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Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

GA-ASI and USMC Complete MQ-9A WTI Training with SkyTower I Pod

Friday, May 17th, 2024

SAN DIEGO – 16 May 2024 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) teamed up to conduct flight training on the operation of the MQ-9A Block 5 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) at Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. The students participated in Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course 2-24, which is a comprehensive course designed for select pilots and enlisted aircrew that incorporates Marine Corps planning along with implementation of advanced air and ground tactics.

The seven-week course, which was completed on April 20, 2024, for the first time included the employment of GA-ASI’s SkyTower I pod, which is a USMC-specific payload for MQ-9A that provides airborne communication extension capabilities in various waveforms. SkyTower I provides an Airborne Network Extension to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) that is a commercial-quality WiFi network, as well as a relay/repeater function connecting geographically disconnected teams.

“Congratulations to the newest graduates of WTI,” said GA-ASI Vice President of DoD Strategic Development Patrick Shortsleeve. “GA-ASI is proud to support the training of the MAWTS-1 aircrews in the use and utility of the MQ-9A platform, especially now with our SkyTower capabilities.”

The WTI course is renowned for its advanced graduate-level training, particularly in refining tactical skills and strategies for aviation operations. It is an integral part of developing and implementing cutting-edge aviation weapons and tactics, both in terrestrial and maritime settings.

In recent training scenarios, the Marines had the opportunity to hone their skills using a GA-ASI-supplied MQ-9A. The platform provides valuable hands-on experience in operating advanced UAS, enhancing their proficiency in utilizing MQ-9A effectively for various missions.

Graduates of the WTI program are poised to become go-to experts within their squadrons for the employment of MQ-9A Block 5, leveraging their comprehensive training and specialized knowledge. The program ensures that graduates are well-prepared to lead and execute missions utilizing this sophisticated platform with precision and efficiency.

This training is a critical part of the MAGTF Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) program meeting Full Operational Capability (FOC). GA-ASI is a committed partner in helping the USMC meet this critical program milestone.

GA-ASI has delivered 13 MQ-9A UAS to the USMC so far. The USMC awaits delivery of seven additional aircraft, which will fulfill their goal of three squadrons by 2025.

SOFWERX – Long Endurance/High Altitude Maritime & Land UAS Assessment Event

Thursday, May 16th, 2024

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM SOF AT&L Program Executive Office Tactical Information Systems (PEO-TIS), will host an Assessment Event 15-18 July 2024 to identify production model solutions for long endurance unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that are capable of takeoff, operation, and landing in both confined space maritime and land environments. 

The technology desired by USSOCOM is intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) UAS.

PEO-TIS is seeking information on a specific technology area to gain knowledge of, explore, and identify available capabilities for potential inclusion in the Long Endurance Maritime/Land UAS AE. Technology desired by USSOCOM is intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) UAS that operate in confined space maritime and dense urban environments. The proposed solutions should currently support mission autonomy, autonomous multi-vehicle cooperation, and automated transit to/from the target and over-the-horizon capabilities, or the solutions provider should be able to rapidly develop these capabilities. UAS air vehicles should be capable of 8-hours of endurance with a 20 lb. total payload (weight includes baseline FMV payload) spread across multiple locations on the air vehicle and be able to launch/recover with sustained relative winds up to 20 knots. UAS should possess the ability to control multiple air vehicles, shifting the human’s role from operator toward mission manager, and navigation capabilities that can operate in environments where GPS signals are spoofed, jammed, or otherwise unavailable. The system must include electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) full motion video (FMV) capabilities for day and night operations and be able to support future integration of USSOCOM Modular Payload interface for additional payloads. The imagery sensor may be a single or multi-imager (e.g., day only, night only, or day/night combined). The air vehicle should operate on a variety of energy sources that can be produced or recharged in an austere environment and are approved for use on Naval surface ships. DoD/NATO standard Heavy Fuel JP5, JP8, other energy sources such as batteries and fuel cells are promising and may be used if approved for naval surface ships. 

Submit NLT 13 June 2024 11:59 PM ET

Details here.

U.S. Citizens Only, ITAR Restricted

2Q24 DroneSentry-C2 Next-Gen v10.0 Release

Monday, May 13th, 2024

DroneShield Limited (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce the roll-out of one of the largest updates yet to the DroneSentry-C2 platform, bringing a completely revamped User Interface, smarter AI, and extending detection capabilities to the C-UAS Command-and-Control software industry.

This Version 10.0 release of DroneSentry-C2 marks a turning point in the industry-leading software. The program has been re-written from the ground up, resulting in a faster and smoother experience. The redesign is even easier to use, and provides a framework for significant upcoming features.

Major upgrades include:

Streamlined User Interface: Most noticeable to any existing user will be the modernised look and feel of the DroneSentry-C2 interface. Stripped-back menus allow for faster navigation and clearer access to settings. Operators can now modify key setting without ever needing to navigate away from the monitoring dashboard. Load times moving between sites and analytics have been significantly reduced.

Mission Set Optimisation: The updated user interface has been optimised for both desktop and tablet experiences. Enabling far better use in ‘On-The-Move’ applications such as for vehicles and dismounted missions.

ThreatAI Launched: ThreatAI is an integrated threat analysis system for detected objects in DroneSentry-C2, which intelligently provides a responsive threat rating based on data from all sensors and user input. This new information is utilised by other sub-systems across the platform to better inform command decisions.

Improvements to existing AI: SensorFusionAI and DroneOptID continue to grow in their performance when identifying and classifying detected drones. This update sees improvements to both accuracy and breadth of these AI models.

Full integration of OTM sensors: DroneSentry-X Mk2 is now completely integrated into DroneSentry-C2 and SensorFusionAI, allowing for integrated control of disruption features, and smarter detections in the field.

Usability and Accessibility: A stronger focus on data visualisation makes complex information easier to understand and review quickly. Localisation into Spanish and Polish brings DroneSentry-C2 to more regions that need it.

Planning tool: This feature has been split out into a separate application to help new and existing clients plan out their Counter-UAS installations, and review the suitability of different systems.

Version 10.0 of the DroneSentry-C2 system is available from today, being deployed to existing DroneShield systems this week. It is available with both DroneShield and third party hardware sensors, and is provided on a subscription basis, either via secure cloud or on-premises server.

DroneShield CTO Angus Bean commented, “The release this quarter allows us to bring the DroneSentry-C2 platform to many more users. In a growing market it allows us to better scale and maintain our Software-as-a-Service, and simplifying the front-end opens opportunities with clients who were previously beyond our reach.”

GA-ASI and Shift5 Partner to Embed Observability Into MQ-9A Reaper

Thursday, May 9th, 2024

Modernization of Reaper through Onboard Data Access and Analysis Increases Cybersecurity, Readiness, and Survivability

SAN DIEGO/ROSSLYN – 08 May 2024 – Today, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced its partnership with Shift5 to integrate the company’s onboard cyber anomaly detection and predictive maintenance capabilities into the MQ-9A Reaper for the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The GA-ASI and Shift5 partnership will assure AFSOC and SOCOM mission readiness and cyber survivability.

“GA-ASI has long maintained a focused commitment to unmanned combat operations and unmatched unmanned aircraft system (UAS) experience, exemplified through our MQ-9A Reaper,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “The next logical and immediate extension of our work in enabling the U.S. Air Force is empowering AFSOC and SOCOM with additional resiliency and survivability of the MQ-9A on the battlefield. Shift5 represents a new class of dual-use defense tech business that can successfully operate at speed and scale with us to make an immediate impact for the warfighter.”

The Shift5 Platform reveals critical operational and cybersecurity insights that enable operators to move from data to decisions quickly and confidently. The Shift5 Platform deploys on premises or in the cloud and supports streaming and air-gapped modes for offline and online capability.

“The battlefield of the future will include more remotely piloted, autonomous, and unmanned systems. Central to maintaining advantage in this operating environment is access to real-time data,” said Josh Lospinoso, CEO and co-founder of Shift5. “Our work with GA-ASI represents one of the most efficient and effective ways that AFSOC and SOCOM can gain access to critical operational and cybersecurity insights, democratize that data, and maintain decision dominance.”

Shift5 achieved its first cross-platform Authority to Operate (ATO) Certification from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in April 2023, validating the resilience and security of the Shift5 Platform. Most recently, the company announcedits contract with the U.S. Army to secure the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) against cyber threats and provide readiness assessments to enable predictive maintenance. It also introduced the GPS Integrity Module, the first known cross-platform solution to automate detection and alerts to combat GPS spoofing risks.

Overwatch Group Launches Unique Drone Technology to the US Market at SOF 2024

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

Overwatch Group, a UK-based end-to-end design and manufacture company specialising in advanced unmanned system and munitions technologies, are launching their unique drone technology into the US market at SOF 2024. At the event, they are showcasing their latest development to potential customers privately. Interested parties can request a meeting via the Overwatch website.

Overwatch is a defence company that manufactures a pioneering coaxial drone and associated payload technology. Their payload agnostic, low weight, high effect drone weapon systems are man-portable providing protection through precision strike, thereby enabling operators to respond at pace to ever-evolving tactical requirements in the battlespace.

Since 2022, the company has delivered around 800 of their unmanned aerial precision strike systems in support of the UK’s contribution to global defence and security. Earlier this year, Overwatch also participated in the US-hosted major army warfighting experiment in California; as part of Project Convergence Capstone 4 (PC-C4). The exercise, with over 600 British Army troops along with thousands from six other nations, was undertaken to bring multinational forces together to establish how to combine situational awareness and command and control.

As part of PC-C4, Overwatch contributed to an integrated reconnaissance and precision strike demonstration at White Sands missile range. This will help commanders make the right decisions and deliver the best effects to win on future battlefields. Overwatch provided the precision strike capability through its loitering munitions which were integrated with higher altitude ISR assets and into the wider C2 system.

All Overwatch design and manufacture is undertaken in-house and provides a full turnkey capability on behalf of the nations it supports. For 2024, Overwatch are focusing heavily on bringing its next-generation coaxial drone systems to global markets, and their solutions are particularly relevant to US military requirements. Producing drones that are agnostic of payload, Overwatch has also been able to develop an array of energetic and non-energetic payloads that provide a wide range of CONOPS; from precision strike to operational support from a common platform.

Drew Michael, CEO at Overwatch Group said, “We are extremely proud of our veteran ethos of ‘designed by soldiers for soldiers’. Our systems are built with the soldier in mind, to minimise the training burden, and maximise operational flexibility with our approach that enables specific-to-task drone and payload configurations. As our R&D of cutting-edge drone and payload technologies continues to gather pace in line with our growth strategy, we are now well placed to extend our precision strike capabilities to wider markets. We are delighted that US SOF 2024 provides us with this opportunity and we look forward to meeting people at the event”.

GA-ASI Adding AESA Antenna to EagleEye Radar

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

New Antenna Will Double Range and Enable Additional Radar Enhancements

SAN DIEGO – 24 April 2024 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is continuing its support of EagleEye multi-mode radar development with a company investment to add an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna and associated software that will increase range and deliver significant mode enhancements. AESA will be a “drop-in” hardware upgrade to the existing EagleEye radar and could be an option for the new Gray Eagle 25M (GE 25M) aircraft assembly when ready.

“We expect the AESA antenna to more than double the range for EagleEye,” said Jeff Hettick, GA-ASI vice president of Agile Mission Systems. “The increased range and optimized multi-mode performance of the radar are perfectly tailored to provide deep sensing capability in Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). That will allow the aircraft to operate well outside Weapons Effects Zone of most threat systems adding a layer of survivability supporting the Stand-Off survivability with Stand-In effects of long-range sensors. This is a key component of the Gray Eagle 25M Unmanned Aircraft System being developed for the U.S. Army.”

AESA antennas replace the mechanically steered dish antennas of earlier-generation radars with a solid-state, all-electronic emitter. In addition to enhancing the radar’s performance, by replacing the motor and other components that physically move the radar dish, AESA greatly improves repairability and reliability.

As part of the EagleEye development, GA-ASI will improve target detection range using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML). GA-ASI expects to have a working lab prototype of the new AESA component by the end of this year, with plans to conduct flight tests in 2025 and operational demonstrations on GE 25M after that.

EagleEye is a multi-mode radar that builds on years of pioneering expertise by GA-ASI. Using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Eagle Eye enables operators to look in detail through clouds, smoke, dust, haze, or other conditions that might obscure a purely visual sensor. And for the first time on the Gray Eagle platform, EagleEye delivers radar-based Full Motion Video (FMV) called “Video SAR,” which enables live visual tracking of moving targets via the radar system.

The EagleEye radar performs Moving Target Indication (MTI), detects changes, builds strip maps, and yields other precise insights to analysts, commanders, and operators. With its Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS) mode, EagleEye also provides a dedicated maritime MTI mode for tracking and targeting vessels and further supports the MDO mission set of the U.S. Army, particularly in support of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) mission, but also in Europe, Africa and the Middle East where there is an increased need for maritime reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, which is critical to achieve information dominance and overmatch.

MDM: SMARTSHOOTER to Present Its SMASH Family of Fire Control Systems and Demonstrate Its Effectiveness in Air Defense

Monday, April 29th, 2024

In collaboration with DRS RADA and HDT Global, the companies will present an end-to-end remotely controlled solution for air defense which includes theMHR radar for tracking the threat and the SMASH Hopper for precisely eliminating it

Modern Day Marine, Booth 533

[April 24, 2024]: SMARTSHOOTER, a world-class designer, developer, and manufacturer of innovative fire control systems that significantly increase the accuracy andlethality of individual and crew-served weapons, will participate at the Modern-Day Marine event and showcase its SMASH 2000L, already under review by the Marine Corps, and the SMASH Hopper Light Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (LRCWS) integrated with the DRS RADA Technologies RPS-42 radar and mounted on HDT’s Hunter WOLF.

This innovative solution offers an end-to-end air defense solution for countering drones and shortening the sensor-to-shooter cycle. The RPS-42 radar’s long-range detection and tracking capabilities allow the SMASH Hopper LRCWS to engage targets at a safe standoff distance. At the same time, the SMASH Hopper’s high hit probability promises precise, swift, safe, and simple hard-kill elimination of the threat. Mounted on HDT Global’s Hunter WOLF, a highly maneuverable hybrid electric UGV, this joint solution has already completed several successful trials and demonstrations and is ideal for use by the US Marine Corps on the MADIS system.

SMARTSHOOTER will also display the SMASH 2000L, its lightest handheld-operated fire control system used extensively against both ground and aerial targets in the current HAMAS conflict. Using AI, computer vision, and advanced algorithms, SMASH 2000L maximizes force lethality, operational effectiveness, and situational awareness throughout every engagement, in both day and night. SMASH 2000L ensures precise target elimination against ground and aerial targets, making it an ideal hard-kill solution against drones and sUAS. The SMASH 2000L is already in use by the US Marine Corps, as well as by the IDF in its current operation, “Iron Swords.”

Michal Mor, SMARTSHOOTER CEO, stated:  “Fielded and operationally deployed by forces worldwide, theSMASH systems continue to redefine counter-UAScapabilities and demonstrate that precise kinetic elimination of drones and small UASs is essential. Integrating our SMASH Hopper with the RPS-42 radar provides a very effective end-to-end solution to neutralize drones swiftly, ensuring the protection of personnel and critical assets. Shortening the sensor-to-shooter cycle, this advanced solution enhances the force’s situational awareness and survivability and takes air defense to a new level”.

Deployed and combat-proven by different forces worldwide, including the US Marine Corps, SMASH is a weapon Fire Control System (FCS) equipped with an onboard computer to perform complex targeting solutions. Once the user identifies the target (independently or using the detection system guidance) and locks on it, SMASH tracks its movements and synchronizes the shot release to ensure a fast and precise hit on the target. The SMASH Family of fire control systems uses Artificial Intelligence, computer vision, and advanced algorithms to ensure precise hit capabilities, enhance forces’ situational awareness and lethality, and reduce collateral damage. It enables the platoon to be smart, precise, and connected.

GA-ASI Selected to Build Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) for the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Advanced Aircraft Division

Friday, April 26th, 2024

SAN DIEGO – 24 April 2024 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has been selected to build production representative flight test articles of the Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) for the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Advanced Aircraft Division. This option contract award by the Advanced Aircraft Division exercises the critical design, build, and flight test on the existing CCA contract with GA-ASI following an initial 6-month phase that culminated in a successful CCA preliminary design review (PDR) earlier this year.

The CCA program aims to be a force multiplier, developing a low-cost, modular, unmanned aircraft equipped with advanced sensors or weapons and operating in collaborative teams with the next generation of manned combat aircraft.

In February 2024, GA-ASI successfully conducted the maiden flight of the XQ-67A CCA protype aircraft validating the “genus/species” concept pioneered by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS)program. This program focused on building several aircraft variants from a common core chassis. Since then, this prototype for CCA has successfully completed two additional test flights, laying the groundwork for a successful production and flight test program. GA-ASI’s CCA production representative design is based upon the XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station developed by GA-ASI for the AFRL.

“The CCA program redefines the future of aviation and will shape the USAF acquisition model to deliver affordable combat mass to the warfighter at the speed of relevancy,” said Mike Atwood, Vice President of Advanced Programs for GA-ASI.

“Throughout our 30-year history, GA-ASI has been at the forefront of rapidly advancing unmanned aircraft systems that support our warfighters,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “The USAF is moving forward with GA-ASI due to our focused commitment to unmanned air-to-air combat operations and unmatched UAS experience, ensuring the production of the CCA aircraft at scale to deliver affordable combat mass for the warfighter.”

To complement the CCA contract, GA-ASI will continue to conduct a series of autonomy and mission system tests on the MQ-20 Avenger® UAS and XQ-67A to accelerate the readiness of operational autonomy. These live flight tests will continue to demonstrate the readiness of the full mission capability to support the emerging U.S. Air Force Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP).