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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 16:50
DSEI: Selex marks mini and micro UAV success

13 Sep 2013 by Dan Thisdell – FG


London - Finmeccanica's Selex ES has marked a successful week for its unmanned air systems business, achieving Italian air force certification for micro and mini systems developed by its technical centre at Ronchi dei Legionari, near Trieste.


Selex chief executive Fabrizio Giulianini is especially pleased to have passed this particular milestone for the ducted-fan hovering Asio and fixed-wing Crex systems, as the Italian version of the NATO standard was written after the aircraft were in advanced stages of development.


Speaking exclusively to Flightglobal at the DSEI show in London on 11 September, Giulianini said he was delighted to have been faced with the challenge of adjusting the programmes to meet that NATO standard.


The door is now open for military sales in Italy and abroad and, he stresses, both systems are in a strong position to bid for sales as soon as regulators in North America and Europe establish flight standards to open civil airspace to unmanned aircraft.


"We look forward to the rules of flying in unsegregated airspace," says Giulianini.


The next challenge, he adds, will be to push battery performance to extend the backpackable systems' endurance in battlefield use.


Asio offers endurance of more than 30min in flight and hovering mode, and of over 4h in silent (perching) mode, as well as a datalink range of up to 12km (6.5nm) in line-of-sight and an ability to provide stabilised, high-resolution imagery.


Crex enables "over the hill" and "around the corner" intelligence missions to gather real-time information "in a stealthy way", tracking stationary and moving targets.

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Photo Northrop Grumman

Photo Northrop Grumman

September 13, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued September 12, 2013)


Pentagon Contract Announcement


Northrop Grumman Corp., Aerospace Systems Sector, San Diego, Calif., has been awarded a $169,851,218 (estimated) cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (PZ0001) on a definitization of an undefinitized contract action (FA8528-13-C-0005) for contract logistics support for the RQ-4 Global Hawk.


The contractor shall provide all logistics support activities which includes fielded air vehicles, engines, payloads, ground segments and support segments.


Work will be performed at San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2014. This is a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2013 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $76,276,405 are being obligated at time of award.


Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WIKBA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 16:20
SLD: The US arms exports future: The 21st century is not the late 20th

10 September 2013 by Robbin Laird - Second Line of Defence


In the oft debated and discussed arms transfer export reforms, slow is an understatement. Irrelevance to this century might be another one.


The nature of the arms business has changed so much from the late 20th century in response to global manufacturing, that debating which widgets should be on a munitions list (even this nomenclature suggests the problem) is really out of phase with structural shifts in evolving global arms production.


A key problem in the United States is that the period since the collapse of the Soviet Union really created an anomaly: the US’s core peer competitor had collapsed leaving the U.S. with a significant cold war arsenal which it could leverage for its own use and for exports. Even though the legacy of 20th century approaches remains dominant – platforms are the focus not capabilities – the stockpiles have dwindled and are not going to be replaced any time soon.


And as the U.S. draws down its defense investments, and in the presence of a strategy of sequestration fails to prioritize investments, the major US companies are looking to global exports as a key way ahead. One can not go to a major air show without claims of significant growth in the international market as on offer for U.S. firms to allow them to deal with the uncertainties of DOD investments and the absence of strategy.


But such hopes are not founded on 21st century realities.


Foreign customers are not looking for the sale of U.S. equipment as end items – and the necessity to deal with ITAR and other regulations breaking down every component inside those end items. The kinds of allies, who are working with the United States, whether in Europe, Asia, the Middle East or Latin America, expect to participate in the production process and to part of the overall evolution of the product. They expect to be part of the production cycle and to benefit industrially from buying any U.S. products.


It is no longer about things as end products; it is about participation in processes, which advance military and industrial capabilities.


Arms importers have such expectations for several reasons.


First, American companies simply do not dominate the global landscape the way they did 30 years ago or even 10 years ago. There are significant global players in Europe and Asia, which have emerged or are emerging to shape new products and processes.


Second, there are global competitors, such as the PRC, which are generating technology and global reach and see the global market as a key area within which to shape partnerships for the long term.


Third, new industrial players such as Embraer and companies in India will over time become more significant players in shaping the production processes and products for global exports.


The U.S. is not unique in the way it once was in terms of production or capabilities. What is unique is the nature of the U.S. military and its global experience and reach. This key asset is fundamental if the U.S. hopes to play a key role in working with allies in shaping new military capabilities, and amortizing the costs of defense production.


But this will be done so in the face of 21st century production processes, in which prime contactors are responsible for the development and delivery of final product, but do so by sitting on top of global supply chains. The global suppliers are just that and are found in commercial as well as military domains and produce parts, which are inherently dual use.


The cases of the 787, the A350 and the F-35 are quite similar in terms of the primes being the focal point of a significant global effort to shape supply chains which enable the delivery of new and capable products.


But the global nature of the supply chain is conceptualized differently from controls provided by a munitions list.


The F-35 program has been built on a number of de facto reforms shaping a global approach and could be leveraged as an important element of shaping further reforms. But what is interesting in the debate about the F-35 in the U.S. is how rarely the global production aspect even shows up in that debate.


It is as if the U.S. can debate its own defense future regardless of the allied commitments and engagement in the production of the F-35, which is underway.


There are a number of new products on the market, which are as good or better than US products, A330 tankers and A400MS or FREMM frigates come quickly to mind. But the real point is not simply that there are alternatives, but that the production processes themselves are changing.


A key example of the change involves South Korea. South Korea is an important partner of the United States and Europe in shaping new defense capabilities moving forward.


Two dramatically differently examples involve ships and helicopters.


With regard to ships, South Korean technology has been significant in allowing the U.S. to build a more cost effective and capable logistics support ship.


When SLD visited the USNS Montford Point, we had a chance to talk with the CEO of the NASSCO shipyard building the ship. Harris highlighted the processes followed by the Asian yards, and their commitment to a tight planning and design process prior to building any ship.


He told a story about a meeting which he had in South Korea with a US Congressman in attendance. The shipbuilder was asked how many ships he had built that year and his answer was something on the order of more than 270. The Congressman asked the shipbuilder: How did you get that good?


The South Korean shipbuilder paused and then answered: “We learned from the US during World War II in building the Liberty Ships as manufactured products. We started there and have been working to improve on that model.”


According to Harris, South Korean yards have contributed significantly to the design and production of the ship. One key example he gave was with regard to a technology transfer from South Korea to the US.


“The deck is 1 ¾ inches of steel. Relying on US methods, we would need multiple passes to build this steel plate on the deck. We called Hyundai on the phone and said: what do you do? One pass. Will you share that with us? Yes. We’ll share it with you.


“They shared it all with us, and it’s a process that we have here where you put powdered metal in the joint, it’s actually broken up pieces of weld material. And you autonomously weld, and you fuse all that together. And you build a crown when you put that material in. And it really is fantastic.


“The process lead to very little, if any, weld rejects. The issue with one pass for us was we were seeing some weld reject. And we don’t want weld reject. But the Koreans, used a two-pass system. And their joint design was very different than our joint design. We quickly qualified the joint design to the USN spec requirements.


“Harris highlighted throughout the interview the importance of the partnership for improving the design and manufacturing process and making it a more exacting effort to drive out cost and to enhance manufacturing performance.”


A second example is the partnership between Eurocopter and South Korea in building a new version of the Super Puma being built in South Korea and available for global export. According to Norbert Duclot, the head of Eurocopter in Asia:


“In 2006 we signed an agreement with KAI which has led to the development of the Surion helicopter for the Republic of Korea Army Aviation (ROKAA). The helicopter first went into service this year. The South Koreans are planning to acquire 245 of these helicopters and to derive several versions of the helicopter.


“It really is a Korean helicopter. One needs to realize that about 80% of the helicopter has been redesigned by the South Koreans; it is not simply license production for it is a newly designed helicopter.


“And we have an agreement to export this helicopter with them to selected markets. This is not a problem for us for the helicopter has no equivalent in the Eurocopter line. It is a new build 8.5-ton helicopter.


“The South Koreans and Japanese are really at the top of the game globally in terms of production technologies and techniques. We have advantages currently in design and having mature technologies available to the market place; but really the South Koreans and Japanese have much to teach the world in terms of production technologies and approaches.”


These two examples highlight how production and development processes are becoming global in ways that do not prioritize U.S. capabilities.


To succeed, U.S. firms need to be part of these processes and not managed by munitions lists.


In shaping a new regime for the control of defense exports, the reality of working with allies in a global supply chain needs to be prioritized, rather than debating which widgets they are “allowed” to get, which probably came from them in the first place.


And new regulations by allies require such a shift. For example, the EU requires direct offsets in defense, not indirect offsets in defense as part of any arms deal going forward. This means that if the old F-16 model were being relied on rather than the new global production F-35 model, the U.S. generated aircraft would not be in play.


The new approach is going to generate changes for which a backward looking arms control process simply is not prepared. Take the example of weapons for the F-35 fleet going forward.


With the F-35 fleet coming to the Pacific, a little noticed aspect of the program is how it augments the market for those weapons manufacturers whose weapons are on the platform. An entire weapons revolution is enabled by the F-35 in which key developments such as off-boarding of weapons are enabled. What this means is that weapons can be fired by other platforms, whether air, sea or land based, while the aircraft is determining target sets.


Even though the U.S. has been the core architect for the aircraft, the implementation of the fleet will not be solely and perhaps primarily American. The diversity of global weapon suppliers – European, Israeli, and Asian – will seek to integrate their products onto the F-35.


There are two examples already in play of how allies can work with the F-35 to weaponize the aircraft to the benefit of the entire fleet. The first example is the inclusion of a Norwegian missile on the F-35. Indeed, for Norway, a key element of the F-35 decision by Norway was the acceptance of the integration of a new Kongsberg missile onto the F-35 itself.


Through the development of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), the Norwegian Armed Forces has established KONGSBERG and other Norwegian industry in the top tier as a supplier of long-range, precision strike missiles that will meet military requirements in a 20 to 30-year perspective.


Historically, a Norwegian selection of an aircraft and a decision to integrate a missile on that aircraft would be largely for Norway or whoever else chose that aircraft and the series variant of that aircraft. This would not likely be a large natural market.


With the F-35 the situation is totally different.


The F-35A to be purchased by Norway has the same software as every other global F-35, and so integration on the Norwegian F-35 provides an instant global marketplace for Kongsberg. And the international team marketing the aircraft – is de facto – working for Kongsberg as well.


It is very likely, for example, that Asian partners in the F-35 will find this capability to be extremely interesting and important. And so Kongsberg’s global reach is embedded in the global reach of the F-35 itself.


The second example is the development of the Meteor missile by the European consortium MBDA Systems. The new Meteor missile developed by MBDA is a representative of a new generation of air combat missiles for a wide gamut of new air systems. It can be fitted on the F-35, the Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen and other 21st century aircraft.


In short, the 21st century development and production processes are not the 20th.


Putting in place policy processes which are in this century not the last are crucial if the U.S .is to cope with fiscal stringencies and yet work more effectively with global allies who expect to part of the evolution of capabilities, not the receivers of an end product.


It would also be helpful if the continual attacks on “foreign” suppliers would stop from the Congress. The tanker offered by Northrop and then EADS was an imported airframe, full stop. It also has been delivered to many of the world’s air forces while the USAF is waiting for the “American” tanker. The full out attack on the Super Tucano for daring to enter the US marketplace as a “foreign” product even though to be build in the United States and thereby become part of the Embraer global supply chain is another.


These kind of rear guard actions simply worsen the ability of U.S. firms to work abroad and to be part of the reality of 21st century global supply chains.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
US Air Force to buy additional RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30s

September 12th, 2013 By Zach Rosenberg – FG


Washington DC - The US Air Force has issued a pre-solicitation notice to purchase additional Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned air vehicles (UAV), despite the potential retirement of the existing fleet.


The Air Force released a pre-solicitation notice on 12 September, notifying the public of its intent to buy Lot 12 aircraft.


The Block 30, initially purchased to augment and eventually replace the Lockheed Martin U-2 as a high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, has come under fire for reliability and sensor problems. A low rate of mission readiness coupled with the high cost of operation has led the USAF to repeatedly attempt to cancel the programme, saying that the U-2 and a classified platform could fulfill Global Hawk's mission. The sensors Global Hawk carries, the Enhanced Imagery Sensor Suite (EISS) and Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP), received mixed reviews.


"Against AF [Air Force] recommendations, AF was directed in the FY13 NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] to procure the GH [Global Hawk] Block 30 Lot 11 aircraft (3)--so we are," says a senior Air Force official, who requested anonymity. "Per our assessment, the current fleet of 18 GH Block 30 aircraft is sufficient to meet the required demand for high-altitude ISR support--and when delivered, the additional 3 aircraft will be "excess to need" and will very likely be designated as backup aircraft inventory (or attrition reserve)."

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 07:45
Selex ES to deliver unmanned aerial surveillance to the United Nations for peace keeping

Sep 12, 2013 ASDNews Source : Selex ES


Selex ES a Finmeccanica company, was awarded, on 31 July, a service agreement by the United Nations for the provision of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for 3 years with 2 optional years, in support of the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the use of the UAS, consisting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and associated enablers for information gathering/surveillance operations.


It is the first time that the UN has contracted with a civilian operator to provide UAV technology to aid in executing its unique humanitarian mandate.


Selex ES will be utilizing its proprietary FALCO UAV system composed of:

    Multiple remotely piloted aircraft

    Ground control stations

    Support equipment and



The FALCO is an unarmed mission-proven medium altitude, medium endurance UAV able to operate from semi-prepared airstrips with fully automated take off, landing and mission execution capability. It is employed by numerous nations around the world and has proven itself in a variety of environmental conditions.


Selex ES will deploy a highly experienced team of pilots, maintenance engineers and information analysts using the most sophisticated sensors and data exploitation tools available.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Suisse : Ueli Maurer ne veut pas de drones armés

Le Hermes 900 de la société israélienne Elbits - C'est le drone qui a été présenté mardi 16 octobre 2012 à la presse. Il est en compétition avec le Heron 1 de la division Malat des industries aérospatiales d'Israël, testé il y a un mois - photo Armasuisse


10.09.2013 Par Arthur Grosjean - 24heures.ch


Mercredi 11 septembre, le National décidera ou non d'acheter le Gripen. Mais pourquoi ne pas miser sur des drones armés? Nous avons posé la question au président de la Confédération, Ueli Maurer.


Demain, c'est le grand jour au Conseil national. Après des années de discussion, l'achat du nouvel avion de combat Gripen passera devant le Conseil national. On devrait assister à un débat traditionnel gauche-droite sur cette acquisition de 3,1 milliards. Selon toute vraisemblance, le choix du Gripen sera avalisé par le Parlement et c'est le peuple qui tranchera en dernier ressort.


Parallèlement, la Suisse est en train de tester des drones israéliens de surveillance pour son territoire. Mais l'armée exclut d'acquérir des drones armés. Pourquoi? Nous avons posé la question au président de la Confédération et chef du Département militaire Ueli Maurer.


24 heures - La Suisse n'a-t-elle pas une guerre de retard? On voit que les drones armés sont de plus en plus utilisés , comme par exemple en Afghanistan. Pourquoi s'interdire d'acheter des drones armés?


Ueli Maurer - Si on regarde la menace, il n'y a pour l'instant pas de priorité à combattre des avions avec des drones armés. Les 22 Gripen sont le moyen le plus performant pour assurer la surveillance et la défense du ciel suisse.


Est-ce qu'un jour nous aurons un drone armé?


Je n'en suis pas vraiment sûr. Si vous avez suivi la discussion qui a eu lieu en Allemagne, cela pose un problème. Pour voler dans le ciel, les drones doivent bénéficier d'une base légale dans l'aviation civile. Et en Allemagne, cette absence de base légale a presque failli provoquer la démission du ministre de la Défense, Thomas de Maizière. Ce dernier a été mis sous pression. Maintenant, quand on parle de drones armés dans notre petit espace aérien européen, il faut aussi au préalable élaborer une base légale pour que nous puissions les utiliser. Cela devrait représenter un processus très long.


La Suisse n'a donc pas besoin de drones armés?


Je ne sais pas si nous en aurons besoin un jour. En tout cas, pour les prochaines années, ce n'est pas une priorité.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 06:50
Huge Surge In RAF Reaper UAV Weapons Launches

RAF Reaper UAV - Photo: Corporal Steve Follows RAF UK MoD


09/09/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter


Royal Air Force Reaper UAV weapons launches over Afghanistan have increased sevenfold since 2008, according to newly-published data


Published in early September 2013, the data confirms that, last year, the RAF's Reaper fleet was involved in 892 flights over Afghanistan. During 92 of these sorties, missiles were fired, meaning such events occurred during over 10 per cent of the flights total.


In contrast, a total of 296 RAF Reaper MALE (medium altitude long endurance) UAV missions were staged during 2008, of which circa five per cent involved weapons being fired.


Deployed against suspected militant forces located in Afghanistan, the RAF's Reapers can be equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles: a capability first revealed in June 2008. Under the United States' control, UAVs operating in Afghan skies have proved highly controversial. While having successfully engaged with intended targets, the same unmanned platforms have reportedly also killed dozens of innocent civilians.


RAF Reaper Weapons Launches


According to officials, five different UK Armed Forces UAVs are presently deployed in Afghanistan. Of these, the RAF's Reapers are the only UAVs able to carry and launch weapons.


The type, said one RAF representative, has: "played a vital role supporting military operations [and]...saved countless UK and allied forces lives by providing essential intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and precision weapons in support of coalition forces on group operations."


Previously known as the Predator B, the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper made its first flight in February 2001 and entered service on 1 May 2007. To date, 57 examples have been produced, each one costing in the region of $16.9 million.


RAF Reaper UAVs


Reaper MALE UAVs currently equip three nations - Italy, the US and the UK. The Royal Air Force's Reapers UAVs serve two squadrons: No. 39 Squadron and No. 13 Squadron.


Powered by a single Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine generating 900 horsepower, the Reaper has a top speed of 300 miles per hour, a range of 1,150 miles and an endurance of 14 hours in its heaviest configuration. Reapers can fly at up to 50,000 feet but typically operate at around 25,000 feet and, equipped with seven weapons hardpoints, they can carry up to AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Predator over Afghanistan photo USAF

Predator over Afghanistan photo USAF

MOSCOU, 5 septembre - RIA Novosti


Les ingénieurs d'Al-Qaïda ont reçu pour mission d'élaborer une stratégie anti-drone, comme en témoigne un rapport confidentiel du renseignement américain dévoilé au Washington Post par Edward Snowden, écrit jeudi le quotidien Nezavissimaïa gazeta.


Selon les informations de la Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), les terroristes financent des projets de recherche pour créer des stations de brouillage, qui permettraient de perturber les signaux GPS et les balises infrarouges qui servent à orienter les opérateurs de drones.


De plus, Al-Qaïda travaille sur des aérostats de surveillance et des appareils télécommandés de taille réduite qui devraient permettre aux terroristes de suivre la trajectoire des drones américains. Les terroristes se penchent sur la possibilité d'abattre les drones grâce aux lance-roquettes sol-air et travaillent sur des systèmes d'alerte d'approche de drones.  Le commandement d'Al-Qaïda supervise tous les projets et sert de base de liaison pour échanger les succès entre diverses équipes d'ingénieurs.


Les terroristes recrutent des spécialistes, notamment des experts en drones et technologies balistiques. Selon le WP, en 2010, les autorités turques ont arrêté un étudiant mathématicien de 23 ans, membre d'Al-Qaïda, qui cherchait le moyen d'abattre les drones de surveillance de l'Otan en Afghanistan et effectuait des calculs balistiques. Les jihadistes qui travaillent sur les nouvelles technologies appellent, par le biais de revues anglophones en ligne, à les aider dans la guerre contre les "drones diaboliques". Il est suggéré à cet effet de partager les avis, les idées et les compétences pratiques. Sans oublier la guerre psychologique. Les terroristes cherchent à jouer sur la colère de la population en raison des nombreuses victimes civiles et à montrer la guerre de drones comme une entreprise lâche et immorale.


Les drones Predator et Reaper sont l'arme principale de la CIA et du Pentagone contre Al-Qaïda depuis la présidence de George W. Bush. En dix ans leurs attaques ont tué près de 3 000 personnes et ont poussé les terroristes à prendre des mesures d'urgence pour limiter leurs déplacements au Pakistan, en Afghanistan, au Yémen et en Somalie. D’où les tentatives d'Al-Qaïda pour trouver un moyen de lutter contre les drones. Leurs talons d'Achille sont la liaison satellite, le contrôle à distance et l'absence du cryptage pour certaines communications.


Par ailleurs, les drones perdent souvent le signal sans aide extérieure. En général, les perturbations sont réparées en quelques secondes mais dans certains cas elles ont entraîné le crash du drone, comme en décembre 2011 dans le ciel iranien (Téhéran a annoncé qu'il avait lui-même abattu l’appareil). Les méthodes bon marché pour lutter contre les drones – à l’aide de lasers et d'autres dispositifs capables d'aveugler les caméras et les capteurs des drones - ne sont plus secrètes depuis longtemps. Les chercheurs de l'université du Texas à Austin ont notamment réussi, au cours d'une expérience, à "carjacker" un drone en trompant son signal GPS avec un transmetteur terrestre et en programmant un faux itinéraire.

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30 août 2013 5 30 /08 /août /2013 16:40
La Russie crée un drone de frappe sur la base du chasseur T-50 (OAK)

JOUKOVSKI (région de Moscou), 30 août - RIA Novosti


La Russie crée un drone de frappe sur la base du chasseur de 5e génération T-50 (PAK FA), a annoncé vendredi le président du Consortium aéronautique unifié (OAK) Mikhaïl Pogossian lors du Salon aérospatial international MAKS-2013 à Joukovski, dans la région de Moscou.


"Nous menons nos travaux conformément au programme du ministère russe de la Défense. Selon ce programme, nous devons d'abord mener des études préliminaires en utilisant le potentiel technique du projet de chasseur de 5e génération", a indiqué M.Pogossian.


L'avion de frappe sans pilote aura une masse de 20 tonnes, selon lui.


L'ex-commandant en chef de l'Armée de l'air russe, le général Piotr Deïnekine, a annoncé le 26 août dernier, que les constructeurs aériens russes avaient entamé la conception d'un chasseur de 6e génération, qui sera le plus probablement sans pilote.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 16:20
US Army Orders Switchblade Attack UAVs

August 29, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: AeroVironment, Inc.; issued August 28, 2013)


Aerovironment Receives $15.8 Million In Orders Under A United States Army Contract for Switchblade Tactical Missile Systems


MONROVIA, Calif. --- AeroVironment, Inc. (AVAV) announced that it has received a total of $15.8 million in orders under a contract for Switchblade tactical missile systems, ancillary equipment and support.


The United States Army Close Combat Weapons Systems Program Executive Office Missiles and Space (PEO MS) awarded these contract options. AeroVironment and its strategic teammate for advanced warheads, ATK, will continue to work together to produce and deliver the systems.


The initial contract was issued on August 30, 2012 in support of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). The scope of work under this contract includes operational and training rounds plus training, support and rapid delivery to support ongoing customer operations. AeroVironment has received five separate orders totaling $15.8 million under this contract, including the most recent on July 29, 2013.


“Switchblade is the first smart loitering weapon, giving our troops a new force protection capability that can deliver precision effects kilometers away with in-flight retargeting, target verification and pinpoint delivery, all resulting in little or no collateral effects,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of the company’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “AeroVironment and ATK stand ready to deliver more Switchblade systems to protect our troops.”


“Adoption of innovative new solutions within the Department of Defense is difficult in today’s budget constrained environment,” added Tim Conver, AeroVironment chairman and chief executive officer. “These follow-on procurements of Switchblade systems demonstrate our customer’s confidence in this unique capability and the persistence required for the successful adoption and deployment of innovative solutions.”


Conver added, “Switchblade is just one of a number of new opportunities driving AeroVironment’s long-term growth. We are confident that our strategy is working and that our investments in pioneering new products and technologies are creating sustainable long-term value for our customers and our stockholders.”


A February 2013 news article quoted the REF’s director as saying, “Theater came in and said, ‘We need dramatically more’ ” (Switchblade systems) than those supplied in late 2012. In March 2013 the Army released a presolicitation notification on the Federal Business Opportunities website for an intent to award a new sole source contract to AeroVironment for Switchblade tactical missile systems. That contract has yet to be awarded.


Switchblade provides a high-precision, direct fire capability at beyond-line-of-sight ranges in a rapidly deployable, backpackable package weighing six pounds.



AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops, produces, operates and supports an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. Agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied military services use the company’s electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems extensively to provide situational awareness to tactical operating units through real-time, airborne reconnaissance, surveillance and communication.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 11:40
Le chasseur russe de 6e génération sera un drone

29 août 2013 par info-aviation


Les constructeurs aériens russes ont entamé la conception d’un avion de chasse de sixième génération, a déclaré l’ex-commandant en chef de l’Armée de l’air russe, le général Piotr Deïnekine.


« La conception de drones à long rayon d’action nécessite des études supplémentaires, d’autant que la sixième génération d’appareils de combat sera le plus probablement sans pilote. Nous travaillons activement sur ce sujet », a annoncé le général à la question de savoir pourquoi la Russie développait, avec un retard important sur les États-Unis, le chasseur de 5e génération T-50 et ne procédait pas à la conception de la sixième génération de chasseurs en omettant la cinquième.


Selon M.Deïnekine, il est incorrect de comparer la Russie aux pays de l’Otan capables d’acheter des appareils US de cinquième génération.


« Nous devons faire nous-mêmes ce travail important, et il est peu probable que nous soyons en mesure de sauter une génération », a indiqué le général.

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 16:20
MQ-1C Grey Eagle Sky warrior photo US Army

MQ-1C Grey Eagle Sky warrior photo US Army

Aug. 23, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Aug. 22, 2013)


General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Poway, Calif., was awarded a cost-plus-incentive fee, option eligible, multi-year contract with a cumulative maximum value of $30,481,905 for one MQ-1C Gray Eagle Composite Maintenance System Trainer (CMST) suite of equipment with an option for Interim Contractor Support (ICS) for one CMST suite of equipment.


Performance location will be Fort Huachuca, Ariz., with funding from fiscal 2013 Other Procurement accounts.


The U.S. Army Contracting Command Redstone Arsenal (Aviation), Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-13-C-0127).

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 07:55
photo General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

photo General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

Aug 26, 2013 By Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - France has concluded a deal with the Pentagon to purchase 16 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft and eight ground control stations, the US Department of Defense (DOD) confirms.


"The Letters of Offer and Acceptance have been signed for the Reapers as well as for the associated training case," says the Pentagon. "French operators are currently in training."


The sale is being handled via the DOD's foreign military sales vehicle, which covers the aircraft, control stations, support equipment and training, among other items. General Atomics, which builds the hardware, directed all enquires to the US Air Force but would not deny that two Reapers would be delivered to the French air force ahead of the remaining aircraft to support operations in Africa.


The Pentagon had issued a notification to Congress of the $1.5 billion sale on 27 June.

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26 août 2013 1 26 /08 /août /2013 11:20
UAV System Allows GIS Professionals A Cost-effective Solution for Aerial Data

August 24, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


News release from Integrated Informatics:


CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 23, 2013 /CNW/ – Integrated Informatics Inc. now offers a complete aerial data solution, from data capture to analysis and data management, using senseFly’s eBee unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This solution offers a significant cost-reduction related to mobilization and demobilization of fixed-wing and helicopter surveys.


Stephen Rowe of Integrated Informatics comments, “Prior to senseFly’s eBee, Integrated Informatics would have to rely on client-sourced imagery and digital elevation data, or pull from legacy data. In some cases, the data wasn’t even suited for the analysis being performed. By integrating the eBee, we now have the opportunity to capture and deliver data that specifically matches the requirements of our client’s projects.” Rowe continued, “We have flexibility with respect to spatial resolution and vertical accuracy that will result in more accurate analysis results.”


Integrated Informatics Inc. is a leading consultancy for Geographic Information System implementation and development. Founded in 2002, Integrated Informatics provides spatial data management, workflow and process automation, and custom mapping solutions to the Energy and Natural Resource sectors throughout North America with offices in Calgary, Alberta, Houston, Texas, and St. John’s, Newfoundland.


senseFly is a Swiss company that develops and produces autonomous ultralight flying drones, also called UAVs, and related software solutions.

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26 août 2013 1 26 /08 /août /2013 10:55
Deux Reaper pour l'armée de l'air: ce n'est plus "imminent", c'est fait... (23.08.2013)

23.08.2013 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Hier, c'était "imminent (voir mon post mis en ligne ce matin). Ce vendredi, c'est fait!

La France a bien acquis un premier système de deux drones Reaper fabriqués par la société américaine General Atomics. "La procédure d'acquisition du premier système de deux drones MQ-9 Reaper a été notifiée. Il est commandé", a indiqué à l'AFP un porte-parole de la Défense.

L'achat de Reaper avait été annoncé en mai, mais plus de trois mois de discussions ont été nécessaires pour boucler l'opération. Ce premier système - les deux vecteurs aériens "non armés" et leur dispositif de guidage au sol - sera livré "à compter de fin 2013".

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 16:30
photo ADCOM Systems

photo ADCOM Systems

MOSCOU, 17 juillet - RIA Novosti


Le ministère russe de la Défense envisage d'acheter deux drones aux Emirats arabes unis, a confié à RIA Novosti une source au sein de l'industrie de l'armement.


"Il s'agit au moins de deux appareils United 40, version Block 5, conçus par ADCOM Systems", a indiqué l'interlocuteur de l'agence.


Selon les informations fournies par cette société basée à Abou Dhabi, l'United 40 (version Block 5) possède un fuselage en S muni d'ailes en tandem. Il est équipé de deux moteurs à hélice installés sur des pylônes au-dessous des ailes avant.


Le drone peut voler à 9.000 d'altitude, et son autonomie dépasse les 100 heures.


L'appareil possède un radar et un système optoélectronique de surveillance. Ses quatre points de suspension situés sous les ailes arrières lui permette en outre d'accueillir des missiles téléguidés air-surface Yabhon-Namrod conçus par ADCOM.


Un expert russe en matière d'appareils sans pilotes, Denis Fedoutinov, a déclaré à RIA Novosti que la Russie était le premier pays du monde à commander des drones United 40.


"Ce système n'a jusqu'à présent été livré à aucun client, ni étranger ni émirati. Dans sa version actuelle, le drone a été présenté pour la première fois au Salon d'armements IDEX en février 2013 à Abou Dhabi. Il a effectué son premier vol d'essai en mars dernier", a indiqué l'expert.


Selon le Centre russe d'analyse du commerce mondial d'armes, aux termes d'un contrat signé en avril 2009 entre Israël et la Russie, l'Etat hébreu a livré deux drones Bird Eye-400 (pour un montant de 4 millions de dollars), huit drones I-View Mk150 (pour 37 millions de dollars) et deux drones Searcher Mk.2 (12 millions de dollars).


En mars dernier, le conglomérat public russe Oboronprom a signé avec le groupe israélien IAI un contrat de 400 millions de dollars prévoyant la mise en place en Russie d'une usine d'assemblage de drones Bird Eye et Searcher.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
A US Navy's MQ-8C UAV. Photo US Navy

A US Navy's MQ-8C UAV. Photo US Navy

24 July 2013 naval-technology.com


The US Navy has received the first upgraded MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Northrop Grumman, in preparation for ground and flight testing.


The UAV will initially undergo ground testing to demonstrate its ability to communicate with the ground control station, followed by flight trials to validate its technology.


Northrop Grumman medium-range tactical systems vice-president George Vardoulakis said the upgraded Fire Scout UAV will undergo ground and flight testing to meet the US Navy's urgent requirement for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.


"Testing on the naval air systems command test range provides us with extended air space to conduct and demonstrate long endurance and systems testing in a maritime environment," Vardoulakis said.


"The endurance upgrade doubles the time on station of the MQ-8 system, and will help reduce the workload for the ship's crew by cutting the number of times the crew will need to be in flight quarters."


The upgraded MQ-8 system features a modified commercially available airframe to provide enhanced range, more than double the endurance and three times the payload capacity when compared to the MQ-8B variant.


Currently in service onboard the US Navy aircraft carriers, the MQ-8B is also used in Afghanistan to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to maritime and ground commanders.


The new MQ-8C Fire Scout is capable of vertical take off and landing, and provides the navy with extended range, payload and cargo hauling capabilities.


The MQ-8C UAV's first operational deployment with the US Navy is scheduled in 2014.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:45
Seeker 400 to fly in October – Denel

23 July 2013 by Guy Martin - defenceWeb


Denel Dynamics’ Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will fly in October this year, but possibly earlier, the company has confirmed.


Jan Wessels, Denel Group Chief Operations Officer, told defenceWeb that ground testing is currently underway and that the first flight is officially planned for October this year, but may occur sooner. It was originally scheduled for last year, but was delayed due to contracting and certification issues.


Denel’s annual report for the 2012/13 financial year also identifies “complexities with the key subsystems” as another reason for “significant variation in the programme schedule, including a delay of the maiden flight test.”


Nevertheless, Denel said that “significant progress” has been made in the Seeker 400 development programme over the last year and that all hardware manufacturing is completed with system integration underway.


In its annual report, Denel said the projects attached to the development of the Seeker 400 accounted for revenue of R89 million during the last financial year, with investment of R60 million in the Seeker 400.


The Seeker 400 was displayed in mock-up form at the 2010 Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition. It has an endurance of 16 hours and can be armed with two Mokopa air-to-surface missiles, with a 10 km range. It is able to carry two payloads at the same time, including electro-optical/infrared and radar as well as laser rangefinder and illuminator for target designation. Denel says an electronic surveillance payload is available for the detection and location of radar emitters. Future upgrades will include satellite communications, and sense-and-avoid capability in order to obtain civil aviation certification.


Currently, the Seeker 400 has a range of 250 km, because it uses only line-of-sight communications, but it could be upgraded to use satellite communications, which would allow it to operate at much greater ranges. With the use of the existing tactical ground station (TGS), the range may be extended to 750 km.


Denel Dynamics is executing a production contract for the UAV’s launch customer (which previously operated the Seeker I) and has also attracted strong interest from other potential clients, with most demand expected to come from the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America. Denel is promoting the Seeker 400 to Seeker II customers, as the new UAV can be flown with Seeker II control stations.




Also on the UAV front, Denel has changed the layout of its Hungwe commercial UAV, which went from a swept wing dart-like layout to a scaled down version of the proven Seeker II. The triangle shaped Hungwe was shown at exhibitions last year, while the new layout first came to light earlier this year. An example of the ‘new’ Hungwe was on display at Denel’s corporate offices yesterday.


This UAV has a wingspan of four metres and a weight of 35 kg. Carrying a 5 kg sensor, it has an endurance of six hours and a direct line of sight range of 100 km. The system’s service ceiling is up to 12 000 ft. The sensor turret accommodates a daylight TV camera and an infrared camera.


Mobility and portability is a prerequisite and the Hungwe’s ground control station will be quick to setup, easy to use, and compact enough to transport in the back of a commercial light utility vehicle. The ground control station comprises a laptop-based two-console unit, with stations for the sensor operator and pilot.


Denel Dynamics believes there is a large market for the Hungwe as it fills a low-cost market niche – demand could be five times that of the Seeker II. Local applications range from anti-poaching, cable theft prevention and police monitoring.


Like the Seeker 400, the Hungwe is also funded by Denel. Wessels said Denel is pushing the UAV as it believes there is a large market for civil UAVs, which are much cheaper than their military counterparts. Denel Dynamics is targeting Hungwe production by April 2014 at the latest.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
Official: US Reaper Crashed in Mali in April

Jul. 12, 2013 – Defense News (AFP) 


WASHINGTON — A US military Reaper drone crashed in Mali in April as it was carrying out a surveillance flight over the troubled west African nation, a US defense official said Friday.


The robotic, unmanned aircraft went down due to “mechanical failure,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.


Since February, the United States has stationed two drones at an air base in Niamey to provide intelligence for French forces in Mali.


An initial deployment of a Predator drone was replaced by two MQ-9 Reapers, which can fly faster and have a longer range than the older Predator planes.


Apart from sharing intelligence with the French, the drones along with more than 100 US Air Force troops are also there to help stem the flow of insurgents from neighboring Mali into Niger, where authorities are increasingly concerned over the presence of regional militant groups.


The French military also has two Harfang surveillance drones based at the same air field in Niamey to help track militants in Mali.


But France wants to replace the less advanced Harfangs with American MQ-9 Reapers, announcing plans in June to purchase a dozen of the planes with the first two aircraft due to be delivered by the end of the year.


The Pentagon informed Congress on June 27 of a possible sale of up to 16 Reapers to France at a cost of $1.5 billion. The planes are manufactured by General Atomics.


French forces deployed to Mali in January to push back Islamist militants in the north.


About 3,200 French troops in Mali are drawing down to some 1,000 soldiers, who will back up a new UN peacekeeping mission set up July 1 comprised of 6,300 African troops.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 18:45
Les Etats-Unis ont perdu un drone au Mali en avril

12.07.2013 maliactu.net


Un drone américain Reaper opérant depuis le Niger s’est écrasé lors d’une mission de surveillance dans le nord du Mali le 9 avril, a affirmé vendredi un responsable américain de la Défense. L’accident a été provoqué par une « panne mécanique », a précisé à l’AFP ce responsable sous couvert d’anonymat, confirmant une information du New York Times.


Les Etats-Unis stationnent depuis le mois de février des drones sur la base de Niamey, notamment pour fournir un soutien en renseignements aux forces françaises, engagées depuis le 11 janvier au Mali. Un Predator dépêché dans un premier temps avait ensuite été remplacé par deux Reapers, plus endurants. L’appareil accidenté a depuis été remplacé, selon cette source. Outre le soutien à l’opération française, ce déploiement de drones et d’une centaine d’hommes de l’US Air Force à Niamey permet également, selon les autorités nigériennes, de « sécuriser les frontières » contre des infiltrations de groupes jihadistes venant du nord du Mali voisin.


C’est sur cette même base de Niamey que l’armée française stationne deux drones de reconnaissance Harfang pour ses opérations au Mali. En bout de course et dépassés technologiquement, les drones Harfang doivent être remplacés dans les prochaines années par un achat de drones américains MQ-9 Reaper.


Le ministre français de la Défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a ainsi annoncé le 11 juin son intention d’acheter 12 Reaper aux Etats-Unis, une acquisition évaluée au total par ses services à 670 millions d’euros.


La DSCA, l’agence du Pentagone chargée des ventes d’armes, a notifié le Congrès le 27 juin du projet de fourniture à la France de « 16 MQ-9 appareils pilotés à distance Reaper, d’équipements associés, de pièces de rechange, d’entraînement et de soutien logistique pour un coût estimé de 1,5 milliard de dollars » (environ 1,15 milliard d’euros). Le chiffre de drones avancé par la DSCA, supérieur aux annonces françaises, n’est pas une pratique inhabituelle, car elle permet de ne pas avoir à retourner devant le Congrès si le client décide d’acheter plus de matériels qu’envisagé a priori. Si le Congrès ne s’oppose pas à la vente, les deux premiers Reaper, actuellement en cours de production et initialement destinés à l’US Air Force, devraient être livrés d’ici la fin 2013.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
MQ-9 Reaper taxis in Afghanistan photo Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson US Air Force

MQ-9 Reaper taxis in Afghanistan photo Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson US Air Force

July 11, 2013 Source: U.S Department of Defense


Pentagon Contract Announcement


General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a $23,951,449 modification (004940) to a cost-plus-incentive and firm-fixed-price contract (FA8620-05-G-3028) for additional 904.6 systems release tasks for the MQ-9 Hunter and Killer System Development and Demonstration (SDD) bridge effort.


The total cumulative face value of the contract is $114,143,253. The modification includes additional capabilities added to the basic SDD bridge effort, one aircraft retrofit, and one Systems Integration Laboratory upgrade.


Work will be performed at Poway, Calif., and is expected to be completed twelve months from date of award. Fiscal 2012 Research and Development funds in the amount of $3,427,374 and Fiscal 2013 Research and Development funds in the amount of $8,548,349 are being obligated at time of award.


Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WIIK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 16:20
Stiletto Program Teams with UK for UAV Demo

July 11, 2013 Source: US Navy


PATUXENT RIVER, Md. --- The Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program partnered with the United Kingdom's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) for an unmanned aerial systems capability demonstration, June 10-20, off the Maryland coast.


The Stiletto is a unique, maritime demonstration craft developed by the Defense Department to test littoral warfare concepts. Engineers and technicians with specialized expertise in maritime technology from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock's Norfolk detachment maintain and operate the 88-foot-long, composite-bodied, m-shaped vessel.


"Stiletto [capability demonstrations] are conducted in partnership with a host warfighting command or government organization," said Rob Tutton, NSWC Carderock engineer and Stiletto Maritime Demonstration program manager. "For this event, DSTL wanted to observe the operation of UAV's from a small boat platform for maritime missions."


DSTL supplies science and technology services to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence within the defense and military counter terrorism arenas. Three different UAVs, specifically selected for this demonstration, were launched from Stiletto's flight deck, and DSTL personnel observed launch, payload operation and recovery.


"The Stiletto capability demonstration offered a unique opportunity to take a potent government/industry brew of good ideas, practical options and hard work, turning the mix into a genuine capability demonstration for the allied warfighter, which in turn shows how to solve existing and future operational problems. The UK has no equivalent facility, and we are grateful for the support of our U.S. colleagues on the Stiletto team in making this recent capability demonstration a reality," said Paul Mather, DTSL surveillance capability leader.


The Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program is sponsored by ASD Rapid Reaction Technology Office and managed by Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division's Norfolk Detachment, Special Projects Branch.


"This program was established to accelerate the delivery of innovative maritime technologies across all of the armed services," said Glenn Fogg, Rapid Reaction Technology Office director for the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Rapid Fielding. "It's open to any DoD commands, government agencies, industry, or academic institutions that have a need to observe or demonstrate their technologies underway in as relevant an environment as possible."


Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division's Norfolk Detachment, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is located in Virginia Beach, Va., and provides full-spectrum, full-lifecycle engineering for combatant craft, boats, watercraft and associated hull, mechanical, electrical and electronic systems.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:50
The ScanEagle is launched from ships by a pneumatic catapult- Picture Boeing Defence UK

The ScanEagle is launched from ships by a pneumatic catapult- Picture Boeing Defence UK

July 11, 2013: Strategy Page


The British Royal Navy is equipping its warships (and some support vessels) with American Scan Eagle UAVs. Apparently noting the growing use of Scan Eagle by the American fleet (and more expensive helicopter type UAVs by the Chinese), the British selected the inexpensive and proven Scan Eagle. The procurement deal is worth $46 million.


Scan Eagle weighs 19 kg (40 pounds), has a 3.2 meter (ten foot) wingspan, and uses day and night video cameras. On ships it uses a catapult for launch and is landed via a wing hook that catches a rope hanging from a 16 meter (fifty foot) pole. This was recently replaced with the more compact CLRE (Compact Launch and Recovery System). On land Scan Eagle can land on any flat, solid surface.


The Scan Eagle can stay in the air for up to 15 hours per flight and fly as high as 5 kilometers (16,000 feet). Scan Eagles cruising speed is 110 kilometers an hour and can operate at least a hundred kilometers from the ground controller. Scan Eagle carries an optical system that is stabilized to keep the cameras focused on an object while the UAV moves. Scan Eagle has been flying for over a decade now and has been in military service since 2005.


The U.S. Navy has, in the meantime, developed a successor to the Scan Eagle. Production has begun for the RQ-21A Integrator UAV. The U.S. Navy and Marines, as well as the Dutch Navy, have ordered the 55 kg (121 pound) UAV, which has a 4.9 meter (16 foot) wingspan and can fly as high as 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) at a cruise speed of 100 kilometers an hour. RQ-21A can stay in the air up to 24 hours and can carry a payload of 23 kg (50 pounds). It uses the same takeoff and landing equipment as the Scan Eagle.  RQ-21A also uses many of the Scan Eagle sensors, in addition to new ones that were too heavy for Scan Eagle. The additional weight of the RQ-21A makes it more stable in bad weather or windy conditions.


The marines have ordered 32 systems (with five UAVs each), while the navy is getting four, and the Dutch are getting five systems (which include ground controllers and maintenance gear). The first RQ-21As are expected to enter service next year.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:45
Drones in Niger Reflect New U.S. Tack on Terrorism

July 10, 2013 By ERIC SCHMITT - nytimes.com


NIAMEY, Niger — Nearly every day, and sometimes twice daily, an unarmed American drone soars skyward from a secluded military airfield here, starting a surveillance mission of 10 hours or more to track fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda and other militants in neighboring Mali.


The two MQ-9 Reapers that are based here stream live video and data from other sensors to American analysts working with French commanders, who say the aerial intelligence has been critical to their success over the past four months in driving jihadists from a vast desert refuge in northern Mali.


The drone base, established in February and staffed by about 120 members of the Air Force, is the latest indication of the priority Africa has become for the United States at a time when it is winding down its presence in Afghanistan and President Obama has set a goal of moving from a global war on terrorism toward a more targeted effort. It is part of a new model for counterterrorism, a strategy designed to help local forces — and in this case a European ally — fight militants so American troops do not have to.


Read more

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 15:50
Drones : la France à contre temps !

09 Juillet 2013 Security Defense Business Review  N° 87


Il est consternant de voir à quel point les politiques, sous influence d’entourages courtisans et lobbyistes, peuvent se révéler souvent à contretemps de l’Histoire et de toute vision industrielle. Après avoir tergiversé pendant 10 ans, de façon tout à fait stérile, pour savoir s’il fallait vraiment équiper les régiments de renseignement avec des drones Male, armés ou non, l’Etat français et la DGA viennent de jeter le masque en demandant poliment au Congrès américain de bien vouloir leur vendre 16 drones MQ9 Reaper, fabriqués par General Atomics, pour au moins 2 milliards ! Après avoir expliqué aux français qu’il fallait en urgence 2 drones, puis 12 drones, nous en sommes donc maintenant à l’aveu d’une commande de 16, avec les stations sol et les systèmes qui vont avec. Il faut tout de même savoir que, depuis des années, des généraux français en retraite, lobbyistes pour le compte de sociétés étrangères, font jouer leurs réseaux au sein du MINDEF pour arriver à cette option. Il faut être conscient, pour ne pas le regretter plus tard, que la conséquence directe en sera l’abandon par la France de sa filière drone, présente chez Thales, Dassault, Cassidian et Sagem, au profit d’une intégration totale aux catalogues de l’OTAN, bien évidemment fournis par les entreprises américaines, ce qui ne manque pas de sel au moment où on fait mine de s’étonner que l’Amérique des « démocrates » soit  plus que jamais à l’écoute de nos secrets industriels et commerciaux. A d’autres époques, des parlementaires se seraient enflammés pour moins que cela et auraient qualifié ces choix « d’intelligence avec l’ennemi ». Heureusement, depuis  60 ans, chacun sait que les américains sont nos amis…AE

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