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Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

DroneShield Releases DroneGun MKIII

Friday, July 19th, 2019

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to release a breakthrough new product, DroneGun MKIIITM, following extensive development in response to end-user feedback. The product is available for purchase from today to qualified end-users, where lawful (refer to note below).

DroneGun MKIIITM is a portable pistol-shape drone jammer, weighting under 2kg. The Company believes this product is peerless globally, for its combination of size and effectiveness.

 

Image: DroneShield’s DroneGun MKIIITM

DroneGun MKIIITM is designed to be an alternate rather than a replacing product for its highly successful DroneGun TacticalTM unit, having a shorter effective range of 500m versus 1-2km for DroneGun TacticalTM.

 

DroneGun MKIIITM can also be used in combination with other DroneShield products, including the RfPatrolTM body-worn detection device and the DroneSentinelTM stationary multi-sensor detection system.

 

Product overview can be found here.

Operational Footage of French Military Using DroneGun

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Operational footage of DroneShield’s products in action is rare because of the security and secrecy concerns of its end-user militaries and security agencies. In a rare instance of publicly-available footage, our friends at the French military have released the footage of their demonstration of DroneGun Tactical™ at the Bastille Day (France’s national holiday) celebrations in Paris on 14th July.  You can see the footage here.

You can see from the video that the DroneGun is being deployed in a demonstration approximating a real deployment in front of the dignitaries (this is not an actual live deployment). DroneShield’s products were deployed among other cutting-edge defence technologies being used by the French military. Incidentally, you can also see that, illustrating the product’s usability, one of the units is being operated, with ease, by a soldier of slight physical build. 

We are proud of this, and many other, deployments of our products in mission-critical environments around the world. 

New Cyber-Enabled System Provides a Key Countermeasure to Drone Threats

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

MOJAVE DESERT, Calif. — In the desert of the National Training Center, Soldiers got an opportunity to try something completely new. Along with the challenges of 14 grueling days of force-on-force and live-fire training exercises, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (3/1 CD) tried out a cyber-based prototype that complements electronic warfare systems to combat enemy drones, which are a growing threat to U.S. ground troops.

Using the Army’s enhanced cyber-enabled Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) capability, Soldiers with the 3/1 CD were able to detect and counter common small drones during their training. The new prototype alerted Soldiers to the presence of a drone and provided a means to target it, for protection across the brigade.

This integration of cyber-enabled prototypes with existing signal, intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities allowed the Soldiers to fix on a target and engage their fires cell, said Capt. Christopher Packard, electronic warfare and cyber electromagnetic activities chief for the 3/1 CD.

“That’s the goal right there, to reach the commander’s end state and to meet his intent for lethal targeting–those are some of the main concepts to focus on,” Packard said. “I think we’ve done well here, getting intelligence information as it’s passed …. that we can use for targeting. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes in the future.”

CYBER SOLUTION SOUGHT

While the Army has a wide variety of solutions to counter drones, the new capability focused on bringing precision cyber techniques to bear as a complement to those other C-UAS systems. A small group of software developers within the U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) and the Defense Digital Service custom-built software, developed a user-focused design and modified commercial off-the-shelf equipment to create pilot systems in early 2018.

Growing demand for a more robust and scalable solution generated a need for a rapid prototype. The Defense Digital Service completed the specialized software of the pilot system and transitioned development of a prototype to the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), which crafted an acquisition approach that integrated software and hardware. Working with Tobyhanna Army Depot and ARCYBER, RCCTO launched prototype production in November.

In less than three months, the integrated team sprinted and surged to deliver the new cyber C-UAS capability to the 3/1 CD. The new system is an interim solution that will continue to evolve as the Army applies direct Soldier feedback to improving design and performance. The integrated team is incorporating feedback from the unit’s rotation at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, which took place Jan. 7-25, as they develop a phase two prototype, to be delivered later this summer.

“This effort allowed the 3/1 CD to receive valuable C-UAS training ahead of their upcoming mission set,” said Jack Dillon, RCCTO’s cyber lead. “It also provided critical feedback that we are already feeding into the next version.”

A FAST-MOVING TEAM

Receiving a request to produce a never-used-before, cyber-enabled C-UAS on Aug. 22 and delivering it by Nov. 12 is not business as usual. However, ARCYBER, RCCTO and Tobyhanna, working in lockstep, were able to deliver.

“The RCCTO and Tobyhanna helped out with taking it from an advanced prototype and turning it into an engineering design model,” said 1st Lt. Aneesh Patel, with ARCYBER’s Cyber Solutions Development Detachment — Georgia, 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade. “We designed our own hardware and schematics, but what we didn’t have was the proper ability to scale, and I think that’s important in a bridging strategy and for any prototype.”

The ability to turn a concept into a small package of operational prototypes for use by a unit required a proper yet flexible acquisition strategy that would also set the foundation for increased production later. In turning a concept into an operational prototype, Tobyhanna had to put together a complete drawing package using items from the depot and create the prototype while keeping to strict quality standards.

“We must do everything per Army regulations,” said Joe Lynn, a project manager for Tobyhanna Army Depot, located in Pennsylvania. “So, once everyone came on-site and saw what we do here, and that we’re basically a one-stop shop from concept to combat, it brought a better understanding.”

The process also required constant communication. This came in the form of coordination on the ground during the NTC rotation with the unit’s electronic warfare Soldiers, and during biweekly technical and synchronization meetings involving Tobyhanna, ARCYBER, the Defense Digital Service and RCCTO. Tobyhanna also hosted multiple face-to-face meetings to expeditiously solve technical questions and challenges. On the project management end, RCCTO worked in parallel to address typical program, legal and budget reviews. Of particular note, in addition to constructing the prototype from an engineering concept, the RCCTO, ARCYBER and Tobyhanna put in place a training plan for the 3/1 CD.

SOLDIER INPUT, ON THE GROUND

This rapid approach unfolded on the ground at NTC, as Soldier input went directly to engineers on-site so that they could make changes quickly, sometimes within hours.

“Having that agility really made it possible to have mission success and also to get a lot of feedback to better the system,” Patel said. “Being a newer system and a new tool for a maneuver unit, there are going to be a lot of things we don’t know as [cyber] engineers, and a lot of their specific needs for the capability that may not have gotten through to us. So being out there was very important to this and any other project like it.”

For example, to enhance the overall training experience, RCCTO, Tobyhanna and ARCYBER were able to quickly design and deliver custom mounting systems consisting of cables, brackets and other hardware for vehicle and fixed-site implementation during the prototype deployment at NTC. This fixed-site configuration, part of the unit’s tactical operations center (TOC), was a new design put together days before the unit received it, and proved paramount to Soldiers’ effectiveness in using the system.

“We fielded a completely new configuration kit, the TOC kit,” said Capt. Adam Schinder, commander of the Expeditionary Cyber Support Detachment, 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion. “It was perhaps the most successful implementation of the C-UAS solution. As a result of being statically configured and continuously monitored and plugged in, the unit found the TOC kits extremely successful.”

During the 3/1 CD’s rotation, ARCYBER embedded five Soldiers with the NTC’s opposing force who had the ability to attack the unit with their own “enemy” drones, thus providing more realistic training.

“The system was able to give the supported unit situational awareness of drones that threatened the formation across a wide front,” Schinder said. “It alerted the unit to the presence of the drone, and then it provided automated force protection at the request of the operator. Simply put, we flew the drones, we deployed the devices and we successfully defeated the threat.”

CONCLUSION

This phase-one cyber precision drone detection system will be followed by an upgraded phase-two version slated for delivery to the U.S. Special Operations Command for an operational assessment this summer. Phase two will maximize the capability’s operational life span by incorporating multiple software updates to improve performance. Both efforts will begin to help inform the Army’s overall requirements for cyber-based C-UAS.

Already, RCCTO and ARCYBER are coordinating with partners in the C-UAS community to optimize investments and share technical cyber approaches. They are also advancing new versions that are software-based for easy portability into mounted and dismounted C-UAS platforms.

“Ultimately, the momentum gained through this partnership will increase cyber integration into equipping efforts within the multidomain operations paradigm,” Dillon said. “It’s a great example of the type of partnership that can produce meaningful operational prototypes while setting conditions for transition to programs of record.”

By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

This article is published in the Summer 2019 issue of Army AL&T magazine.

AeroVironment Acquires VTOL UAS Developer Pulse Aerospace, LLC for $25.7 Million to Strengthen Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

AeroVironment Acquires VTOL UAS Developer Pulse Aerospace, LLC for $25.7 Million to Strengthen Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

• Pulse’s complementary Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) product family strengthens AeroVironment’s leading family of fixed-wing small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)

• Acquisition expands total addressable market by increasing mission capabilities of AeroVironment family of systems

• Pulse Aerospace receives multi-year contract award with a maximum value of more than $13 million from undisclosed defense customer for Vapor VTOL unmanned systems, spares and services

• Acquisition expected to be accretive to AeroVironment earnings by the third full year of operations

 

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., June 11, 2019 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications, today announced it has acquired Pulse Aerospace, LLC, a developer and supplier of small VTOL UAS, for $25.7 million in cash, including milestone-based earn-out payments of $5 million.  AeroVironment financed the transaction entirely from available cash on hand.

 

Pulse Aerospace is a leading developer of small VTOL UAS technology in the United States. Pulse’s HeliSynth™ technology brings flight control, payload, and endurance capabilities to market at attractive price points for both defense and commercial end markets.  Pulse recently received a multi-year contract award with a maximum value of more than $13 million from an undisclosed defense customer for its Vapor unmanned VTOL systems, spares and services.

 

AeroVironment expects the transaction to be accretive to its earnings by the third full year of operations. 

 

“The talented Pulse Aerospace team has created a solution set that is unique and will expand our family of unmanned systems by addressing increasing demand from our customers for small VTOL solutions,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment’s president and chief executive officer. “This transaction brings together two highly complementary companies in terms of products, markets and culture, and will better position AeroVironment to grow our share of the small UAS market.  The team at Pulse Aerospace shares our focus on disruptive innovation and we welcome them to AeroVironment.  Together, we will deliver even more capability to our customers in the United States and more than 45 allied countries around the world.”

 

“We are excited to join together to realize the full benefits of this transaction as we employ key, future-defining technologies such as robotics, sensors, software analytics and connectivity.  Additionally, we look forward to gaining access to the strong technical talent pool in the Lawrence, Kansas area to help achieve our long-term growth objectives,” Nawabi added.

 

“AeroVironment’s global market presence dramatically increases the reach of Pulse’s VTOL UAS technology,” said Aaron Lessig, Pulse Aerospace, LLC’s chief executive officer. “Pulse’s offering expands AeroVironment’s mission capabilities with increased payload capacity, which broadens customer use cases. We look forward to growing AeroVironment’s share of the global unmanned systems market together.”

 

In connection with the transaction, Pulse Aerospace’s Lawrence, Kansas facility will become AeroVironment Innovation Center – Midwest, with a focus on small VTOL unmanned aircraft and mission planning solutions. 

 

DroneShield Announces First RfPatrol Body Worn Drone Detector Delivery

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has shipped the first order of RfPatrolTM, a body worn drone detector, to a Western military customer. The initial small quantity of the units will be used for an expedited evaluation by the customer, with a view for subsequent larger purchases and rollout of the product. This shipment comes only approximately a month after the Company announced the launch of RfPatrolTM.

Image: DroneShield’s RfPatrolTM product

DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik commented, “DroneShield continues to lead the counterdrone market globally with rapid development, rollout and first customer purchase of the RfPatrol product line. Key differentiators between DroneShield and its competition include products which are evaluated and actually deployed downrange (in the field), and our ability to provide a range of dismounted warfighter and fixed site/mobile detection and defeat products. This customer shipment continues to reinforce these differentiating features and our leadership in the space, as the counterdrone market continues to rapidly grow. We also continue to work on shortening the sales cycle, as demonstrated by this shipment only approximately a month after the launch of the product.”

Schiebel Wins Norway’s Tender For Unmanned Air System Deployment In The Arctic

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Vienna, 2 May 2019 – Norway’s Andøya Test Center selected Schiebel’s market- leading CAMCOPTER® S-100 Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air System (UAS) for extensive search and rescue trials as part of the Arctic 2030 project.

The CAMCOPTER® S-100 was selected for its exemplary international reputation and its successful record of accomplishments in the maritime domain with customers all around the world. In a typical configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 operates six hours continuously and is able to simultaneously carry multiple payloads, offering significant payload flexibility to the user. Therefore, the S-100’s missions deliver aerial views that reach considerably farther than manned helicopters.

The S-100 also offers a number of key advantages for naval operations in the Arctic. As a VTOL platform, the CAMCOPTER® does not require any additional start or recovery equipment and its minimal footprint is perfect for offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) with small deck sizes. The S-100 also distinguishes itself through its ability to perform in the harshest weather conditions, flying at temperatures down to -40°C. This has been successfully proven in a series of intensive trials, such as the Canadian icebreaker operations. In this particular case, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 was deployed 60 nautical miles north of Fogo Island, providing a wide-view image of the ice structure as well as identifying the boundaries between flat and rough ice.

The goal of the Andøy Municipality project is a demonstration of VTOL UAS use in the Arctic region in an effort to increase maritime safety. For this purpose, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 will be equipped with an Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) camera gimbal, an Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch payload, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver and a Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) by Radionor. Such a combination of payloads is intended to strengthen emergency preparedness in the region and provide search and rescue mission support.

Tests are scheduled to commence in the fall of 2019 with the UAS being deployed from Norwegian Coast Guard vessels in Andfjorden, Northern Norway. More operations are planned in Spitsbergen in the spring of 2020.

“This is clearly an important milestone in the project,” said Gunnar Jan Olsen, General Manager of the Andøya Test Center. “We have already gained some experience with the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS during an impressive demonstration in 2017. We believe that these current, more extensive S-100 trials will demonstrate that maritime safety in the Arctic can effectively be increased with the help of VTOL UAS.”

“The CAMCOPTER® S-100 has performed a series of challenging demonstration flights in the Arctic over the years and has proven its operational value and mission effectiveness,” added Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group.

www.schiebel.net

DroneShield – Release of RfPatrol, First Customer Order Placed

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the release of body-worn drone detection product, RfPatrolTM. Weighing under 1kg, the product is expected to be of significant interest to a range of DroneShield’s customer base globally, across military, law enforcement, security and VIP markets. Importantly, as RfPatrolTM is a completely passive (non-emitting) product, it substantially broadens the range of customers to whom the product is lawfully available. The product was developed in response to substantial customer interest.

 

Image: RfPatrolTM

DroneShield is also pleased to announce an immediate customer purchase order for a small quantity of RfPatrol units by the Department of Defence of a Western country. While the revenue from the order is not material, the order is  for evaluation towards a potential larger purchase order.

DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik commented, “We are excited to launch RfPatrol. Due to its miniaturised/body-worn nature, substantially larger customer universe due to its non-emitting nature, and a relatively lower price point compared to fixed site products, we expect it to have substantial appeal. In addition to being able to be used as a stand-alone, it is a perfect companion to our DroneGunTM product”.

Product summary is available here.

DroneShield Progresses Collaboration with Thales in Spain

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

On 11 December 2018, DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”), announced it had entered into a Teaming Agreement with Thales Programas De Electronica Y Comunicaciones S.A.U. (“Thales Spain”) (a Spanish subsidiary of Thales S.A.), whereby Thales would utilise and promote DroneShield’s products in its defence and security contract bids in Spain involving counterdrone aspects.

Image: DroneSentry

Thales Spain has now made its first purchase of DroneShield detection and mitigation products, with the primary purchase of integrating them into its broader family of defence products to market in Spain and globally to its customers. The payment for the products has been received. Integration process includes Thales’s Squire radar (deployed with numerous militaries globally, including mostly recently the Royal Netherlands Army) and its Gecko Optronics System, paired with DroneShield’s specialist drone-detection systems.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO commented, “We are excited about the continued progression of our partnership with Thales in Spain, and look forward completing the integration and marketing the combined solution to Thales Spain customers globally.”