At RAAF’s Woomera Airfield

Satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe appears to show the BAE-built Taranis stealth UCAV at Australia’s RAAF Woomera Airfield.

 

April 5, 2014 offiziere.ch

 

BAE Systems, a British defense and aerospace company, revealed earlier in February that the Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator successfully completed its maiden flight at an undisclosed test location in Australia back in August.

 

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5 avril 2014 6 05 /04 /avril /2014 11:55
Deux Café-Défense à Lille les 8 et 17 avril
 

04.04.2014 Par Olivier Berger, grand reporter à La Voix du Nord - Défense Globale

 

La Mission Lille eurométropole défense et sécurité (LEDS) poursuit ses cafés-débat ouverts à tous. L'un consacré aux drones le 8 avril, l'autre à l'hélicoptère au cœur des opérations le 17 avril... 

 

Le mardi 8 avril de 18 h à 20 h, amphi B7 de l'université Lille III au Pont de Bois à Villeneuve-d'Ascq, une conférence consacrée aux drones : considérations tactiques, industrielles, légales et éthiques. Avec le colonel Christophe Fontaine, commandant de l'escadron de drones 1/33 Belfort et le lieutenant-colonel Jérôme de Lespinois, responsable de programme à l'IRSEM.

 

Le jeudi 17 avril à 18 h, salle du conseil privé de l'hôtel de ville de Lille : Côte d'Ivoire, Libye, Mali, l'hélicoptère au cœur des opérations. Avec le colonel Pierre Verborg, chef du bureau emploi opérationnel aéromobile de la division aéronautique du Commandement des forces terrestres.

 

Entrée libre sans inscription.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
L’intrusion des drones pousse Séoul à renforcer sa défense aérienne

 

SEOUL, 04 avr. (Yonhap)

 

Le ministre de la Défense Kim Kwan-jin a déclaré ce vendredi que des mesures seront prises pour renforcer la capacité de défense aérienne du pays suite à l’intrusion des drones nord-coréens sur le territoire national.

 

Le ministre a affirmé que Pyongyang pourrait à l’avenir développer des drones plus avancés dans le but de mener des attaques, bien que les deux drones équipés d’appareils photos récemment trouvés soient rudimentaires.

 

«Nous sommes en train de prendre des mesures urgentes, vu que les drones soupçonnés de provenir de Corée du Nord pourraient à terme être équipés de bombes», a dit Kim. «Nous mettrons en place des mesures rapidement, bien que les drones ne posent pas de risque de sécurité sérieux puisqu’ils ne peuvent que prendre des photos, comme celles du service d’images satellite de Google.»

 

Le député Shon In-choon du parti Saenuri a exhorté l’armée à mettre en place des mesures non seulement contre les drones de surveillance mais aussi contre les drones d’attaque. Le député de l’Alliance de la nouvelle politique pour la démocratie (ANPD) Park Joo-sun a demandé à Kim comment des drones «pauvrement conçus et démodés» ont pu franchir la frontière sans être détectés par l’armée.

 

L’armée envisage d’acquérir des radars de surveillance à basse altitude et des canons antiaériens avancés pour mieux pouvoir détecter les petits aéronefs et les abattre.

 

«Les radars actuels de l’armée ont des capacités limitées en ce qui concerne la détection de petits aéronefs», a déclaré le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense Kim Min-seok lors d’un point de presse. «Les experts ont en vue quelques radars fabriqués par des pays développés, nous sommes actuellement en train de négocier leur acquisition.»

 

Le gouvernement veut également rouvrir un projet de dirigeable qui avait été abandonné pour raisons techniques, dans le but de surveiller l’armée nord-coréenne près de la frontière maritime occidentale.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 11:20
USAF Releases MQ-1B Predator Accident Report

 

 

April 3, 2014 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: US Air Force; issued April 2, 2014)

 

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. --- A failed power converter in an MQ-1B Predator's onboard control module led to the crash of the aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 17, 2013, according to an Air Combat Command Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report released today.

 

The remotely piloted aircraft was deployed from the 432d Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. When the accident occurred, the aircraft was returning from a 20- hour intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance operational mission in support of U.S. Africa Command. The aircraft and one communication pod were lost on impact, with a loss valued at approximately $5.3 million. There were no injuries or damage to other government or private property.

 

According to the report, the crew noticed a loss in communications with the aircraft prior to handing control over to the Launch and Recovery Element. The crew completed appropriate checklists, and notified the GCS that they could not establish communications with the aircraft.

 

Two seconds prior to the loss of satellite link with the aircraft, the GCS logged electrical, flight control and engine warning indications. The board president found that these indicators were a direct result of a power converter malfunction in the aircraft's control module, which forced the RPA to lose control in the air and begin a rapid spiral descent into the Mediterranean Sea.

 

The board president found by clear and convincing evidence, that the mishap was caused by failure of the power converter in the control module, which led to loss of control of stabilizers and engine power output.

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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
source Army Recognition

source Army Recognition

 

04 April 2014 Pacific Sentinel


 

South Korea was reportedly considering purchasing advanced surveillance radar to spot small- sized, low-flying unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) dispatched from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing a military official, reported that the military was mulling acquiring the low-altitude surveillance radar from overseas as it failed to detect several unmanned aircrafts deployed by the DPRK recently.

 

The DPRK has flew several pilotless airplanes for the reconnaissance purpose to South Korea, which were spotted by the naked eye in frontline areas, but were depicted as birds on the radar screen due to their small size.

 

The South Korean Army was operating the low-altitude surveillance radars called TPS-830K, but it rarely detected the small, unmanned aircrafts believed to be flown by the DPRK.

 

An official at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the country's arms procurement agency, said over phone that he hasn't heard of whether the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has decided to buy it, noting that the JCS should make a decision to purchase any military devices.

 

The South Korean military came to a tentative conclusion that two drones, discovered in inter-Korean border areas recently, came from the DPRK, according to government sources cited by Yonhap.

 

Read the full story at Army Recognition

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 17:50
UK researchers create 3D-printed disposable UAV

The Sheffield UAV has already completed a test flight as a glider. Photo the University of Sheffield.

 

3 April 2014 aerospace-technology.com

 

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK, have created a low-cost disposable drone as part of a research project on 3D printing of complex designs.

 

Engineers at the university's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) said the 1.5m-wide prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can be the basis of cheap and potentially disposable UAVs that could be built and deployed within 24 hours.

 

The new 3D printing techniques could cut down the amounts of support material around component parts required by the earlier versions of the craft in order to prevent the airframe structures from deforming during the build process.

 

The fused deposition modelling (FDM), one of the latest techniques used to make the UAV at Sheffield, is expected to be soon used in the creation of products without the need for complex and expensive tooling, in comparatively less time than traditional manufacturing.

 

The Sheffield UAV, which comprises nine parts that can be snapped together, is made from thermoplastic and weighs less than 2kg.

 

Engineers are evaluating the potential of nylon as a printing material in order to make the UAV 60% stronger without any increase in its weight.

 

The prototype UAV has completed a test flight as a glider, with engineers currently developing an electric ducted fan propulsion system, which will be fitted into the airframe's central spine.

 

In addition, Sheffield researchers are considering full on-board data logging of flight parameters, autonomous operation by GPS, and control by surface morphing technology.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
Russia Exposes a Competitor to the Reaper

 

31/3/2014 Ami Rojkes Dombe

 

The "Altius-M" UAV is produced by okb-sokol (Kazan) along with "Transas", and the chief designer is Mr Alyaksandr Gomzin. The development and initial design began in early October 2011, and won the Russian Defense Ministry contest to develop a UAV with a takeoff weight of up to 5 tons (the other bidder was RAC, the Russian manufacturer of the MiG aircraft). The contract for the research and development of the "Altius -M" is worth 28 million dollars (billion rubles).

 

According to the report, the experimental model should begin flight tests during 2014-2015. The assembly of the UAV will be conducted by CAPO-composites

.

According to militaryrussia.ru website, the UAV weighs about 5,000 kg, has a range of 10,000 km and is capable to stay aloft for 48 hours. It will include electro-optical payloads and a radar system. The drone is driven using two RED A03 type diesel. Details about arming of the UAV have not yet been exposed, but it appears that this is a UAV with offensive capabilities

 

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:30
The Iranian UAV Industry is Booming

 

15/3/2014 Tal Inbar - IsraelDefense

 

The tendency to regard reports of modern Iranian-made weapon systems as "merely a whim and PR spectacle" notwithstanding, the Iranian UAV industry succeeds in developing vehicles that are worthy of more serious consideration.

 

Observers of formal Iranian reports dealing with the development of various weapon systems have been familiar, for years now, with the ritual where various weapons are presented to senior officials, normally in the presence of the Iranian Defense Minister, who has the honor of unveiling “the world’s best and most advanced” weapon systems, as they are normally introduced. Knowledgeable authorities in the field of ordnance, platforms and weapon systems, upon carefully examining the images distributed by the various Iranian news agencies, often find themselves chuckling in the face of non-operational systems.

Do the armed forces of Iran rely on weapon systems made of fiberglass and sheet-metal? Apparently, various journalistic sources (worldwide as well as in Israel) tend to dismiss the Iranian presentations as a capricious whim of the Iranian regime or as a spectacle put on for the benefit of the masses of the Iranian people, who are not fully familiar with the intricacies and secrets of the trade.

Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing tanks mobilized on trailers, old missiles repainted over and over again, and various other outdated items or mock-ups. It would seem, however, that with regard to very few categories, the Iranian presentations are not misrepresentations. This applies, for example, to Iran’s heavy missiles and satellite launchers. Recently, another category of Iranian products has joined the realm of “real stuff” rather than just a spectacle – Unmanned Airborne Vehicles.

In July 2006, during the second Lebanon war, UAVs operated by Hezbollah in Lebanon entered Israel’s airspace. These UAVs, shot down over Israeli territory, were identified by the media as Ababil (“swallow”) UAVs and their technical quality was rather poor. Over the years, Iran presented an extensive range of UAVs at exhibitions, military exercises and through various official publications.

Some of the Iranian developments make one wonder. One example that comes to mind is the Unmanned Combat Airborne Vehicle designated Karrar (“striker”): this turbojet UAV carries unguided GP bombs but does not have even a rudimentary surveillance system. Another example was the public introduction of a UAV fitted with an oversized canopy designed to accommodate a satellite communication system (like similar western vehicles) – while Iran has no communication satellites of its own, and relying on commercial communication satellites for communicating with an operational vehicle of this type appears questionable at best. Many of the experts who evaluated the Iranian capabilities in the field of UAVs tended to remain unimpressed. Apparently, however, the Iranian manufacturing capabilities in the field of UAVs have undergone a substantial change recently, and some of the vehicles unveiled by the Islamic Republic seem fairly advanced, although they tend to resemble western vehicles generally and Israel-made UAVs in particular.

Iran’s latest developments in the field of UAVs are based in part on direct copying of foreign UAVs that had crashed in Iranian territory and were subsequently salvaged, as in the case of the small, tactical ScanEagle UAV built by Boeing (through its subsidiary Insitu), which evolved in Iran into the Yassir UAV. An analysis of various images and video clips distributed by the Iranians has shown that an Iranian facility manufactures copies of the original UAV, and many dozens of UAVs were seen at the facility in various assembly stages. A close examination of the materials released by Iran revealed that the actual building of the Iranian UAV conforms to much higher quality standards than the cruder and more familiar UAVs, including those employed in the skies over Syria – a fact that signifies an improvement in the work and assembly procedures of aerial platforms made from composite materials. One bit of information that has not been clarified until now involves the source supplying the engines for these UAVs – that and the quality characteristics of the payload. It may be assumed, with a high degree of probability, that external resemblance, regardless of how high the quality of the copying has been, cannot necessarily indicate equally high quality standards of the avionics and surveillance systems. This UAV has two configurations that differ in their tail sections.

In October 2013, a Yassir UAV was presented to a Russian military delegation visiting Tehran as a gesture of goodwill, and possibly as an act of defiance toward the USA. In November 2013, clips filmed in Syria began to crop up on the web, showing an airborne Yassir UAV in the service of the Assad regime. Photographs of such vehicles that had crashed or were shot down and subsequently presented to the media by rebel organizations indicate with certainty that the vehicle in question is the Iranian-made UAV. Another interesting UAV presented by Iran is the Shahed-129 (“eye witness”) UAV, defined as a Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) UAV. This UAV was introduced to the world in 2012, and resembles the Elbit System Hermes-450 UAV made in Israel. The vehicle was unveiled initially through a series of rather blurred clips, with no breakdown of its capabilities. In September 2013, during the visit of senior Iranian officials at the plant that manufactures this UAV, additional information was made available. Of particular interest was the fact that this UAV is armed. The ordnance it carries looks like TOW antitank missiles, probably with a laser guidance head. The configuration in which the missiles were presented – carried under the wings of the UAV – was a departure from standard operational installation (which requires canisters), but it was obvious that the two armament suspension points under the wings of the UAV carried four missiles. Photographs enable a close examination of the payload carried by this UAV, which appears to be an industry standard product containing a stabilized camera with day and night channels, and possibly also a system for guiding precision guided munitions. A relatively advanced airborne vehicle, possessing a reasonable carrying capacity and an endurance of twenty hours or more constitutes a major breakthrough as far as Iran’s UAV capabilities are concerned. The operational implication for Israel is fairly obvious and presents a challenge to the Israeli air defense systems. Penetration by a single UAV from Lebanon during peacetime, against which IAF fighters may be scrambled to engage and shoot down the enemy UAV is not the same as the ‘trickling’ of numerous vehicles during an all-out confrontation, during which massive amounts of rockets are also launched into Israel. The status picture of the sky that Israel should assemble, as well as the advance identification required, present complex challenges. It should be stressed, however, that the damage sustained by the State of Israel thus far as a result of penetrating enemy UAVs was mainly a damage to morale, and the Israeli public perceives such incidents as serious and even as “failures”.

The latest innovation presented by Iran, for now (November 2013), is the Fotros UAV, defined by Iranian spokesmen as a “strategic” vehicle. It is a large UAV with a central fuselage and twin-boom configuration and a wingspan of about 15 meters. Its endurance is up to 30 hours, its official service ceiling is up to 25,000 feet and its range is 2,000 kilometers. If these performance characteristics, officially presented by Iran, are reliable, then for the first time, Iran possesses an indigenous UAV capable of flying from Iran to Israel. The UAV was presented in an armed configuration, carrying missiles that resemble the US-made AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missiles. It is unknown whether Iran actually possesses real missiles of the type described above. The resemblance between the Iranian Fotros UAV and the IAI Heron UAV made in Israel was clearly visible, and there is no doubt that the Iranian engineers were “inspired” by the Israeli UAV. One should not rule out the possibility that in their configuration selection considerations the Iranians did not just want to rely on successful and proven designs, but also attempted to reach a high degree of visual resemblance that would make it difficult to identify their UAVs as hostile, thereby improving their survivability should they be employed over Israel. In conclusion, it appears that the Iranian UAV industry has undergone a substantial transformation in recent years, as it currently presents products that are more advanced than those presented in the past. The UAVs we currently see in Iran are employed, in part, in various areas of conflict (Syria, Sudan) and are also being delivered to Hezbollah.

The Israeli defense establishment should pay heed and prepare to deal with these threats well in advance. 

***

The writer is the head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Pentagon to organize drones in teams for sharing data, fighting together

 

Moscow Apr 01, 2014 Spacewar.com  (Voice of Russia)

 

The Pentagon's research unit is ready to launch a program that unites drones into teams allowing them to share data and act together on a battlefield while being operated by one human. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that the Proposers' Day for its Collaborative Operations in Denied Environments (CODE) program will be held on April 11. CODE's goal is to unite "autonomy and inter-platform collaboration" of unmanned aerial vehicles.

DARPA intends to develop four "critical technology areas" for its future drones: single-drone flight autonomy; a human-systems interface that allows a "mission commander" to operate a drone fleet; drone-team collaboration; and an "open architecture" that allows drones to pass information between each other and humans.

According to DARPA, the CODE project will prepare today's relatively primitive drones for future conflicts, which will be characterized by "a higher level of threats, contested electromagnetic spectrum, and re-locatable targets." DARPA believes that in future, drone technology will be more widespread, and enemies will be more ready to counteract.

It was recently reported that DARPA is also doubling funding for its Hydra program, which develops underwater drones. Some of DARPA's other projects include inaudible military vehicles, the ATLAS robot, brain-reading technology and lasers to shoot down multiple enemy drones.

 

Smartphone-controlled drones to support US troops in combat zones
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes to work with contractors to develop smartphone-controlled drones for US Army ground troops to use to stay better protected while out in the field.

"Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don't have their own helicopters," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, in a press statement. "ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units. Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success."

The ARES is in its third and final phase, with Lockheed Martin currently taking the lead on DARPA's research.

There is increased interest in using smaller, field-deployable drones, so soldiers on the ground are able to do short-range reconnaissance - or to launch small-scale aerial assaults. Unlike civilian smartphone-controlled drones, DARPA is seeking technology able to carry up to 3,000 pounds, allowing for weapons and supply reinforcements as well.

Private sector companies and government contractors have already developed technologies for use by special forces, but ARES could be widely deployed.

 

DARPA's new search engine to crawl Deep Web, root out human trafficking and illicit business
A new kind of web search engine capable of ferreting out human trafficking operations and other illegal activities, hidden in the "deep Web" of the Internet, is expected to become reality in a few years as the US agency responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military is looking for a partner to create a project which may come in handy for law enforcement and military operations.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is the agency which works on the development of new military technologies such as robots, satellites and body armor. It is currently seeking ways to technologically index the "deep Web" of the Internet - forums, chat rooms and other semi-hidden parts of the Web - which are not scanned by the majority of search engines such as Google and Bing and where a substantial part of illicit business takes place.

The brand-new project was dubbed "Memex " which is a combination of the words "memory" and "index." The main objective of Memex is rooting out human trafficking operations, including labor and sex trafficking. The system is supposed to replace sites that have enabled software that currently prevents them from being "crawled" by today's search engines. According to DARPA, "an index curated for the counter trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis will enable a new opportunity for military, law enforcement, legal, and intelligence actions to be taken against trafficking enterprises."

Last year, Time magazine wrote about the "deep Web", emphasizing that it is an "electronic haven for thieves, child pornographers, human traffickers, forgers, assassins and peddlers of state secrets and loose nukes." The problem is that many of these sites hide in the less-monitored corners of the Internet and cannot be accessed with normal search engines as they require specific software programs.

Interestingly, the "deep Web" was crafted by the US government as a tool for espionage agents and law enforcement. However, over the past decade, it became widely used by people searching for privacy or ways to conduct illicit activities on the Internet secretly.

The Memex project was opened for proposals last week and companies can submit their final proposals until April 8.

 

Meet ARES: DARPA's newest transformer-style drones under development
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DAPRA, presented concept images of its scheme to pair up the US military with modular drones named Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES for short), capable of transforming to comply with the needs of different missions.

The ARES drone will be utilized as an unmanned vehicle that would be able to set military units down in dangerous environments. The UAV could also be used as a resupplying entity for troop deployments. If injured combatants need to be evacuated from an area, ARES can help facilitate such ventures.

The final variant of ARES has been shown off as a sort of drone that can buzz around air space but can also be connected to a variety of modules such as vehicles or special container units. It was created from a project called Transformer (TX) with the primary goal being to make "a ground vehicle that is capable of configuring into a VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] air vehicle that provides sufficient flight performance and range, while carrying a payload that is representative of four troops with gear."

"ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units," Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager, said in a statement, "Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success." Design assistance and system integration techniques are being taken care of by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks, with ARES in its last stage.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 17:30
The Politics of Israel's UAV Industry

 

 

26/3/2014 Ami Rojkes Dombe - .israeldefense.com

 

Israel is one of the world's largest arms exporters, so why do the Israeli defense industries find it so hard to maintain their status at the top of the global UAV market?


 

The State of Israel has been known as a world leader in defense exports in the last few decades, and that includes the success of the Israeli UAV industry. According to a report by the consulting agency Frost & Sullivan, the sales turnover generated by this particular field was US$ 4.6 billion over the last eight years. Much of this success may be attributed to sales of such Unmanned Airborne Vehicles as IAI's Heron, Elbit Systems' Hermes and Aeronautics' Orbiter.

Behind the various news reports that bolster Israeli national pride, lurks a truth that has the potential of overshadowing the accomplishments of this industry in the future. Like other sectors of the Israeli defense industry, the UAV industry also relies primarily on sales to overseas clients, with a ratio of about 20% sales to the local market and about 80% to foreign countries. However, unlike other industries that also focus on exports, like agriculture, fashion or diamonds, the operations of the Israeli UAV manufacturers is subject to the supervision of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD).

This situation has created a complex reality. On the one hand, you have the manufacturers, who need the money from the sales of UAVs to foreign countries in order to exist. On the other hand you have IMOD, which is responsible for promoting their exports while at the same time supervising those exports as well as promoting the development of new technologies. On the face of it, these are two conflicting functions being run under the same umbrella. Support for weapon system sales is provided by SIBAT – IMOD's Defense Export & Cooperation Agency; development of future technologies is the responsibility of MAFAT – IMOD's Administration for the Development of Weapon Systems and Technological Infrastructure, and the regulation of defense exports is the responsibility of API, IMOD's Defense Export Controls Agency (DECA). This reality has created tensions between the Israeli UAV manufacturers and IMOD as the business interests of the industries are not always consistent with government and political interests.

Sources in the industry claim that the State of Israel, through the three IMOD agencies outlined above, fails to manage the UAV market in a manner that would maintain Israel's advantage. "We should bear in mind that this is a small country. The budgets of the IDF and MAFAT are small compared to the USA, Europe or China, so the budgets must be managed intelligently, so as to enable all of the companies to compete in Israel as well as abroad. Instead, every company attempts to eliminate the others in the war over tenders."

The processes that take place under the surface are the result of the UAV export procedures. The first stage involves developing a product or a capability, establishing a company and registering a patent. After the entrepreneur has completed these initial moves, which cost him a lot of money, he should apply to DECA for two permit types. One for marketing (defense marketing permit) and the other for export (defense export permit). The marketing permit allows him to engage in marketing activities, such as meeting with prospective clients, submitting quotes and so forth. The export permit allows him to fulfill deals that had been closed, namely – to actually export the product or knowledge to the foreign client. From that moment on, every activity he initiates in order to carry out a sale overseas must be reported to and sanctioned by the Ministry of Defense.

Sources in the industry claim that this procedure is nothing but over-complicated and burdensome red tape, while IMOD officials claim that these mechanisms were intended to prevent classified technologies from reaching countries that are hostile to Israel – which could undermine the qualitative advantage of the IDF or cause diplomatic problems for Israel vis-à-vis friendly countries: two different viewing angles of the same reality.

As this field is evolving worldwide, it attracts new entrepreneurs: more than 30 UAV companies operate in Israel today. Some of these companies are capable of manufacturing a complete UAV system, which includes the unmanned vehicle and its support systems. This category includes IAI, Elbit Systems and Aeronautics. Other companies manufacture auxiliary and complementary systems such as payloads, control systems or specialized capabilities such as imagery analysis, et al.

What is the actual scope of the global UAV market? According to the National Defense Magazine website, about 4,000 UAVs have been operating worldwide in May 2013. The sales turnover of this market in 2013 was US$ 11 billion according to an AVUSI survey. According to Frost & Sullivan, the global (cumulative) sales turnover in 2011-2020 is expected to exceed US$ 61 billion and according to a report by the Aerospace America organization, some 270 manufacturers from 57 countries, producing a total of 960 different models, are competing for that money.

Like other major technological markets in the world, including cyber, software and biomed, the UAV market provides a field of activity for many entrepreneurs – possibly too many for a small country like Israel. Many of those entrepreneurs had grown up in the major industries or in the military, and made the spin-off into smaller industries. Not all of these smaller industries present new or innovative technologies. This is possibly one of the causes of the fierce competition in the Israeli UAV market. Is the State of Israel simply too small to accommodate so many manufacturers in the same line of business? The answer depends on the party being asked. In effect, IMOD officials say that there is not enough money to promote everyone. On the other hand, the manufacturers expect government support: once again – two different viewing angles of the same reality.

In comparison, the USA has four major UAV manufacturers: General Atomics (which, financially, accounts for one half of the USA UAV market), Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin and the partnership between Boeing and AAI Textron. Most of the sales of these industries are aimed at the US military, and only 20% of their revenue stems from exports – just the opposite of the situation in Israel.

"The fierce competition notwithstanding, it is the task of the State of Israel to continue to lead the market. Export transactions are the economic engine that enables the continued development of the industry and provides IMOD with the ability to implement the development of cutting-edge operational capabilities for its own needs," says a source in the industry. "Without the exports, we will lose the UAV capabilities that we know today. It is a business cycle that necessitates the promotion of export transactions by the defense establishment."

The importance of the UAV industry to Israel stems from a number of reasons. Firstly, this industry provides the IDF with a qualitative advantage. Today, Israel is second only to the USA in the development of UAV technology. Another reason pertains to business. The sales of the UAV industry generate proceeds from taxes to the national treasure, contribute to the increase in national exports and provide employment to some 3,000 households directly, plus several thousands of households indirectly.

 

Defense Venture Capital Fund

One of the most important arms of IMOD in the context of assisting UAV manufacturers is MAFAT. Although the budget of this unit is never published openly, it is, in fact, Israel's largest government-owned venture capital fund – larger even than the Chief Scientist, an agency that operates under the Ministry of Economy. Why venture capital? Because the money comes from the taxes paid by the Israeli citizens (a part of the national defense budget) and is invested in the development of future technologies. Some of these investments will succeed while others will fail. IMOD invests the money in academic institutions and business companies, and most of it goes to defense industries. There, IMOD says, they know how to develop the weapon systems needed by IDF.

In cases where the research activity succeeds, the resulting technologies can be converted into products ('spin-off') which may be sold to clients overseas. In such cases, the State of Israel is paid a percentage for the initial investment made by MAFAT only for government-to-government (G2G) sales. Hence, IMOD as the fund owner has an interest in investing in the major UAV companies, which stand a better chance of selling their products to other countries. Such transactions will yield, for the State of Israel, a return on its investment.

According to sources in the industry, in the USA, for example, the state compels the winning industry – which is normally one of the major players – to assign parts of the project to smaller companies. In this way, the state looks after everyone. Over there, they also have tenders that are intended exclusively for small industries. "Every small UAV company in Israel would love to work for IAI or Elbit, as that would exempt them from investing in marketing channels on the one hand, while allowing them to continue developing their proprietary technologies on the other hand," say sources in the industry. IMOD officials say, on the other hand, that in the USA there is a process of merging and unification of companies owing to the competition. "Out of ten manufacturers of fighter aircraft they had in the past, only three remained. The same process is underway in the UAV industry as well."

The manufacturers' claims notwithstanding, one should bear in mind that IMOD, as a government agency, takes into account considerations other than just business considerations. For example, upholding the MTCR Treaty – a treaty intended to prevent the proliferation of platforms capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This definition includes long-range missiles and supporting technologies, as well as large UAVs – those capable of flying to a range of more than 300 kilometers while carrying a payload of more than 500 kilograms (Category 1), or those capable of flying to a range of more than 300 kilometers while carrying a payload of less than 500 kilograms (Category 2). Although Israel did not sign this treaty, it upholds it.

The implication of upholding this treaty is that in effect, Category 1 UAVs cannot be exported except by the state, while the exportation of Category 2 UAVs requires the authorization of a special committee, including the attachment of a user's declaration on behalf of the purchasing party. In response to the claims made by some manufacturers, according to which this treaty damages Israel's competitiveness, sources at IMOD explained that the treaty actually contributes to the business interests of the State of Israel. "In the long run, deviating from the treaty will damage the exports of the entire defense industry," says an IMOD official. Beyond that, the State of Israel has a national defense interest in promoting international mechanisms that would restrict the proliferation of technologies designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Along with the MTCR Treaty, Israel also upholds the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods & Technologies – another agreement it did not sign. This international agreement is intended to prevent the proliferation of dual-use goods and technologies, namely – goods and technologies that may be used for civilian as well as for military purposes. This agreement applies to the smaller UAVs that cannot reach ranges of 300 kilometers and are not covered by the MTCR Treaty. In this case, too, it is the interest of the State of Israel to make it difficult for the terrorist organizations to obtain advanced technological resources in the guise of civilian technologies.

On the other hand, sources in the industry claim that this is just another hindrance imposed on Israel's competitiveness in the global market, especially with regard to such sectors as agriculture, energy or homeland security (HLS), where the need for small UAVs is currently evolving. "Today, all UAV elements may be obtained through the civilian market worldwide, which makes it possible for any private party to build a system and operate it under no supervision whatsoever, while we still have to cope with the same supervision as for military systems. If we fail to see to it that the rules are changed, we will not be able to compete in the future world and our technological superiority will vanish," say sources in the industry.



Elbit Systems' Heron 900 (Photo: Elbit Systems)

In arms transactions vis-à-vis international parties, one of the first questions raised by the client is "Is this technology used by the IDF?" Both IMOD and the industry understand that the IDF's seal of approval is an effective opener of doors and pockets abroad.

In this context, sources in the industry say that the larger manufacturers have an advantage, and in effect the smaller manufacturers find it hard to work opposite the IDF and are therefore unable to compete for international tenders. "In the case of the larger industries, a development tender is linked to purchasing and then everything is registered under purchasing and that is reflected in the tender. The small and medium manufacturers cannot even participate in these tenders," say sources in the industry.

In response, sources at IMOD say that in many of the tenders issued for the benefit of the IDF, the smaller manufacturers did not want to participate at all. On the contrary, they say at IMOD, the government sometimes promotes products that are not used by IDF. As an example, the IMOD sources point to the support provided to Urban Aeronautics, a small company from the town of Yavne. Despite the fact that the product in question is not used by IDF, IMOD thought that the technology was unique and invested several millions in R&D and marketing for the company, as well as introducing the company to potential clients in the USA and Europe.

 

"Defense - Not Business"

In addition to the restrictions on exportation, controlled by the government of Israel, another, external variable should be addressed here – the competition in the global market. Although Israel has done well over the last eight years, the evolving UAV market has produced new manufacturers in places where they had never existed before. In addition to the USA, which is regarded as the global leader of this industry, China has begun manufacturing UAVs as well. As with other product categories, China aspires to become the global leader in this field, too – and the prices match its ambitions.

Additionally, UAV manufacturers can now be found in Europe, in Iran, in the United Arab Emirates, in South Africa and in South America. Admittedly, some of these manufacturers have not demonstrated any commercial capabilities yet, but they are definitely on the way. Also, in 2013 France, Italy and Holland, along with Britain, preferred to purchase US-made Predator UAV systems over Israeli systems of the same category. This trend is expected to intensify with the expected pullout of the US forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent 'flooding' of the global market with unmanned systems they had been using over there. Only last year, the US government granted permits for export to 66 countries.

Sources in the industry claim that the gap between the reality of the global market and the export control mechanism of IMOD hinders the growth of exports and could damage Israel's competitiveness in the future. "This cannot work. Defense people cannot supervise business people," they explain. "A former IAF officer does not understand the interests of a UAV manufacturer who sells to clients on four continents. He does not understand the dynamics of doing business in those places. He understands the needs of the IAF and IDF, but he does not know that today you can buy UAV technologies from many sources around the world. If we do not sell, the client will buy it elsewhere."

Apparently, there is a certain degree of consensus around this particular claim, and sources at IMOD say that one of the objectives for the coming year is to improve the UAV export authorization procedure. "This involves streamlining and improving the efficiency of processes, which would shorten the response interval of the manufacturer vis-à-vis the client," IMOD sources explain. If everything goes well, these improvements are expected to become effective in a few months.

Conversely, IMOD sources claim that the fact that the Israeli industry tops the global UAV export charts, even above the US industry, proves the Ministry's liberalism compared to similar agencies in the USA or Europe. These sources further claim that Israeli policy maintains that politicians do not promote specific transactions, but endeavor to promote Israeli industry generally.

So, what can be done after all to overcome the difficulties? Firstly, the supervision and involvement of IMOD in export processes should be adapted to the changes that are taking place in the global UAV market. The technological changes in this market call for procedures and directives that would enable the manufacturer to respond promptly to the client's demands.

IMOD can also compel the larger industries to enable the smaller industries to participate in the tenders it issues as well as in the export permit terms. In most cases, it is public money that finances the technological development and the global marketing of the products by MAFAT and SIBAT, respectively. These funds can be channeled to maintaining the qualitative advantage of the IDF as well as for maintaining the industry. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the budget in question is limited and should be used to support many companies. Consequently, say sources at IMOD, the manufacturers' expectations should match this fact.

Another option is to incorporate the Ministry of Economy in the export control process. At the present time, the decision as to where to export to, how much to export and what to export is an outcome of meetings between SIBAT, API (DECA), MAFAT, MALMAB (the agency in charge of security within IMOD) – all IMOD agencies, other intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All of these elements share the same defense or political concept, and adding a body with an economic concept can balance the picture. Admittedly, at IMOD they claim that the contrast between SIBAT and API (DECA) serves this purpose, but in effect, almost all of the officials in these agencies had grown up within the defense establishment and consequently that claim is only partially true.

Yet another move – possibly the most important one – that may be initiated is to encourage an open dialog between the industry and IMOD. This should enable the manufacturers, on the one hand, to present their difficulties and raise them for discussion, while on the other hand providing IMOD with the opportunity to explain its business, political and defense/security considerations. The understanding that there is a direct connection between the successful sales of Israeli UAV systems around the world and the need to maintain and promote the operational advantage of the IDF should constitute the foundation for the claims of both sides. Eventually, the cooperation between the commercial sector and the government sector will determine Israel's share in a highly competitive market.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 16:25
Brazil AF Details Hermes 900 Purchase

 

April 1, 2014 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: Brazilian air force; dated March 27, 2014)

 (Issued in Portuguese; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

 

Hermes 900 Enhances FAB’s Electronic Reconnaissance Capability

 

The rationale for buying a single large UAV to patrol several cities during the World Cup is unclear, but at least the Hermes 900 (above) is at least twice as capable as the Hermes 450s that Brazil now operates. (Elbit photo)

 

Purchased for use during the World Cup, this equipment is among the most modern in the world and will strengthen border monitoring

 

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has acquired a unit of the Israeli Elbit Systems Hermes 900 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). The contract signed last week (March 19) includes logistical support and a one-year warranty of the equipment.

 

The purchase was closed by the Air Force Logistics Center (CELOG) which has been negotiating the deal since last year. According to CELOG commander, Air Brigadier Ricardo César Mangrich, the new UAV will arrive in Brazil in early May, and will be ready for use during football the World Cup. The competition starts in June.

 

The new aircraft will be operated by the “Horus” Squadron (1º / 12º GAV), which has been operating the FAB’s RQ-450 Hermes unmanned aircraft since 2011. Headquartered in Santa Maria (RS), the squadron has begun theoretical training courses for Hermes 900 crews. Acquiring a UAV which belongs to the same “family” as the ones already in service facilitates the service introduction process. So much so, in fact, that the crew will operate the new aircraft during takeoffs and landings from the same ground station (shelter) currently used. The acquisition is also part of the FAB’s plan for UAV acquisition.

 

New Features

 

In addition to the well-known RQ-450 Hermes, among the main advantages of operating Hermes 900 is its “SkEye.” This is a set of 10 high-resolution cameras which allow surveillance of an entire region. The software which processes the set of images, allows them to be viewed independently, and so different targets can be monitored simultaneously within a given area. About 10 people will be needed to operate the new equipment. This sensor fitted to the Hermes 900 bought by Brazil was, until now, only available to the Armed Forces of Israel.

 

Classified as a category-4 equipment, the Hermes 900 is operated using satellite communications. The link will allow the machine to fly well beyond the 250 km range of the Hermes 450. In addition, the 900 can fly at 30,000 feet (over 9000 meters high) and has an endurance of over 30 hours of flight time -- about double that of the RQ-450. These advantages are important allies in the toolset used by FAB for the electronic monitoring of borders.

 

In the Americas, the Hermes 900 is operated by Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 12:25
Hermes 900 photo Elbit Systems

Hermes 900 photo Elbit Systems

 

26.03.2014 Helen Chachaty journal-aviation.com

 

Elbit Systems annonce avoir signé un contrat avec le Brésil pour la fourniture d’un drone Hermes 900. Le drone MALE devrait être livré à la Força Aérea Brasileira d’ici deux mois, précise l’industriel israélien. L’Hermes 900 sera exploité avec les quatre Hermes 450 déjà en service au sein de la FAB, deux avaient été livrés en 2011, deux autres en 2013.

 

L’ensemble de la flotte devrait notamment servir pour des missions de sécurité et de surveillance lors de la Coupe du monde de football, qui aura lieu en juin-juillet de cette année.

 

Elbit Systems précise par ailleurs avoir huit pays clients de l’Hermes 900. Cinq sont « officiellement » connus : Israël, le Brésil, le Chili, la Colombie et le Mexique. Le nombre exact d’appareils en service est par contre gardé secret, Elbit parle de « douzaines de plateformes » vendues en Israël, en Europe et en Amérique Latine.

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
Remotely piloted aircraft report

An RAF Reaper remotely piloted air system over Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer Airman (Photographer) Tam McDonald, UK MoD]

 

25 March 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

A Defence Select Committee report published today says remotely piloted aircraft are an important military capability for the future.


 

The rapid development of remotely piloted air systems by the UK armed forces over the past decade has contributed greatly to the effectiveness of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, says the report.

And that the provision of enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance that these air systems provide to troops on the ground has undoubtedly saved lives and prevented casualties.

The report also sets out that the ‘increasingly contentious debate’ in the UK in recent years surrounding remotely piloted air systems, commonly called ‘drones’, was mainly due to a lack of information or misunderstanding about their use.

 

Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois said:

With so much argument surrounding the UK’s use of remotely piloted air systems, it is very welcome to see the independent [House of] Commons Defence Committee recognise publicly their value and effectiveness, and that operations comply fully with international law.

I am particularly pleased to note the committee’s recognition of the highly skilled personnel who operate this equipment, supporting and protecting our ground troops, our allies and Afghan civilians on a daily basis.

I hope this very positive report helps to dispel some of the frustrating myths often propagated, and reassure people that remotely piloted air systems bring life-saving benefit to our armed forces, and to those we are working to protect, every day.

A pilot from 13 Squadron remotely controls a Reaper aircraft
A pilot from 13 Squadron remotely controls a Reaper aircraft from RAF Waddington (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

The committee visited the personnel of 13 Squadron, based at RAF Waddington, responsible for operating the RAF’s Reaper aircraft. They found that personnel were keen for the public to understand better what it is they do and to dispel myths that have grown up about Reaper operations in particular.

Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, James Arbuthnot, said:

It is very clear that UK aircrews are experienced professional personnel with a clear purpose and keen understanding of the rules of engagement which govern their operations.

These are no video-gaming ‘warrior geeks’ as some would portray them. Despite being remote from the battlespace they exhibit a strong sense of connection to the life and death decisions they are sometimes required to take.

The committee was satisfied that a robust system is in place to review every time one of the UK’s remotely piloted aircraft discharges their weapons. However, the report recognised the desire of some organisations and the public to see a further of disclosure of information from the Ministry of Defence.

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 12:20
MQ-4C Triton photo Alan Radecki / Northrop Grumman

MQ-4C Triton photo Alan Radecki / Northrop Grumman

 

24.03.2014 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com

 

Northrop Grumman et l’US Navy ont achevé la première phase d’essais du drone HALE MQ-4C Triton le 13 mars dernier. Celle-ci était notamment centrée sur l’ouverture de l’enveloppe de vol. Au total, le drone a effectué 13 vols, afin de valider près de 570 points d’essais.

 

Northrop Grumman précise que le Triton a par ailleurs atteint l’altitude 59 950 pieds.

 

Le second exemplaire du MQ-4C devrait effectuer son vol inaugural prochainement. En attendant, les deux appareils vont être transférés de Palmdale à la base aéronavale de Patuxent River, en Californie, avec quelques mois de retard.

 

L’US Navy prévoit d’obtenir 68 exemplaires du drone HALE, en complément des P-8A Poseidon déployés pour les missions ISR, de patrouille et de surveillance maritime. Le premier MQ-4C avait effectué son tout premier vol en mai 2013.

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 11:50
Watchkeeper - photo Richard Seymour, Thales UK

Watchkeeper - photo Richard Seymour, Thales UK

 

21 mars, 2014 Guillaume Belan (FOB)

 

FOB interroge aujourd’hui Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Directeur Général adjoint de Thales, en charge des activités systèmes de mission de défense, à propos du programme de drone tactique Watchkeeper.

 

Le drone Watchkeeper a été spécifiquement développé pour les besoins britanniques. Comment se situe ce drone tactique sur le marché des drones aujourd’hui?

Watchkeeper est le premier drone tactique conçu et développé suivant les exigences très strictes de l’Autorité de l’aviation militaire (MMA) britannique, ce qui va lui permettre un emploi non seulement sur les théâtres d’opérations, mais aussi dans l’espace aérien britannique. Et ceci, avec le même niveau de sécurité que des avions pilotés. En cela Watchkeeper se place très clairement tout en haut, dans la catégorie des drones tactiques.

 

Il vient de franchir une étape importante, celle de sa mise en service. Est-ce que cela signifie qu’il va pouvoir être dorénavant employé en opérations? (relire l’article de FOB ici)

Oui, dès la fin de la formation des opérateurs, qui se déroule actuellement sur la base de Larkhill, l’armée britannique envisage de déployer Watchkeeper en opérations.

 

Cette mise en service était attendue depuis plusieurs années. Pourquoi le Watchkeeper a-t-il  mis autant de temps pour être accepté par l’armée britannique ?

Comme je vous l’indiquais, Watchkeeper est un programme très ambitieux, puisque pour la première fois, un système de drone a suivi la totalité du processus de conception, développement et production suivant les règles très strictes de la MMA. Comme beaucoup de programmes aéronautiques majeurs, et afin de ne rien céder à la sécurité aéronautique, Watchkeeper a nécessité plus de temps que ne le prévoyait le contrat initial. C’est très souvent le cas pour les programmes pionniers, ce qui explique aussi que cela se soit déroulé en parfaite intelligence avec le Ministère de la Défense britannique.

 

Quelles sont les prochaines étapes pour les britanniques aujourd’hui ?

D’abord, la formation des opérateurs sur un simulateur, puis aux commandes, avec le vecteur aérien en vol, au-dessus du Royaume-Uni. Et ensuite, ce sera le premier déploiement opérationnel pour l’armée britannique.

 

Le France s’y intéresse pour remplacer les SDTI de Sagem. Aujourd’hui le Watchkeeper correspond-t-il aux besoins français ? Des modifications sont-elles à prévoir pour le client français ?

La France a exprimé dans la Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM) un besoin de drones tactiques pour remplacer les systèmes existants dans les trois ans qui viennent. Un processus de définition du besoin est en cours et devrait aboutir rapidement et, comme cela a été exprimé à de nombreuses reprises par le Ministre de la Défense français, des contacts fréquents ont lieu entre les autorités françaises et britanniques sur ce sujet.

 

La DGA avait initialement exprimé des doutes sur les performances du système. Qu’en est-il aujourd’hui ?

Les remarques de la DGA correspondaient aux demandes du Ministère de la défense britannique quant aux améliorations à apporter par Thales et qui sont pour la plupart déjà implémentées ou qui le seront à très court terme. Nous sommes dans la phase dite de mise au point du produit où les défauts de jeunesse sont corrigés pour obtenir un drone robuste et fiable.

 

Des militaires français se sont déjà rendus en Grande Bretagne pour l’évaluer. Quelles sont les prochaines étapes pour le choix français?

Le ministère de la défense évalue en ce moment les différents scénarios et il lui revient de définir la feuille de route pour l’acquisition, ce que nous espérons maintenant dans un futur proche.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
Six missiles Brimstone de MBDA sur un drone MQ-9 Reaper.  photo Big Safari

Six missiles Brimstone de MBDA sur un drone MQ-9 Reaper. photo Big Safari

 

22/03/2014 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr

 

Le missilier s'attaque au marché de l'armement des drones où il était jusqu'ici quasiment absent. MBDA maîtrise la capacité de tirer un missile air-sol Brimstone à partir d'un drone américain MQ-9 Reaper fabriqué par General Atomics.

 

MBDA peut désormais monter à bord des drones américains MQ-9 Reaper. Le missilier européen a obtenu son brevet pour pouvoir tirer le missile Brimstone à partir du drone MALE (Moyenne Altitude Longue Endurance) américain. Ce qui va lui permettre de s'attaquer au marché de l'armement des drones aux Etats-Unis, un des rares pays à autoriser des frappes à partir de ces plates-formes aériennes pilotées à distance. Pour autant, il existe aux Etats-Unis un débat moral qui s'amplifie sur ce type d'armes, qui occasionnent souvent des dommages collatéraux. Soit en moyenne d'un tiers à deux tiers des tirs.

Au cours d'essais qui ont été conduits entre décembre 2013 et janvier 2014 sur une base navale américaine pour le compte du ministère de la Défense britannique (MoD), MBDA a réussi neuf tirs du missile air-sol Brimstone sur les neuf effectués contre des cibles, dont certaines roulaient à très grande vitesse, dans un scénario de hauts dommages collatéraux, a annoncé vendredi le missilier dans un communiqué.

 

Réduction des risques de dommages collatéraux

Selon MBDA, le Brimstone, à bord du MQ-9 Reaper, a fait la preuve qu'il pouvait "réduire les risques de dommages collatéraux" et démontrer "la létalité avec un seul tir contre des cibles évoluant à grande vitesse sur terre, mer et dans un environnement complexe". Ce qui n'est pas toujours le cas avec le missile américain Hellfire de Lockheed Martin coupable régulièrement de dommages collatéraux.

Des tirs qui ont été effectués à plus de 6.000 mètres d'altitude (20.000 pieds) et entre 7 et 12 kilomètres de distance de la cible. Tous les objectifs prioritaires et secondaires de la Royal Air Force (RAF), l'armée de l'air britannique, ont été atteints, a assuré le missilier. ces essais se sont déroulés en partenariat notamment avec l'industriel américain General Atomics, qui fabrique le MQ-9 Reaper.

 

MBDA veut se faire une place dans l'armement des drones

Par le passé, MBDA a déjà équipé les drones Hunter de l'US Army, armés du missile Viper Strike, une activité rachetée en 2011 à l'américain Northrop Grumman. En outre, le missilier va développer pour 2030 un système d'armes qui équipera à terme les drones. C'est le programme de recherche Vigilus (en français "regarder")...

Ce système est "un ensemble d'armes de frappe futures pour drones, avait expliqué MBDA dans un communiqué publié lors du salon aéronautique de Farnborough en juillet 2012. Il est conçu pour doter les drones du champ de bataille d'une capacité d'appui aérien rapproché révolutionnaire".

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21 mars 2014 5 21 /03 /mars /2014 17:55
Stratobus photo Thales Alania Space

Stratobus photo Thales Alania Space

 

21 mars 2014 Par Julien Bonnet - Usinenouvelle.com

 

Thales Alania Space a présenté son projet Stratobus, un dirigeable autonome évoluant juste au-dessus du trafic aérien, à 20 kilomètres d'altitude. Cet engin, à mi-chemin entre le drone et le satellite sera capable d'effectuer par exemple des missions d'observation et de télecommunication durant 5 ans d'affilée, sans se (re)poser. Le premier prototype devrait voir le jour d'ici 2020.

 

Engin hybride entre le satellite, le drone et le dirigeable, le projet Stratobus est piloté par Thales Alenia Space et ses partenaires Airbus Defense & Space, Zodiac Marine et le CEA-Liten (Laboratoire d'Innovation pour les Technologies des Energies Nouvelles). Un premier prototype est prévu d'ici 2020.

 

Stratosphérique, géostationnaire et autonome

Grâce à sa position géostationnaire et à la limite de la stratosphère, à 20 kilomètres d'altitude soit juste au-dessus du trafic aérien mais bien plus près de la Terre qu'un satellite, l'appareil pourra effectuer de nombreuses missions, de la surveillance de précision d'une zone donnée à des opérations de télécommunications et de navigation. Il est destiné "à de nombreuses applications telles que la surveillance des frontières et de la piraterie maritime, le renforcement du réseau GSM au cours d’événements de grande ampleur ou l’amélioration du système GPS sur les zones de trafic intense", imagine Thales Alenia Space. Stratobus pourra emporter jusqu'à 200 kg de charge utile.

D'une longueur comprise entre 70 et 100 mètres pour une largeur de 20 à 30 mètres, Stratobus devrait disposer d'une autonomie de cinq ans. D'après Thales, il utilisera ainsi un grand nombre d’innovations pour capter les rayons du soleil en toutes saisons : système de génération d’énergie (couplage des panneaux photovoltaïques à un système d’amplification de l’énergie solaire breveté par Thales), dispositif de stockage par une pile à combustible réversible ultra-légère… Un apport d'énergie nécessaire aux deux moteurs électriques qui adapteront automatiquement leur puissance pour compenser la force du vent et ainsi conserver leur position géostationnaire.

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