SOF Week

Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

SOFWERX – Maritime Capable Tethered UAS Assessment Event

Friday, March 17th, 2023

SOFWERX, in collaboration with SOF Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) Program Executive Office Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR), will host an Assessment Event (AE) 15-19 May, 2023 to identify solutions for a small tethered Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) that can operate in both land and saltwater maritime environments for intelligence gathering, surveillance and communications. The system must have some built in capability for full motion video, but also enable the hosting of modular payloads to perform additional functions.

The tethered UAS should be capable of operating in a static or moving configuration while performing force protection and intelligence gathering functions. The tethered UAS should provide a basic full motion video capability, but also be adaptable to carry a variety of payloads. 

This assessment solicits white papers to describe off-the-shelf tethered UAS. The most promising candidates will be invited to demonstrate some performance attributes with vendor provided equipment and operators. The demonstration will occur at a remote site with representatives from USSOCOM. A stipend will be provided to defray the costs of travel and shipping to the demonstration site.

Interested parties must submit NLT 09 April 2023 11:59 PM ET.

Visit for more information.

Elistair Introduces ORION HL, A Tethered Drone Designed For Tactical Communications

Saturday, March 11th, 2023

Lyon, France / Wilmington, North Carolina, March 8th, 2023 – Elistair is pleased to announce the launch of Orion Heavy Lift (HL), to support growing demand for variable height antennas from military, public safety and homeland security customers.

As tactical communications evolve to match the rapidly changing needs of operators on the ground, tethered drones offer significant benefits when flexibility and mobility are critical. With the need of highly effective ground units to have increased mobility, tethered drones are enabling the establishment and extension of secured mobile networks, thanks to their rapid deployment time and persistence in the air.

Leveraging the original Orion platform used by military forces and security forces in over 30 countries for ISR missions, the Orion HL benefits from the same level of automation, ruggedization and safety architecture as its parent. Able to carry payloads of 4 kgs at 90 meters and 5 kgs at 50 meters height, for flight durations of 50 hours, Orion HL is deployable in minutes and easily transportable.

“We have put the Orion 2 tethered UAV system, provided by Elistairs’ Norwegian partner Northcom,  through several tests during the last years experiment to test its limits. During these tests, the system has proven to be a flexible and reliable solution capable of handling the challenging operational environment and conditions above the Arctic Circle in Norway. The introduction of the Heavy Lift version also provides us with a very useful tool for lifting communication equipment to create temporary communication coverage in challenging areas of operation.” Experiment Manager “Tor” from the Norwegian Army Combined Arms Battle Laboratory.

Along with Elistair’s new Payload Development Kit, partners can now seamlessly integrate their payloads and sensors to widen the capabilities of the platform for the end-users. A beta-testing program with selected partners allowed the successful integration of a CORDIS Array II from Radionor, a 5G relay and a SIGINT payload.

First deliveries are planned for end of May 2023.



GA-ASI Continues Longshot Support

Friday, March 10th, 2023

Selected by DARPA to Continue With Phase 2 of Program Development

SAN DIEGO – 06 March 2023 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is pleased to continue supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) LongShot program. LongShot changes the paradigm of air combat operations by demonstrating an unmanned air-launched vehicle capable of employing air-to-air weapons.

Current air superiority concepts rely on advanced manned fighter aircraft to provide a penetrating counter air capability to effectively deliver weapons. It is envisioned that LongShot will increase the survivability of manned platforms by allowing them to be at standoff ranges far away from enemy threats, while an air-launched LongShot unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) efficiently “closes the gap” to take more effective missile shots.

After a successful Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in February 2022 at the end of Phase 1, GA-ASI was selected by DARPA to continue into Phase 2 in March 2022. During Phase 2, detailed designs are being completed and ground tests conducted to decrease program risk.

A key test event completed early in Phase 2 was multi-body wind tunnel test, characterizing the LongShot air vehicle and air-to-air weapon separation. Critical Design Review (CDR) for the program is planned for early 2023, which will complete the Phase 2 portion of the program. GA-ASI is currently generating a proposal response for the third phase of the program.

“GA-ASI is committed to the successful flight demonstration of the LongShot air vehicle,” said GA-ASI Senior Director of Advanced Programs Michael Atwood.

Upcoming Phase 2 ground tests will demonstrate the viability of key subsystems. Phase 3 would initiate the prototype manufacturing and flight testing phase of the program. Flight testing would begin in 2024.

AFSOC Selects MQ-9B Skyguardian for UAS Family of Systems Concept

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

GA-ASI to Deliver Three Aircraft to First U.S. Customer


SAN DIEGO – 06 March 2023 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. is proud to announce a new contract with U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to provide three MQ-9B SkyGuardian® remotely piloted aircraft systems to its first U.S. customer.

AFSOC’s acquisition of MQ-9B builds on more than 20 years as a GA-ASI partner and more than 14 years flying the MQ-9A Reaper, operating more than 40 aircraft in harsh environments around the world.

MQ-9B will feature a key role in developing AFSOC’s new Adaptive Airborne Enterprise (A2E) concept, which envisions AFSOC projecting air power for special operations forces from beyond the horizon, using a family of large UAS and expendable, small UAS from permissive to denied environments.

“We’re very excited to continue our great partnership with AFSOC well into the future,” said David R. Alexander, president of GA-ASI. “MQ-9B is the ideal platform for inserting air-launched effects into potentially hostile environments. The MQ-9B’s combination of range, endurance, reduced manpower footprint, and overall flexibility will make it a true centerpiece of AFSOC’s future family of advanced UAS systems.”

MQ-9B represents the next generation of UAS, having demonstrated airborne endurance of more than 40 hours in certain configurations, automatic takeoffs and landings under SATCOM-only control, as well as a GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid System, among other upgrades. Its development is the result of a company-funded effort to deliver a UAS that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various global military and civil authorities.

MQ-9B has garnered significant interest from customers throughout the world. After the UK Ministry of Defence selected MQ-9B SkyGuardian for its upcoming Protector program, the Belgian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for SkyGuardian. The Japan Coast Guard is currently operating MQ-9B in the SeaGuardian® configuration, which the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) also recently selected for its Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) RPAS Trial Operation Project beginning in April.

GA-ASI Announces Reimagined Blue Magic Belgium for 2023

Saturday, March 4th, 2023

Bigger, Better Industry Innovation and Funding Conference on May 10Includes Lockheed Martin Ventures and A6K

SAN DIEGO – 02 March 2023 – On May 10, 2023, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) will host the latest iteration of its “Blue Magic Belgium” event. This year’s event, which will be held in Charleroi, Belgium, near Brussels, will again bring together Belgian businesses and aerospace industry leaders. But this year’s event will grow to include more companies and a broader base of technologies that will vie for capital investment. Joining GA-ASI this year will be Lockheed Martin Ventures and Belgium-based technology facilitator A6K.

“We want to build on our successful Blue Magic concept to foster a collaborative environment for technology ideation and add even greater value to our suite of products and to advance our thrust towards information dominance,” said Brad Lunn, Managing Director-Strategic Finance at GA-ASI. “For this year’s event, we will broaden our concept by bringing in additional partners and ideation space. We will hear technology pitches, a lively panel discussion and host a networking event where participants can meet with other high-tech businesses and leaders to see if their capabilities can be leveraged in new and useful ways.”

Areas of focus for Blue Magic Belgium 2023 will be Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Autonomy, Advanced Materials, Sensors, Advanced Manufacturing and Space.

GA-ASI held its first Blue Magic Belgium event in 2019, with subsequent events held in 2020 and 2021. Since the inception of BMB, GA-ASI has commenced work with a broad range of Belgian businesses, including AeroSimulators Group; Airobot; ALX Systems; Coexpair; DronePort; Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division; ScioTeq; SABCA; Thales Belgium; and ST Engineering. In 2020, the Belgian Ministry of Defense announced that it will acquire GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian® Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

Businesses interested in participating in the BMB 2023 event should visit for additional information and event registration. Deadline to submit pitch applications is March 27, 2023.

GA-ASI Establishes New Collaboration Agreement with Leidos in Australia

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Represents a Continuation of Business Relationship With Cobham Australia

SAN DIEGO – 01 March 2023 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and Leidos have agreed to continue the successful business relationship previously held between GA-ASI and Cobham Australia. With Leidos’ acquisition of the Cobham Special Mission business in October 2022, Leidos has now assumed the role of GA-ASI’s primary Australian industry collaborator for defence and security business.

The arrangement will support discussions relating to a Defence Armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, and the Australian Border Force future crewed/uncrewed aircraft system under the Civil Maritime Capability Program.

Discussions are also underway between Leidos and GA-ASI for cooperation on further defence projects in Australia and opportunities in the U.S.

“GA-ASI is delighted to establish a collaboration agreement with Leidos that continues the successful business relationship previously held with Cobham since 2006,” said Ken Loving, GA-ASI regional vice president for Indo-Pacific. “The broader and deeper capabilities that Leidos brings to the relationship, including its impressive capability within Australia, combined with GA-ASI’s substantial global experience in remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft systems, will provide an impressive capability for Australia’s future defence and security needs.”

Leidos Australia Chief Executive Paul Chase said, “We are delighted to continue and build upon the terrific partnership that Cobham Special Mission has developed with GA-ASI over the past 17 years. When we acquired Special Mission last year, we recognised the huge potential for both advancing current capabilities and services and pursuing new opportunities in Australia and globally. General Atomics has excellent technology and by collaborating with them, our complementary capabilities and experience will combine to provide world-class solutions for current and future customers.”

U.S. Army Selects AeroVironment JUMP 20 Medium Unmanned Aircraft System to Enter Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) Program Increment 2

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

• AeroVironment is the only company to secure an award for all FTUAS program increments, including FTUAS Increments 0,1 and now 2

• Increment 2 is the final phase of the U.S. Army’s FTUAS program competition to select a replacement for the RQ-7B Shadow UAS

The JUMP 20 is shown conducting flight tests and maneuvers on February 25-26, 2021, at Fort Benning, Georgia during the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) Rodeo. (Photo: Courtesy asset of the U.S. Department of Defense attributed to Mr. Luke J. Allen). The appearance of U.S. DoD visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

ARLINGTON, Va., March 1, 2023 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems, today announced it was selected by the United States Army on Feb. 28, 2023, to move forward in the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) program.

AeroVironment’s JUMP 20 will compete with several other vendors in the FTUAS Increment 2 multi-phased effort which will allow the Army to select the best system for its needs. Ultimately, FTUAS Increment 2 aircraft will be fielded to Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) throughout the Army, replacing the long-serving RQ-7B Shadow UAS.

During the early stages of what would become the U.S. Army’s FTUAS program, AeroVironment’s JUMP 20 demonstrated superior competitive performance and was awarded the FTUAS Increment 1 contract to develop a prototype system to field to one Brigade Combat Team (BCT). Its success throughout the demonstrations led to AeroVironment’s contract award for FTUAS Increment 0, in which the U.S. Army fielded the JUMP 20 into an additional Army BCT within the United States Army Europe. AeroVironment is the only company awarded the FTUAS contract for all three program increments.

“The AeroVironment JUMP 20 is the most mature and capable solution in its class,” said Gorik Hossepian, AeroVironment’s vice president and product line general manager for medium unmanned aircraft systems. “We will continue to work closely with the U.S. Army to ensure we meet their performance needs both today for an all-environment aircraft system and in the future as requirements evolve to meet changing battlefield demands.” 

DroneOptID Firmware Update for Enhanced Drone Detection, ID and Tracking

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

DroneShield is pleased to announce the release of the latest update for its DroneOptID platform.

DroneOptID is a computer vision-based system used to control various thermal and optical sensors, detect, classify and track small drones or UAV targets.

Customers enrolled in DroneShield’s DroneSentry-C2 with DroneOptID software subscription, receive quarterly updates to the proprietary DroneOptID classification engine. DroneOptID is a camera agnostic software solution and DroneShield offers multiple camera options along with it to support various customer use cases, performance and budget requirements.

Major upgrades include:

• Improved Scan Pattern Performance: Major performance improvement to the optical scan pattern algorithm for faster target acquisition from radar and RF detections.

• Improved Object Size Estimation: Significant improvement to the passive optical object size estimation, enabling dynamic optical distance estimation adjustments when distance was previously acquired by other sensors.

• Deep DroneOpt2 Integration: Full featured integration of the DroneOpt2 model supporting both thermal and optical feeds with DroneOptID classification.

• AI Model Optimisation: Detection model optimisation for faster acquisition and improved high-speed target optical tracking.

• Integration for Sensor Fusion Applications: DroneOptID provides data stream designed to integrate with Sensor Fusion based systems such as DroneSentry-C2.

• Reduced Optical False Detections: Expansion of the DroneOptID data sets, reducing false detection probability.

DroneShield DroneSentry-C2 Command-and-Control System with DroneOptID module

Angus Bean, DroneShield Chief Technology Officer, commented, “As the counterdrone industry matures and our end user community begin taking back control of their low altitude airspace, the use of electronic countermeasures becomes a vital part of the response action. Our partners often require visual confirmation of target prior to the use of such countermeasures. This DroneOptID quarterly firmware release expands the reliability, accuracy, and functionality of a critical piece of technology.”