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15 avril 2014 2 15 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Normes strictes pour l'utilisation des drones civils

 

source Fondation Robert Schuman

 

La Commission européenne a proposé le 8 avril 2014 de fixer de nouvelles normes strictes pour réglementer les activités des drones (systèmes d'aéronef télépiloté, RPAS) à usage civil. Les nouvelles normes porteront sur la sécurité, la sûreté, le respect de la vie privée, la protection des données, l'assurance et la responsabilité. L'objectif est de permettre à l'industrie européenne de devenir l'un des leaders mondiaux du marché pour cette technologie émergente, tout en assurant la mise en place de toutes les garanties nécessaires...

 

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
US Army opens acquisition for counter-UAS weapon system

 

Mar. 24, 2014 By Erik Schechter  - FG

 

New York - Concerned about the emerging threat of unmanned aircraft, the US Army is canvassing American defence contractors for information on systems that can detect, classify and destroy drones of varying sizes.

 

According to the request for information (RFI), the army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) is open to both “kinetic and non-kinetic options” – the latter referring to lasers.

 

The US Navy has already placed a laser weapon system demonstrator aboard the destroyer USS Dewey and tested the weapon against target drones in June 2012. The Army has likewise tested a vehicle-mounted Boeing high energy laser mobile demonstrator against mortar rounds and drones. However, there is no programme of record among the services to develop such a directed energy weapon.

 

Another interest of ARMDEC is that proposed systems be able to operate at both at the brigade-and-above and brigade-and-below echelons, which have their own network connectivity issues and levels of situational awareness.

 

The RFI, for example, notes that those at the tip of the spear resemble those homeland security operators in terms of the ad hoc nature of their deployment and size of their area of operation.

 

Indeed, the systems proposed should be designed for both overseas and domestic operations, the RFI states.

 

Contractors have until April 1 to answer the RFI, with selected respondents invited to two-day workshop starting April 30 at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

 

The RFI opens the acquisition phase of the army’s pursuit of a capability to defeat unmanned aircraft.

 

Last year, the army’s armaments research, development and engineering center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal staged an experiment.

 

The center integrated a fire control radar with existing weapon systems. Using a “novel warhead design”, a gun-launched munition destroyed a small-class unmanned aircraft, according to army documents.

 

One challenge in the fight against unmanned aircraft is the cost. The army has highly capable air defence batteries, but their cost may seem excessive if used against a small unmanned aircraft.

 

The ARDEC experiment focused on a “low-cost-per-kill weapon system”, the army says.

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20 mars 2014 4 20 /03 /mars /2014 13:20
Global Hawk Block 40 - photo USAF

Global Hawk Block 40 - photo USAF

 

SAN DIEGO – March 19, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Corporation

 

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) delivered a Global Hawk Block 40 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to the U.S. Air Force at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., ahead of schedule, Feb. 14.

 

This is the second aircraft delivered as part of Global Hawk's Lot 10 contract, joining a Block 30 system delivered four months early in November of last year. Two additional aircraft, a final Block 30 and Block 40, will arrive later this year, completing Global Hawk's Lot 10 contract.

 

"Global Hawk program performance excellence is a core focus of our efforts. Delivering Global Hawk to our Air Force partners early is a good indicator of our solid performance," said Mick Jaggers, director, Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We look forward to continuing the reduction of Global Hawk's total mission costs while providing unparalleled capabilities."

 

A total of 42 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft are currently in use around the world with 32 in the Air Force inventory. A contract for three more aircraft (Lot 11) is expected this summer.

 

These additional aircraft will support increased operational flight hours without adding to the fixed support costs. As our fixed support costs remain constant and flying hours increase, Global Hawk's cost per flight hour will continue to decrease. The operationally proven Global Hawk program has exceeded 109,000 flight hours; and the cost per flight hour has declined significantly as the system has matured. The Air Force reports that the total cost per flight hour was $23,800 in fiscal year 2013, a decrease of almost 30 percent since 2012.

 

The Global Hawk performs vital intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The Global Hawk Block 40 is equipped with a multiplatform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with air-to-surface capability that provides wide-area surveillance of stationary and moving targets.

 

The Global Hawk's MP-RTIP sensor allows military commanders to gather near real-time imagery and detections of moving targets. The system completed an early operational capability demonstration in April 2013 for the Air Force to verify its ability to support antiterrorism operations, battlefield surveillance, and support of command and control operations.

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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20 mars 2014 4 20 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
US Army At ‘Tipping Point’ of Unmanned Aircraft System Capabilities

 

March 20th, 2014 By Army News Service - defencetalk.com

 

“We’re on the tipping point of unmanned aerial systems’ ability to deliver capability to the Soldier,” said Col. Thomas von Eschenbach.

 

The unmanned aerial/aircraft system, or UAS, is no longer seen by Soldiers as a new system and as the months and years pass, it will “not just be used by a few, but will become integral to the Army fabric and how it fights and is used and understood,” said Eschenbach, who is the UAS capability manager for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

 

Eschenbach and others spoke today at a media roundtable at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., where a celebration was held marking the Army’s milestone of 2 million UAS flight hours.

 

Col. Timothy Baxter, project manager, UAS, noted that it took 20 years for Army unmanned aircraft systems to reach 1 million flight hours. That milestone came in 2010. With increased use of those systems, it took just a few more years to reach the 2 million flight-hours milestone.

 

He said what is most impressive is that 90 percent of total UAS flight hours were logged in direct support of combat operations. “Every one of those hours has meant something to a commander on the ground overseas engaged in combat,” Baxter said.

 

Baxter noted that of the total two million flight hours, Shadow UAS logged 900,000 of those. However, as more Gray Eagles are fielded, he said he expects it to be the system with the most impressive mileage.

 

Rich Kretzschmar, deputy project manager, UAS, said that reaching three million flight hours may take longer than it did to get from one to two million because the operations tempo in theater has now leveled off.

 

And, as more UAS systems return to the U.S. from overseas, there could be fewer opportunities to fly them because of restricted airspace flight rules, Baxter added.

 

But, the UAS will play a crucial part of the Army’s aviation restructure initiative, Eschenbach said.

 

As brigade combat teams, or BCTs, shrink from four to three per division and as maneuver battalions are reinvested back into other BCTs, three Shadow UAS platoons will be put inside of each attack reconnaissance squadron, he said. That would add a total of 30 platoons of Shadows into the combat aviation brigade structure. Those squadrons will also contain AH-64E Apache helicopters.

 

FUTURE UAS FLIGHT PATH

 

Don’t expect to see a lot of new UAS models, Baxter cautioned.

“Our platforms are the platforms we’re going to have for the foreseeable future in the Army,” he explained.

 

Instead, he said future efforts will be in the area of new technologies for advanced payloads and improvements in man-to-unmanned teaming.

 

As to unmanned vs manned, Kretzschmar pointed out that UASs are not replacing pilots.

 

Rather, he said, they are the “extension of the commander’s ability to do things, extend reach, reduce risk and get better situational awareness on the battlefield.”

 

Also in the cards for UAS is something not too sexy, but important nonetheless to a budget-challenged Army: sustainment costs.

 

Baxter said the UAS community has moved away from contractor logistics support to “green-suiter” maintainers, as Soldiers get their own military occupational specialty and become more proficient. In the next war, the Army may not have the luxury of setting up forward operating bases teeming with contract support.

 

Another cost savings, he pointed out, is through applying “performance-based logistics” to contracts, so as to “incorporate better buying power.”

 

Since Eschenbach is with TRADOC it’s not surprising he sees doctrine as well as the operational environment dictating the vision of where UASs are headed.

 

Eschenbach thinks UASs have capabilities that go far beyond the current state of reconnaissance, surveillance, security and precision strikes.

 

His team of planners is already looking at UAS employment in “Force 2025,” where UAS will vastly extend the network, meaning the reach that commanders have on the ground.

 

As this takes place over the coming years, he said Army leaders will need to better understand the capabilities of UASs and what they can do for them.

 

“We’re asking warfighters in a smaller, leaner Army to be more expeditionary, lethal and survivable, focused on the next thing our nation asks us to do,” Eschenbach concluded. In that environment, there’s “plenty of future for UAS.”

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17 mars 2014 1 17 /03 /mars /2014 16:35
 AUS: Triton Acquisition Announced


17 March 2014 Pacific Sentinel
 

The Prime Minister of Australia The Honourable Tony Abbott MP visited RAAF Base Edinburgh recently to announce the Government has committed to the acquisition of the Triton Unmanned Aircaft System (UAS), subject to the successful completion of the US Navy development programme currently under way.

 

The MQ-4C Triton UAS is an unarmed maritime variant of Northrop-Grumman’s Global Hawk. The aircraft will be based and piloted from RAAF Base Edinburgh and capable of supporting missions of greater than 24 hours while covering an area of over one million square nautical miles; an area larger than Western Australia Triton will patrol Australia’s vast ocean approaches, protecting offshore resources, supporting other Australian Defence Force assets and helping to secure our borders. Triton is purpose-built for the maritime environment, and includes a strengthened airframe, de-icing capability, hail and bird-strike protection, and has sealed avionics and sensor compartments and environmental countermeasures to enable all-weather operations. The Triton has been under development by the United States Navy (USN) since 2008 and is scheduled to achieve Initial Operational Capability with the USN in 2017. The total number of Triton aircraft to be acquired by Australia and their introduction into service date will be further considered by Government in 2016, based on the Defence White Paper.

 

RAAF

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12 mars 2014 3 12 /03 /mars /2014 17:20
Tobyhanna lands Gray Eagle Ground Control Station repairs

 

Mar 12, 2014 ASDNews By  Justin Eimers, CECOM US Army

 

The Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy have named Tobyhanna Army Depot as the Depot Source of Repair for the Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) Unmanned Aircraft System Ground Control Stations.

 

The decision by the four services' Maintenance Inter-service Support Management Offices recognizes the depot as the installation best suited for these repairs.

 

"Through the acquisition process, there is a lot of assessment that takes place, including core logistics analyses that look at our capabilities," said Nick Caprioli, chief of the Business Development Division. "Tobyhanna was selected based on infrastructure, training and technical expertise for this type of work."

 

Repairs for the new workload will begin in fiscal year 2016, with 19 Ground Control Stations, or GCSs, scheduled per year, totaling more than 75 systems through fiscal year 2018.

 

The Gray Eagle system is a long-range, high-altitude Unmanned Aircraft System, or UAS, that provides the capability to perform wide-area reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. It is also capable of relaying communications and can be equipped for attack missions. The system consists of the aircraft, GCS, data terminals and data links. Each GCS controls one Gray Eagle aircraft and is used by the operator to perform command and control, payload control and weapon launch operations.

 

Due to their complexity, Gray Eagle systems and components are currently replaced rather than repaired, exhausting money and resources. Depot personnel are developing cost-effective solutions to repair GCSs and increase capability. Tobyhanna recognizes that the assignment of this Depot Source of Repair, or DSOR, will enable the depot to be selected for additional DSORs for UAS equipment.

 

Katlin Edmunds, business development specialist, noted that revamping the DSOR decision process will also help substantially reduce costs and bring more UAS work to the depot.

 

"DSOR selection helps ensure effective use of commercial and organic depot maintenance resources," she said. "We have been aggressively trying to streamline processes, find inefficiencies and figure out the best way to accommodate new UAS workloads."

 

Based on trends in the market, business management analysts anticipate that UAS will be the depot's largest commodity in the future. As the only Army depot involved in the Integrated Product Team, or IPT, for Air Force and Army UAS, Tobyhanna is well positioned to receive workloads for additional UAS component repairs. The IPT is working with Tobyhanna to identify the need for any new test equipment, facilitation or training necessary for additional UAS work.

 

"Part of the planning process to bring in this workload is to have our engineers work with the program offices to make sure our capabilities are sufficient to provide the best solution for everybody involved," said Caprioli. "The depot's all-hands-on-deck approach to secure this DSOR selection has helped increase our marketability and should open doors for future UAS workloads."

 

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, also known as C4ISR, Systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners. Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, technology insertion, modification, and global field support to warfighters.

 

About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:50
Army cleared to fly next-generation eye-in-the-sky

Army personnel operating the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system [Picture: Crown copyright]

 

5 March 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

Watchkeeper, the Army's next-generation unmanned aerial system, has been cleared to begin military flight training with the Royal Artillery.

 

Approval has been given for the Army’s own pilots to begin live-flying the unarmed Watchkeeper from Boscombe Down in Wiltshire; up until now it has been only been trialled by industry.

Gathering crucial information from the battlefield, Watchkeeper will provide UK troops with life-saving surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence. It will also give personnel on the ground much greater situational awareness, helping to reduce threats.

Over the coming weeks, highly skilled 1st Artillery Brigade pilots will be trained to fly Watchkeeper in a restricted airspace over the Salisbury Plain Training Area. The flights, which will take place between 8,000 and 16,000 feet, will be overseen by military air traffic controllers.

Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system
The British Army's Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system in flight over the UK during testing (library image) [Picture: Richard Seymour, Thales UK]

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:

Watchkeeper will provide real-time information for troops conducting operations on the ground, allowing them to understand better and thereby overcome threats they may face. The ‘release to service’ is a major milestone in this important programme.

Watchkeeper is the first unmanned aerial system developed and built in the UK to become operational. Watchkeeper will be a significant surveillance and reconnaissance capability for the Army for years to come and there is no doubt that it will prove to be a battle-winning technology.

Since its first UK flight in 2010 by Thales UK, Watchkeeper, which has a wingspan of 35 feet, has already completed over 600 flying hours from West Wales Airport.

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1 février 2014 6 01 /02 /février /2014 17:50
BAE Systems welcome the announcement on further UK/ French unmanned air systems (UAS) Technology development

 

Friday 31 January 2014 BAE Systems

 

Following today’s announcement by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, and French President, Francois Hollande regarding the two year unmanned systems feasibility study, worth £120M

 

Our CEO Ian King commented: “Together with Dassault we welcome the further support from our Governments for our joint work in developing this important defence capability for the United Kingdom and France.

 

“Given the strong research and development investment and progress in technology that has already been made, continuing work in unmanned air systems will also ensure we maintain the core knowledge and key skills necessary to make a make a long term contribution to both our national economies.”

 

The Company has recently completed a joint study for the UK and French governments with Dassault Aviation, known as the Future Combat Air System Demonstration Programme Preparation Phase study.

 

Today’s news builds further on the investment and technological capabilities we have already developed in unmanned air systems (UAS) over the past decade through a number of prototypes and demonstrators. Most recently the Company and the UK Ministry of Defence invested in designing and building the Taranis Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator. Technologies from Taranis will make an important contribution to this next UAS development programme.

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16 janvier 2014 4 16 /01 /janvier /2014 13:50
Armed Forces Minister views UK unmanned aerial systems

Mark Francois speaks to Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton about his experience of the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial system

 

15 January 2014 Ministry of Defence

 

Mark Francois toured RAF Waddington today to view the full scope of the UK's unmanned aerial systems capability.

 

Mr Francois spoke to operators of Navy, Army and RAF unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including Scan Eagle, Desert Hawk and Reaper.

He also viewed the inside of a Reaper control cabin and was shown how a highly-trained and highly-qualified team control the aircraft, with pilots, sensor operators and analysts all working together to make decisions in real-time.

Mr Francois’ visit was part of a wider drive by MOD to dispel some of the myths around the use of unmanned aerial systems, demonstrate the vital role they play in supporting personnel on operations in Afghanistan, and confirm the utility of such systems for the future.

Mr Francois said:

Our remotely-piloted systems provide life-saving intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance on operations as well as giving us the ability to strike precisely at those who pose a risk to our personnel and the people they are trying to protect.

I was delighted to meet with and listen to the talented personnel who operate this capability. They deserve great credit for the work they do in saving the lives of our ground troops, our Afghan and international colleagues, and Afghan civilians.

Mark Francois takes a close look at the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial system
Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois takes a close look at the Black Hornet nano unmanned aerial system [Pictures: Corporal Bibby RAF, Crown copyright]

Ground troops who have served in Afghanistan were also present at RAF Waddington to describe how UAS assets had provided them with life-saving support at vital times.

Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Joint Forces Command Capability Director, said:

The UK’s unmanned aerial systems provide UK and allied forces with persistent surveillance of enemy positions without putting their lives at unnecessary risk. In today’s operational environment they are still used predominantly in surveillance and reconnaissance roles.

When precision strike capability is required by ground commanders, this is always in accordance with international humanitarian law and governed by the same strict rules of engagement as those governing manned aircraft.

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8 janvier 2014 3 08 /01 /janvier /2014 08:20
Northrop Grumman, Navy Complete Nine Flights of Triton Unmanned Aircraft System

 

SAN DIEGO – Jan. 6, 2014 – Northrop Grumman Corporation

 

Testing Validates Aircraft Performance Before Surveillance Sensors are Installed

 

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the U.S. Navy have completed nine initial flight tests of the Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS), marking the half-way point in a process called envelope expansion. 

 

During envelope expansion, the test team validates the aircraft's ability to operate at a range of altitudes, speeds and weights. The flights are taking place at the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif.

 

"Completion of envelope expansion will allow the test team to prepare for installation and further testing of Triton's surveillance sensors," said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's Triton program director.

 

The Triton test team accomplished endurance flights up to 9.4-hours at altitudes up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft also performed doublets, a maneuver that tests the aircraft's ability to recover from small perturbations in its flight path caused by turbulence.

 

Triton carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets, and provide airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.

 

The Navy plans to field 68 Triton UAS and will be used with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct surveillance missions.

 

Triton completed its first flight May 22.

 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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7 janvier 2014 2 07 /01 /janvier /2014 13:20
Drones: le DoD diffuse un document stratégique pour les années 2013-2038

 

29.12.2013 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense

 

En 25 ans, il peut s'en passer des choses... Et la "feuille de route" (roadmap) diffusée en début de semaine par le DoD sur les "unmanned systems" pourrait s'avérer prématurément obsolète. Ce qui est sûr, c'est que les Etats-Unis, entre 2014 et 2018, vont investir près de 24 milliards de dollars dans les drones UAS (air), UGS (terre), UMS (mer)

Pour autant, elle établit un point de situation qui n'est pas sans intérêt. Exemple: il dresse l'inventaire des drones aériens mis en œuvre par le DoD (cliquer sur l'image ci-dessous pour l'agrandir):

 

drones us inventaire.jpg

Cette riche feuille de route dresse aussi l'inventaire des drones terrestres et navals, ce qui n'est pas sans intérêt aussi puisque l'attention est trop souvent focalisée sur le domaine aérien où l'action des drones armées continue d'alimenter le débat éthique ou politique. Enfin, elle aborde la question de la logistique et de la formation des personnels militaires.

Pour accéder à ce riche document en anglais, cliquer ici.

A noter: "Drones-tueurs et éliminations ciblées. Les Etats-Unis contre Al-Qaïda et ses affiliés" par Stéphane Taillat, Focus stratégique n° 47, octobre 2013 . Pour consulter ce texte, cliquer ici ou ici.

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22 décembre 2013 7 22 /12 /décembre /2013 21:45
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD

 

December 18, 2013 By: John Ingham - express.co.uk

 

The Royal Navy [Dec. 17, 2013] launched its first drone in an operational theatre as it stepped up its campaign against Somali pirates.

 

The Scaneagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) was launched from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay in the Gulf and flew to a height of up to 19,500ft.

The UAS was then brought back by a pilot on the ship using remote controls after it had acted as an eye in the sky over the horizon.

The Scaneagle is one of two in a £30million deal with Boeing and each UAS will fly up to 300 hours a month.

The UAS is catapulted off the back of ships and then recovered by flying them back to be caught by a wire extended over the side. It is expected to be used shortly to spot pirates threatening shipping in the Indian Ocean.

Details emerged as Defence Secretary Philip Hammond threw open the RAF’s secret base for controversial drones – RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

RAF crews here and at the USAF base in Creech, Nevada, fly the Reaper on surveillance and attack missions over Afghanistan.

The 35ft long remotely piloted air system can unleash weapons on insurgents with the trigger being pulled thousands of miles away.

In 54,000 hours of flying over Afghanistan it has fired 459 weapons, usually Hellfire missiles in support of Coalition troops under attack from insurgents.

The drones are controversial and have been branded robot killers.

But Mr Hammond insisted that their crews are subject to the same rules of engagement and legal controls as the pilots of fighter bombers such as Tornados and Typhoons.

He said: “In well over 400 lethal strikes by British UAS’s we know of just one strike where sadly there were civilian casualties.

“But civilian casualties also result from strikes by manned aircraft. Our challenge is not to guarantee that they never happen but to minimise that risk to as low as possible.”

He added: “UAS’s are certainly part of the future. We expect they will be part of the British posture alongside manned aircraft. No-one knows what the balance will be between manned and unmanned systems.”

Mr Hammond also said there are moves to open up European air space to UAS’s with one expert predicting that the market in the UK alone could be worth up to £20billion within six years.

Mr Hammond, who said possible civilian uses include maritime search and rescue and border protection, said he expected progress in UAS’s being licensed to use European air space.

At RAF Waddington the full range of UAS’s used by the military was on display from the Army’s tiny Black Hornet mini helicopter to Watchkeeper which has a 33ft wing span.

The Black Hornet weighs just 16grammes, fits in the palm of a man’s hand and can be put up by soldiers to see what the enemy is up to in their immediate area.

Watchkeeper, which will enter service with the Royal Artillery next year, can stay airborne for 16 hours and relay information to troops on the ground day and night.

Meanwhile the Royal Navy revealed that its Scaneagle has had its first trial in an operational theatre.

royal navy, pirates, somlaia, hms cornwallDrones will help the Navy carry out more raids on pirates like this one by marines from HMS Cornwall [PA]

Commander Bow Wheaton, 46, from Dorking, said: “It was flown for the first time in theatre today and is due to enter service next month.

“Skippers get an unprecedented situation report from this eye in the sky.

“It lets us look for the enemy before they see us. It could be used to look for pirates, to spot a threat to your ship or to look ahead to a choke point where the enemy may have assembled small craft loaded with explosives. This would let you do something about it or avoid it.

“And at night it would help the skipper decide which lights out there are friendly – otherwise he is just looking at dots on a radar screen.”

The drones provide live video footage of incredible detail to commander son the ground, even letting them see what weapons the enemy are carrying.

One RAF Intelligence Analyst, who would only give his name as Corporal Billy, said: “There have been occasions when we have spotted disturbed earth which has turned out to be where insurgents have planted an improvised explosive device. Finding that is very fulfilling.

“Every time we have fired a missile we have been supporting our guys on the ground who more often than not were under fire. We are helping to save their lives which is just as fulfilling as spotting an IED.”

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 13:50
Unmanned aerial systems on show

A soldier with a Desert Hawk unmanned aerial system (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble, Crown copyright]

 

18 December 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The Ministry of Defence has, for the first time, opened the doors to its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) control centre, based in the UK.

 

Pictures and footage released today, Wednesday 18 December, show the high-tech operations room at RAF Waddington, where members of 13 Squadron remotely operate the RAF’s Reaper aircraft in Afghanistan.

Reaper is just one of a range of UAS, including remotely-piloted air systems, operated by UK armed forces, providing vital, lifesaving intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance on operations.

Showing this work is a key way to dispel some common myths about the role of the equipment, which UK forces use predominantly in Afghanistan.

During a visit to RAF Waddington, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond viewed the full range of current and future equipment, including:

  • Desert Hawk (Army)

  • Black Hornet Nano (Army)

  • Tarantula Hawk (Army)

  • Watchkeeper (Army)

  • ScanEagle (Royal Navy)

Philip Hammond speaks with Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond speaks with Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton at RAF Waddington [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Blake Carruthers, Crown copyright]

Mr Hammond also spoke to a Royal Artillery fire support team commander recently returned from Afghanistan who spoke of the benefits the ‘eyes in the sky’ can provide for troops on the ground.

Mr Hammond said:

Vital to our efforts to protect our forces and the people of Afghanistan, this battle-winning technology allows us to understand the situation on the ground more clearly, develop better intelligence, and precisely strike, within our rules of engagement, those who threaten or hurt the people we are protecting.

Much of the criticism of unmanned aerial systems is based on misunderstanding. This event provides a great opportunity to better inform people about these lifesaving assets and their variety of purposes.

Speaking at the event, Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Joint Forces Command Capability Director, praised unmanned aerial systems’ ability to provide ‘persistent surveillance of enemy positions without putting our servicemen and women at unnecessary risk’. He said:

In today’s operational environment, unmanned and remotely-piloted air systems are increasingly vital to keep one step ahead of the enemy, and to save military and civilian lives.

Highly trained and experienced personnel are at the heart of the capability, and human oversight and control is always paramount. This is a capability just like every other across defence; it has skilled and motivated people at its core, people who are in charge of technology and use it in strict accordance with the law.

Viewing the inside of a Reaper control cabin, the Defence Secretary was able to see how it is guided and controlled at all times by a team of highly trained and skilled people. Pilots, sensor operators and analysts all make decisions in real-time, exactly like the crew of a traditional aircraft.

In over 54,000 hours of operations, the UK’s Reaper, the only armed system used by British armed forces, has fired just 459 precision weapons.

When a precision strike capability is required from RAF Reaper aircraft by ground commanders this is always in accordance with international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, and is governed by strict rules of engagement; exactly the same as manned aircraft.

UK military unmanned aerial systems

Reaper remotely-piloted air system
An RAF Reaper remotely-piloted air system at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster, Crown copyright]
Black Hornet
Black Hornet, a nano unmanned aerial system operated by the British Army (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere, Crown copyright]
ScanEagle
ScanEagle is an unmanned aerial system operated by the Royal Navy (library image) [Picture: Copyright Boeing Defence UK]
Hermes 450
A Hermes 450, operated by the British Army, at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Copyright Thales UK]
Desert Hawk
A soldier launches a Desert Hawk unmanned aerial system during an exercise in Kenya (library image) [Picture: Corporal Ross Fernie, Crown copyright]
T-Hawk
T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk), a micro unmanned aerial system operated by the British Army (library image) [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]
Watchkeeper
A British Army Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system during trials in the UK (library image) [Picture: Peter Russell, Crown copyright]

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:30
photo Israel Aerospace Industries

photo Israel Aerospace Industries

 

Nov. 26, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: Israel Aerospace Industries; issued Nov. 25, 2013)

 

Israel Aerospace Industries' Unmanned Aerial Systems Surpass One Million Operational Flight Hours - an Unprecedented Accomplishment

 

Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have accumulated over one million operational flight hours worldwide – an unprecedented accomplishment.

 

IAI will present its UAS and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) at the AUS&R 2013 Expo of Autonomous, Unmanned Systems & Robotics, which will be held tomorrow, Tuesday November 26, 2013, in Reshon Lezion, Israel.

 

Regarding the AUS&R Expo, Joseph Weiss, IAI's president & CEO said: "IAI has long been a leading pioneer in the field of unmanned aerial systems. With over forty years of operational experience and fifty customers worldwide, I am proud to announce that IAI's unmanned aerial systems have accumulated over one million flight hours.

 

“The Heron UAS has been the leading system in its class in the international markets for over a decade and has been sold to 20 customers worldwide. Heron has accumulated over 200,000 operational flight hours with extensive use in combat in Afghanistan and in other hot spots around the world.

 

“As a result of the lessons learned from the Heron’s exceptional history and extensive experience, we continue to refine and upgrade the Heron and our UAS's design."

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27 novembre 2013 3 27 /11 /novembre /2013 13:30
Former Israel Air Chief Eyes Dogfighting Drones

An Israel Aerospace Industries Heron UAV flies past. Experts say unmanned air systems may keep supplanting the missions of manned aircraft, including air-to-air combat one day. (iHLS)

 

Nov. 26, 2013 - By BARBARA OPALL-ROME -  Defense news

 

Israeli Expo Highlights Unmanned Systems

 

TEL AVIV — Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have already superseded patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and are rendering gunships obsolete. But until they engage enemies in the air, it’s premature to speak about the end of manned platforms, according to a former Israel Air Force commander.

 

“The [unmanned] air-to-air mission is not a fantasy but part of the future,” said retired Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliahu at a Nov. 26 unmanned vehicles conference and air exhibition in Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv.

 

In an address devoted to UAS trends and their prospects for replacing manned platforms, Ben-Eliahu said leading air forces are phasing out costly fixed-wing and rotary aircraft for a spectrum of unmanned reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting missions. In terms of future force planning, he said, “The attack helicopter is finished.”

 

But unmanned aircraft cannot replace manned transports, the former Israeli air chief insisted. “I don’t see human beings being transported by unmanned vehicles.”

 

While unmanned systems offer considerable savings in acquisition, life-cycle and training costs, they lack deterrent power.

 

“UAVs will not contribute enough to deterrence to prevent war,” he said.

 

“When the F-35 is operational in Israel, it will have a dramatic effect on deterring our enemies. ... So even if we have hundreds of UAVs, it won’t impact the balance of power as much as a single squadron of F-35s.”

 

The former air chief also said UAVs are highly dependent on networked command and control, which renders them more vulnerable to cyber attack than manned fighters, “which know how to perform their mission in total silence.”

 

Despite these disadvantages, Ben-Eliahu said he could envision a time when UAS platforms will replace manned fighters, provided they are sufficiently equipped to perform traditional fighter missions.

 

“We pilots are the decision makers ... and the claim to fame of fighter pilots are dogfights. So in the future, part of the process of replacing jet fighters with UAVs will be the ability to start dogfights between drones,” he added.

 

Shaul Shahar, general manager of the Malat Division of Israel Aerospace Industries, said unmanned air-to-air combat is a realistic prospect within 15 years.

 

Speaking at the same event organized by Israel Homeland Security (iHLS), Shahar, a retired colonel with 3,000 hours operating UAVs on behalf of Israeli military intelligence, said Ben-Eliahu’s support for dogfighting drones reflected a serious, albeit embryonic research-and-development trend.

 

“It was the first time someone at his level spoke about it,” Shahar said of the prospect of unmanned air-to-air missions.

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22 novembre 2013 5 22 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
AR4 Light Ray unmanned air system  - photo Tekever Group

AR4 Light Ray unmanned air system - photo Tekever Group

 

Nov. 21, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

Dubai - Multinational collaboration was the key to Tekever’s pitch at the Dubai air show, with the Portuguese company’s new UK unit inviting discussion with Gulf-based industry.

 

“We’re looking for a local partner for production and support,” says business development director Robert Whitehouse, who showcased the firm’s AR4 Light Ray unmanned air system on the UK Trade & Investment stand.

 

Now used by the Portuguese police, the hand-launched design has a 2h flight endurance and an operating range of 10.8nm (20km). “It’s a very intuitive system, and can be controlled from an iPad, PC laptop or Android phone,” says Whitehouse. Applications range from traffic and infrastructure monitoring to supporting disaster relief activities, with its 5kg (11lb) maximum take-off weight including a payload of 2kg.

 

"Attendance at the Dubai air show is central to Tekever's strategy in developing its presence and partnerships in the United Arab Emirates and Middle East," the company says. "The engagement opportunity will allow new relationships to be formed between Tekever and local partners."

 

Whitehouse says this ambition has been met, with strong local interest having been shown in the Evolution-version AR4 Light Ray UAS positioned on the stand. “People have asked us to come back and fly,” he says, identifying one potential customer as being in the UAE.

 

Should it reach a local agreement, Whitehouse says Tekever would seek to maintain responsibility for the system's datalink and flight control software, with an in-country partner to produce the air vehicles and deliver in-service support.

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 18:20
Fire Scout Begins Ground Testing

September 23, 2013 defense-update.com

 

The US Navy’s latest UAS, the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout MQ-8C unmanned helicopter began manufacturers’ ground testing at the Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif., Sept. 20. Conducting initial engine runs of the aircraft allows engineers to collect data to ensure that all the aircraft’s systems are functioning and communicating properly prior to its first flight. This latest aircraft upgrade to the Fire Scout system provides the Navy with more than twice the endurance and three times the payload carrying capacity, enabling an unprecedented level of persistent surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance capability. The MQ-8C aircraft is scheduled to be ready for deployment beginning in 2014.

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20 septembre 2013 5 20 /09 /septembre /2013 07:35
Hermes 450 reaches 70,000 hours in Afghanistan

A British Army Hermes 450 in flight (Picture Sergeant Steve Blake, UK MoD)

 

19 September 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

The British Army's Hermes 450 (H-450) unmanned air systems have completed over 70,000 hours of surveillance support in Afghanistan.


 

This is the equivalent of 8 years of non-stop flying.

Operated by the Theatre Integrated Unmanned Air Systems (ThIUAS) Battery at Camp Bastion, UK forces have clocked up more flying hours than any other nation with H-450 in Afghanistan.

The system provides headquarters staff with persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance via electro-optical and infrared sensors out to a range of 150 kilometres.

A British Army Hermes 450 at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan (library image)
A British Army Hermes 450 at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Steve Blake, Crown copyright]

H-450 can be used for a wide range of tasks such as reconnaissance of an area prior to operations, and maintaining watch over troops on the ground.

Major Jonathan Buxton, ThIUAS Battery Commander, said:

It is a great achievement to have reached over 70,000 hours of flying with Hermes 450 which shows not only the importance of the benefits it provides but also the dedication of all those involved in operating them out here in difficult conditions.

H-450 has been a vital tool for operations in Helmand over the years and continues to provide persistent surveillance protecting UK and Afghan troops today.

A British Army Hermes 450 in flight (library image)
A British Army Hermes 450 in flight (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Steve Blake, Crown copyright]

The ThIUAS Battery operates 5 surveillance windows of H-450 in support of UK and Afghan troops in Helmand province – an increase from 2 when H-450 was introduced in 2007. Since that time, integration with ground forces has been developed significantly as has the training for H-450 operators.

Major Buxton added:

The UAS trade offers something different for the more technically minded recruits joining the Army today.

The H-450 operators’ course is extremely challenging, with junior soldiers taking on a lot of responsibility at an early stage, especially when looking after the equipment and being responsible for captaincy of the aircraft.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Watchkeeper UAS photo Thales UK

Watchkeeper UAS photo Thales UK

11 sept. 2013 Thales

 

WATCHKEEPER flies over West Wales as Thales UK continues to deliver the programme to the UK Ministry of Defence - this new footage brings WATCHKEEPER to life

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
The ScanEagle ready for launch on a pneumatic catapult - Picture Boeing Defence UK

The ScanEagle ready for launch on a pneumatic catapult - Picture Boeing Defence UK

Sept. 11, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - The UK Royal Navy expects to conduct its first contractor-supported operations with the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle unmanned air system from late this year, although its timetable for the type's introduction has been affected by a lack of manpower.

 

Operations with the ScanEagle will occur under a contractor-owned and operated deal awarded to Boeing Defence UK earlier in June 2013 worth £30 million ($47 million). This will see the equipment launched from and recovered aboard some RN and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.

 

Urgent operational requirement acquisitions such as the ScanEagle deal are routinely expected to see equipment enter use within six months of a contract award, but the RN process is likely to require at least nine months, says Wg Cdr Dave Postlethwaite, commander of the UK Air Warfare Centre's UAS test and evaluation squadron.

 

Speaking at a pre-DSEi UAS conference in London on 9 September, RN Lt Cdr Pete Whitehead attributed the additional time requirement to the challenge of sourcing sufficient naval personnel to support the ScanEagle's introduction. This includes the service's need to have at least one person trained to fly the type, to serve as a safety officer.

 

Around three RN staff will be required per ScanEagle detachment, with this having been reduced from an earlier objective of up to eight. "We simply can't find the people at the moment" to achieve the latter figure, Whitehead says.

 

While the contractor will be responsible for flying the UAS in support of RN operations, Postlethwaite notes: "Whoever is looking at the [camera] picture will be trained, and will be military."

 

While the UAS will be flown by a contractor-hired operator, the Ministry of Defence must issue a release to service clearance before ScanEagle operations can commence, as activities will be conducted from a military vessel.

 

"We expect the capability to start becoming available from the end of 2013 onwards," minister for defence equipment, support and technology Philip Dunne said on 5 September.

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26 juillet 2013 5 26 /07 /juillet /2013 11:30
photo Israel Aerospace Industries

photo Israel Aerospace Industries

July 26, 2013 by Arie Egozi – FG

 

Tel Aviv - Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will have to sign joint development agreements with companies in countries that want to operate medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air systems such as its Heron TP, Israeli defence ministry sources say.

 

The requirement stems from the fact that Israel - despite not signing the international missile technology control regime (MTCR) - complies with its guidelines.

 

The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technologies for systems capable of carrying a 500kg (1,100lb) payload at least 162nm (300km), as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

 

IAI could offer the Heron TP to France and Germany, as both are partners in the MTCR, but would not be allowed to offer it to non-signatory countries.

 

Defence ministry sources confirm one such potential customer from a MALE UAS with capabilities similar to the Heron TP is India, but refuse to say whether there are negotiations about such a co-development agreement with New Delhi.

 

With a maximum take-off weight of more than 4t and a 26m (85ft) wingspan, the Heron TP is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6 turboprop engine.

 

Sources in Israel say some countries already operating Israeli-made UAS are the most likely potential customers for a jointly developed MALE UAS that will comply with the terms of the MTCR.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:50
Saab gets first order for unmanned Skeldar

July 11, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - Saab has secured a first customer for its Skeldar vertical take-off and landing unmanned air system, with the type to be employed in a maritime surveillance role.

 

Announcing its receipt of the contract on 11 July, the Swedish company says the "Skeldar UAS will be operationally deployed with the customer before the end of this year and will be used in naval operations where the benefits of a vertical take-off and landing UAS are most prominent".

 

Further details about the launch user and number of systems to be supplied have not been disclosed. "The industry's nature is such that information regarding the customer will not be announced," the company says.

 

Saab's head of aeronautics, Lennart Sindahl, cites the Skeldar's "flight performance, heavy fuel engine and easy-to-maintain design" as key factors in securing the sale. According to company information, the unmanned rotorcraft has a maximum take-off weight of more than 200kg (440lb), including a sensor payload totalling up to 40kg, and offers a 5h flight endurance.

 

Developed and tested during the last several years, the maritime version of the Skeldar can carry a range of payloads, including an electro-optical/infrared sensor and automatic identification system equipment to monitor the activities of surface ships.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:35
Indian DRDO Nishant UAV

Indian DRDO Nishant UAV

July 10, 2013 by uasvision.com

 

The Indian market for UAS is estimated at $2 billion and the answer to the demand will be filled by local production.

India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), which recently carved out a separate unmanned air systems (UAS) division as part of a comprehensive diversification drive, wants to prepare platforms quickly to meet a raft of current and expected requirements from the armed forces, police and paramilitary.

The Indian navy is on the lookout for medium- and high-altitude/long-endurance (MALE and HALE) UAS. And the Indian army and air force are both eager for more short-range unmanned air systems. For the first time, the coast guard and paramilitary forces there are looking to establish their own UAS squadrons for dedicated operations related to coastal and internal security. The country’s intelligence agencies, including the National Technical Research Organization and Research & Analysis Wing also operate UAS and want to add capabilities, preferably indigenous, or Indian-led.

HAL has conducted a market assessment and is sending a request for expression of interest (EOI) to international aerospace companies seeking the joint development, manufacture and marketing of three UAS types: a fixed-wing MALE variant; a fixed-wing, short-range tactical model; and a mini-UAS for infantry, paramilitary and special forces use. Sources connected to HAL say the manufacturer would be willing to partner in the large-scale modification of existing platforms for Indian requirements. HAL is already teaming up with Russia on two current projects: the fifth-generation fighter aircraft and multi-role transport aircraft.

“HAL is expanding its reach to cover new product lines. As the UAS business in India and other countries is expanding, there is a need for collaboration to face the competitive scenario,” the company tells prospective partners in its recently published request. HAL hopes to elicit interest from Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, EADS, Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, BAE Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Saab and Dassault, says a HAL executive familiar with the effort.

Representatives for all the entities contacted said their companies are working on responses. A competitive process will winnow out some contenders before a decision is made, though the HAL executive said Chairman R.K. Tyagi is “keen to expedite the process so work could begin on one of HAL’s most exciting ventures.”

The MALE UAS that HAL wants to add to its portfolio needs to be a multi-mission platform for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance; communication and data relay; scientific and meteorological applications, and disaster management. HAL is looking to develop an all-weather, day/night UAS with a takeoff weight of around 2 tons, a length not more than 15 meters (49 ft.) and a wingspan of not more than 30 meters. The platform will need a payload capacity of 500 kg (1,100 lb.), an endurance of 50 hr. and maximum speed of 500 kph.

The short-range tactical UAS would be used for battlefield target acquisition, surveillance and reconnaissance, correction of artillery fire and battle damage assessment. The mini UAS will tackle over-the-hill surveillance, border security and law enforcement .

Source: iHLS

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17 mai 2013 5 17 /05 /mai /2013 11:50
Skeldar V-200

Skeldar V-200

16 May 2013 army-technology.com

 

Saab has successfully conducted flight testing of the Skeldar V-200 vertical lift unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in an effort to demonstrate its critical capabilities at various sites across Sweden and the US.

 

Carried out primarily to demonstrate land and sea-based operations of the UAS during both day and night conditions, the flight testing fully validated its convoy shadowing, use of electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, as well as precision landing capabilities.

 

As well as highlighting the platform's ability to perform long-range operations using tactical hand-over between ground control stations (GCS), the fully autonomous flights also verified a heavy fuel engine for the UAS.

 

The upgraded next-generation variant of the original design aviation fuel engine has been delivered and cleared for flight testing, according to the company, which also conducted several customer demonstration flights of the UAS.

 

Saab Tactical UAS product area director Mikael Franzen said: "The combination of two alternative engine types, a modular payload design, and the ability to incorporate and utilise a variety of data link systems, provides a true multi-mission capability for the Skeldar V-200 and a flexibility that enables the customer to successfully meet their mission objectives on land or at sea," Franzen said.

 

The built-in safety functionality of the Skeldar V-200 system confirmed contingency behaviours in an event of link loss, including autonomous navigation in accordance to predefined parameters, as well as auto landing and shutdown during flight tests.

 

Featuring two air vehicles and a mobile UAS control station, the Skeldar V-200 is a medium range vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS designed for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA), light cargo transportation and electronic warfare missions.

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15 octobre 2012 1 15 /10 /octobre /2012 07:50

Eitan (Heron TP) drone source flightglobal.com

 

Oct 12, 2012 Spacedaily.com (UPI)

 

Tel Aviv, Israel - Israel Aerospace Industries, flagship of the Jewish state's defense sector, is reported to have secured a $958 million contract from India's military to upgrade its IAI-built Heron and Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles.

 

UAVs are one of the biggest money-spinners for Israel's defense industry and India, which is engaged in a massive multiyear rearmament program, is a key customer.

 

Israel's Globes business daily cited Indian media reports that the deal covers some 150 UAVs acquired from IAI since the 1990s that are operated by India's army, air force and navy.

 

The Indian army deploys around 100 Searchers along the country's western, eastern and northern borders. The air force employs Searcher IIs and Herons for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

 

"Once the upgrades are complete, the air force will be able to use the aircraft for long-range missions and control them through satellite communications systems," Globes reported.

 

Israel is one of the world's leading arms exporters, with most of its key customers in the developing world.

 

The U.S. Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress reported in August that from 2004-11, Israel signed arms transfer agreements worth $12.9 billion. That ranked it as the eighth largest arms supplier in the world, behind the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, China and Italy.

 

IAI has had major dealings with India in recent years.

 

In early 2006, IAI and the Indian Defense Research Development Organization signed a $480 million contract on missile development. Israeli business sources said the deal was a major boost to IAI's orders backlog at a time when Israel's defense industry, a key revenue earner, had to grapple with a big dip in the global market.

 

IAI won a $1.1 billion deal with the Indian navy in 2009 to provide advanced Barak-8 tactical air-defense missile systems for its warships. The Indian army is jointly funding a project to adapt the Barak-8 into a multipurpose weapons system.

 

Also in 2009, Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems secured a $1 billion contract with New Delhi for 18 Spyder surface-to-air missile systems by 2012.

 

IAI sold the Indian air force three Phalcon early warning aircraft worth $1.1 billion in 2004.

 

All told, Israeli companies have sold India weapons and other military systems worth more than $10 billion over the last decade or so. In 2007, the Jewish state replaced France as India's second largest arms supplier after Russia.

 

India has also expressed interest in Israel's Arrow-2 anti-ballistic missile system jointly manufactured by IAI and the Boeing Co. of the United States.

 

But the technology transfer involved could impede any sale since U.S. approval would be required.

 

With a significant slowdown in the growth of high-tech exports to the United States and Europe, Israeli defense exporters are shifting their marketing focus to Asia.

 

In 2010, Israeli defense sales reached $9.6 billion, with the three largest defense-oriented companies along employing 30,600 people.

 

In March, India blacklisted Israel Military Industries, a major arms manufacturer, for 10 years because of a 2009 bribery scandal that has dogged links between the Jewish state's defense industry and one of its biggest customers.

 

State-owned IMI is the main supplier of defense platforms for the Israeli military and is a significant exporter in the defense field. This sector that has become increasingly crucial to maintaining production lines and developing new systems at a time when the government is slashing Israel's defense budget.

 

The decision by the Indian government "is expected to significantly impact IMI's activities in India, as well as that of other Israeli defense firms," the liberal Haaretz daily reported following the announcement of the blacklisting.

 

"However," Oxford Analytica observed in a December analysis, "these industries are now facing a problem similar to the one they faced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they reacted quickly to the lessons learned during the 1973 war and the spate of airline hijackings.

 

"Systems invented at that time included UAVs and sophisticated airport security networks but for a while it was hard to sell these products.

 

"Both systems have since been adopted by the security forces of many countries and form the core of Israeli defense exports."

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