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Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

MWW 22 – BLADE 55

Monday, November 14th, 2022

The Ballistic Loitering Attack DronE (BLADE) 55 is a portable Group 2 VTOL sUAS. It can provide ISR via NextVision DragonEye 2 EO/IR camera, last mile Resupply up to 20 lbs, and Precision Strike via two M72 LAWs.

The weapon system is currently at TRL 7 and was developed by Alare Tech vi an AFRL Phase 2 SBIR.

DroneShield Releases 7th Edition of C-UAS Factbook

Friday, November 11th, 2022

DroneShield is pleased to release the 7th Edition of the C-UAS Factbook. The Factbook provides information on key trends in the C-UAS market, the emerging UAS threat, C-UAS Solutions, and much more.

The C-UAS Factbook can be viewed here.

MWW 22 – CACI Mono Backpackable Electronic Attack Module 3.0

Thursday, November 10th, 2022

Mono Backpackable Electronic Attack Module 3.0 from CACI is capable of detecting, identifying (via library), locating (including direction finding) and defeating (through various RF means) most small Unmanned Aerial Systems. The frequency range is 30 MHz to 6 GHz.

Not only does it look for UAS but also associated signals such as cellular comms, range extenders, BlueTooth, PTT comms, WiFi, Mode-S/ADS-B and digital as well as analog video.

The system can be used independently or networked with other BEAMs in a self-forming network, with a single operator to increase range.

BEAM integrates with TAK and has been integrated with other C-UAS systems.

German Armed Forces Conduct First Operational Tests of High-Energy Laser Weapon Against Drones

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

It was a big step in the direction of fully operational laser weapons. For the time ever, the German Armed Forces fired a shipboard laser weapon. On August 30th 2022, the German frigate Sachsen successfully engaged drones at short and very short range in the Baltic Sea near Putlos Major Training Area. The laser weapon demonstrator was developed by the High-Energy Laser Naval Demonstrator working committee (“ARGE”), consisting of MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH.

Future high-energy laser (HEL) weapon systems for the Navy will be especially useful in defending against drones and drone swarms as well as engaging attacking speed boats at close and very close range. But the system can also be designed for greater output, enabling it to destroy guided missiles and mortar rounds.

The joint integration and test phase of the naval demonstrator started in November 2021, which the ARGE integration team concluded with a successful factory acceptance test at Rheinmetall’s Unterlüß proving ground. The demonstrator was then installed onboard the frigate Sachsen in Kiel. In July 2022 the first test campaign took place in Eckernförde Bay near the Bundeswehr’s Technical Centre for Ships and Naval Weapons, Marine Technology and Research, WTD 71, in Surendorf. During the trials, the capabilities of various sensors, including the electro-optical sensor suite from the ARGE and the radar, were verified. In addition, the interplay between all the components and procedures in the entire operational sequence from target acquisition to engagement was put to the test. The trials included multiple highly realistic engagement scenarios. The test planning and the provision of various types of targets on land, at sea or from the air were carried out and organised by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The test management was carried out by WTD 71.

Daniel Gruber, naval demonstrator project manager at MBDA Deutschland, and Dr. Markus Jung, in charge of laser weapon development at Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH, were on hand to observe the test campaign with the frigate. Looking back on the integration and test phase, they drew a positive conclusion.

For everyone involved, the historic live fire test from a German Navy warship was a special moment. The team succeeded in proving the demonstrator’s capabilities in full. “Solid teamwork between the two ARGE partners played a key role in helping us integrate a fully functional, high-performance demonstrator onboard the frigate”, reports Gruber. “Close cooperation with the command team of the Sachsen enabled direct communication with the future user. This way, ideas from the Navy could be directly incorporated or implemented during subsequent development.”

Dr Thomas Baumgärtel, project manager for the naval demonstrator at Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, was also satisfied with the outcome: “The principal components of the demonstrator are truly high tech. This is the result of long years of research at both the participating companies. Many of the demonstrator’s system components were developed specially for the project and combined in this form for the first time. Moreover, given the extremely short integration phase for a system of this complexity, we’re very proud of the results achieved thus far and of how well the trials went. The impressive performance of the HEL effectors in protecting surface combatants from short- and very-short range threats can be credited to the joint efforts of everyone involved in the project – defence industry experts, government officials, and of course the men and women of the frigate Sachsen.”

Both Doris Laarmann, head of laser activities at MBDA Deutschland, and Alexander Graf, in charge of programme management for laser weapons at Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, emphasized how the current trials have now set the basic stage for introducing laser weapon systems and capabilities into the Bundeswehr – capabilities whose relevance is by no means restricted to the Navy. The defence industry is pressing ahead with laser systems that will help to protect troops deployed in harm’s way in multiple applications.

Testing of the high-energy laser weapon will continue until mid-2023. In subsequent test campaigns, new scenarios will challenge the demonstrator’s capabilities. Not least, the results will determine what still needs to be done on the path to a fully functional, operational laser weapon.

Effector-related tasks in the ARGE are basically evenly divided. MBDA Deutschland is taking care of target detection and target tracking, the operator console and linking the laser weapon demonstrator to the command-and-control system. Rheinmetall is responsible for the slewing system, the beam guidance, the demonstrator container as well as mechanical and electrical integration of the demonstrator onto the deck of the Sachsen, and finally for the high-energy laser source, including its periphery.

Sikorsky and DARPA’s Autonomous Black Hawk Flies Logistics and Rescue Missions Without Pilots on Board

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Uninhabited Black Hawk® helicopter lifts external cargo and
completes casualty evacuation and medical resupply missions


Sikorsky demonstrates to the U.S. Army for the first time how an optionally piloted
Black Hawk helicopter flying in autonomous mode could resupply forward forces. These uninhabited Black Hawk flights occurred in October at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz., Nov. 2, 2022 – Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Army for the first time how an uninhabited Black Hawk helicopter flying autonomously can safely and reliably perform internal and external cargo resupply missions, and a rescue operation.

Performed Oct. 12, 14 and 18 as part of the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2022 (PC22) experiment, the flights show how existing and future piloted utility helicopters could one day fly complex missions in reduced crew or autonomous mode. This would give Army commanders and aviators greater flexibility in how and when aircraft and pilots are used, especially in limited visibility or contested environments.

Why It Matters

Sikorsky is partnered with DARPA to develop autonomy technology that will exponentially improve the flight safety and efficiency of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. Sikorsky’s autonomy system, known as MATRIX™ technology, forms the core of DARPA’s ALIAS (Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System) project.

“We believe MATRIX technology is ready now for transition to the Army as they look to modernize the enduring helicopter fleet, and acquire Future Vertical Lift aircraft,” said Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations. “In addition to increasing flight safety and reliability, MATRIX technology enables survivability in high tempo, high threat 21st Century Security environments where Black Hawk helicopters operate today, and DEFIANT X® and RAIDER X® helicopters could operate in the future. Uncrewed or reduced crewed helicopters could safely perform critical and lifesaving missions day or night in complex terrain and in contested battlespace.”

The Yuma Details

During PC22 Technology Gateway, the Sikorsky and DARPA team showed how the optionally piloted Black Hawk helicopter with no humans on board can deliver a large quantity of blood product unharmed by flying low and fast above ground level using the terrain to mask its signature; resupply troops with an external load; and re-route mid-flight to evacuate a casualty.

To begin the flight demonstrations, pilots flew and landed the Black Hawk aircraft, then activated the MATRIX system to give full control to the flight computer. When the pilots exited, the helicopter autonomously completed the following mission demonstrations: 

• Long-endurance Medical Resupply: The Black Hawk aircraft flew 83 miles while loaded with 400 units of real and simulated blood – totaling 500 pounds. On reaching 40 miles from its initial take-off point, the helicopter descended into a valley as low as 200 feet above ground level at 100 knots.

• Cargo Delivery and Casualty Evacuation (combined mission): The helicopter lifted off with a 2,600-pound external load attached to a 40-foot sling, and flew at 100 knots for 30 minutes toward a designated landing zone. While in flight, the helicopter was redirected, simulating a scenario in which a threat needed to be neutralized near the primary landing site. Sikorsky demonstrated how a ground operator with a secure radio and tablet can take control of the uncrewed helicopter, command it to release its sling load, and then land to evacuate a casualty from a nearby location. Once the manikin on a litter was secured inside the cabin, the ground operator launched the aircraft. During the return flight, a BATDOK health monitoring device integrated with the helicopter’s communications system relayed the patient’s vitals in real-time to a ground-based medical team.

What’s Next

The PC22 demonstrations were the second set of uninhabited Black Hawk flights this year. Sikorsky and DARPA will continue to work toward the transition of this technology for military operations, such as aircrew support and operations, logistics and medical resupply, casualty evacuation, and commercial applications such as firefighting, cargo and urban air mobility.

GA-ASI to Deliver MQ-9A Reapers to Poland

Monday, October 31st, 2022

World-Leading RPA Capabilities Will Fortify Poland’s National Defense and Security

SAN DIEGO – 31 October 2022 – As part of a lease agreement, Poland will take delivery of MQ-9A Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). The new agreement between GA-ASI and the Polish Ministry of Defence has a net value of $70.6 million.

“GA-ASI’s support for Poland and the NATO alliance is steadfast as they confront the ongoing war in the region,” said GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue. “We look forward to delivering our proven MQ-9A platform system to Poland to enhance the nation’s ability to conduct persistent airborne ISR and support its Defense Forces.”  

MQ-9A Reapers are operated by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. GA-ASI’s newer MQ-9B variant has been acquired by the UK and Belgium. The MQ-9B maritime surveillance configuration (SeaGuardian®) recently began operations in support of the Japan Coast Guard.

MQ-9A Reaper has endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS and can operate up to 50,000 feet. It has a 3,850-pound (1,746-kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.

SKY HERO and AARDVARK Announce World’s First NDAA Compliant Interior sUAS Platform

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

La Verne, CA: AARDVARK and Sky-Hero are pleased to announce the release of the world’s first National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) compliant interior use tactical sUAS, LOKI Mk2US. The Mk2US is built to comply with the rigorous standards set forth in the NDAA and the recent Department of Defense black-listing of certain Chinese-made drone parts and technologies.

In response, Sky-Hero, the world’s leading manufacturer of interior tactical robotics, redesigned and resourced the LOKI Mk2 to eliminate all of the covered Chinese components and replace them with European or American items.

Speaking about this new drone, Yves Coppye, CEO of Sky-Hero, stated:

“We have been asked by many of our top users around the world to ensure that all major components are built by NATO countries. After two years of work we are pleased to announce that we have reengineered and redesigned these components and located American or European sources for them.”

Jon Becker, AARDVARK’s CEO, echoed this by stating:

“We are extremely excited to see Sky-Hero release an NDAA-compliant version of LOKI. While there are a number of products on the market that claim to be American, in reality, the large majority of drones are simply built with Chinese-made parts and at best assembled in the US. LOKI Mk2US has always been made by NATO allies and now every NDAA covered component will be too.”

The LOKI Mk2US will begin shipping in Q1 of 2023. LOKI Mk2 is sold exclusively in North America by AARDVARK. Visit LOKI.AARDVARKTactical.com to learn more.

DroneShield Recommended by U.S. DoD’s Joint Counter-small UAS Office (JCO)

Friday, October 21st, 2022

DroneShield is pleased to announce it has been recommended by the U.S. DoD’s Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) as part of the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) joint solution for Counter-UAS as a Service (CaaS).

The JCO formalized its recommendation of three approved solutions after thorough evaluation at Yuma Proving Ground earlier this year. The SAIC team, “developed and demonstrated a robust SoS (System of Systems) architecture, with layered sensors and effectors to cover long range to mobile to last-line-of defense,” the JCO recommendation stated.

The multi-layered and comprehensive solution presented by the SAIC team leveraged several of DroneShield’s dismounted, mobile, and fixed-site detection sensors and electronic countermeasures.

Matt McCrann, DroneShield US CEO, commented, “We are pleased to complement the overall SAIC solution with key components for both extended-range detection and defeat. We look forward to supporting this partnership and further expansion of critical Counter-UAS capabilities across the services.”

SAIC is a Fortune 500 technology integrator, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, with annual revenues of approximately $12 billion. SAIC supports the defense, space, civilian and intelligence markets with mission critical solutions.

The JCO was established in 2019, as the US DoD’s Executive Agent office for all C-UAS activities. This recommendation follows the recent $1.8 million DroneGun MKIII acquisition by the U.S. DoD in September 2022.


Image: DroneShield DroneSentry system including RfOne detection sensors and DroneCannon defeat devices