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Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

Autonomous Drone Start-up, Flare Bright Ltd Closes Initial Investment Round

Friday, February 12th, 2021

Flare Bright closes its £500,000 seed equity funding round.  The main investors were two cornerstone Venture Capital firms: Britbots, who opened the round, and Highland Venture Capital who closed it.  The company was greatly supported by OION who introduced the company to a number of High Net Worth investors, and together with a few other Angel investors completed the round. This secures the funding for Flare Bright through to 2022 and is complemented with other UK Government grants through its Future Flight competition and contracts, including an MOD Defence and Security Accelerator Rapid Impact award.  

Flare Bright’s Board now consists of Dominic Keen, the CEO of Britbots, who is currently Chairing the Board and Scott Carnegie from Highland Venture Capital who joins as a Non-Executive Director.  The two co-founders, Kelvin Hamilton (CEO) and Conrad Rider (CTO), together with Chief Commercial Officer Chris Daniels, complete the Board.  

CEO Kelvin Hamilton says, “we’re delighted to have such a quality and committed group of investors join the company and help us rapidly scale up and deliver on our cutting-edge technology.”

Experienced Venture Capitalist and Flare Bright’s new Non-Executive Director, Scott Carnegie adds, “When Flare Bright pitched to Highland Venture Capital we immediately recognised its potential and our investment committee were unanimous in backing this company.  I am very much looking forward to joining the Board.”

Flare Bright was founded in November 2015 and after a number of years of experimentation with autonomous drones, accelerated its progress a couple of years ago.  It has grown to twelve staff who are driving the technological boundaries of autonomy in drones.  

Flare Bright is a rapidly growing aerospace company which specialises in its UAS product: SnapShot, designed to be the lightest and simplest way to get aerial images at the single press of a button. 

Flare Bright has three core products:

• The MOD’s Defence and Security Accelerator is funding the ruggedisation of SnapShot for the defence and security market.

• SnapShot is being developed to measure winds accurately at altitudes up to 100m.  This is part of a wider InnovateUK project to create live wind maps of urban, industrial and other difficult environments.

• It is developing a precision air-dropped drone for delivering small items such as medicines, vaccines or critical parts to remote places cheaply and efficiently.

Flare Bright is increasing the endurance, controllability and capability of small drones, and will be introducing thermal imagery into its range soon.

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DroneShield – Next Gen Artificial Intelligence Software Rollout

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the rollout of its first fully Machine Learning/AI based detection and classification software to all of its existing customer systems.

DroneShield utilises its proprietary techniques in signal processing and Machine Learning/AI to do near-real time detection and identification of unmanned robotic systems and, more broadly, other potential threats in the Electronic Warfare fields. The result is a dramatic increase in detection responsiveness, lower false positives and a significant increase in the speed at which new threats are detected, classified and tracked by the DroneShield systems.

One of the key achievements that sets DroneShield’s technology substantially ahead of the existing technologies globally, is a very lightweight machine learning architecture designed to run on low power FPGA (Field-Programable Gate Array) hardware. This enables the system to be deployed for long term periods in power scarce, air-gapped environments.

The software is designed to run on all DroneShield platforms including RfPatrolTM, DroneSentryTM and DroneSentry-XTM.

Future device software updates will build on this system architecture and increase performance and the number of detectable threats.


Image: DroneSentry system

For inquiries, please contact [email protected]

Brigantes Presents – The On-the-man Drone Capability Webinar

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021


Innovations in hardware and software integration have made small, on-the-man drones a valuable and necessary asset for the troops on the ground in all military operations today and Brigantes are leading the way with demonstrating how these drones can be used effectively.

In the webinar, Matt Williams, CEO at Brigantes, discusses with leading drone experts, the key developments in smaller, lighter drones and how the innovations in hardware and software integration have made them a valuable and necessary asset for the guys on the ground in all military operations.

Agenda includes:
– Recce
– Mapping
– Survey
– Command and Control
– Planning
– Kinetic
– Distraction
– Targeting
– Training

Would you like to know more? Click here to register.

For more  information on how Brigantes can assist in your military procurement needs contact [email protected]

 

Increasing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Coverage with Automated Wireless Recharging of Small Tactical UAVs

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The U.S. departments of Defense and Homeland Security will spend billions of dollars over the next few years on unmanned aerial and ground vehicles (UAVs) and sensor systems. The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps will make greater use of Class I mini/micro vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAVs to provide tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities at the small unit level. Other branches of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security are also dramatically increasing the use of drones and sensors as crucial components of infrastructure, border, and base defense systems.


Small, portable, VTOL, UAV systems provide a unique and flexible maneuverable airborne platform for close-to-mid-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage. Class I drones of this type are rapidly becoming the must-have “eye in the sky” for military and security forces seeking crucial information-based tactical command and control capability.
Photo: FLIR Systems R80D SkyRaider Class I VTOL UAV system. Copyright: FLIR Systems.

Virtually all small UAV platforms, however, rely on batteries that provide only a short amount of flight time before they need to be recharged or replaced – manually. This need to manually replace and recharge batteries presents obvious tactical and logistical issues.

But what if there was a way for UAVs to be autonomously, automatically and wirelessly recharged whenever and wherever necessary? Well, now there is. WattUp® radio frequency (RF) wireless charging technology from Energous Corporation.

As WattUp is an embedded technology, there is no need for cables, ports or battery doors that reduce the physical integrity of devices and increase the complexity of product design and manufacturing. By eliminating these features, hardware can have greater physical integrity, including being dust- and waterproof – keeping internal circuitry fully protected. And as there is no need to manually disconnect and replace batteries or connect chargers – multiple cables, connectors and adapters can be eliminated.


Illustration by U.S. Army. U.S. ground troops patrol while unmanned ground vehicles carry their extra equipment and small UAVs provide aerial surveillance coverage.
Use of this image is for informational purposes only – the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

WattUp uses RF signal technology similar to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to establish a link between a Power Transmitter and a Power Receiver. Once a connection is established, the transmitter sends power to the receiver along the same signal path. This “conversation” happens 100x/second and sends power safely to devices or batteries at various distances.

WattUp does not use magnetic coils requiring precise alignment or physical contact with the device for charging to take place – power is transmitted through the air at near-field and mid-field ranges. This capability makes WattUp ideal for devices that have rounded or irregular shapes – like most UAVs. WattUp systems also can be set up to charge automatically as soon as the device is within range of a transmitter, with a single transmitter capable of charging several devices simultaneously.


A drone that is part of the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (379th ESFS) counter-small unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) program stands ready Nov. 5, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The 379th ESFS Defenders have established one of the most robust C-UAS programs in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to detect and defend against adversarial drones that pose a potential threat to the safety and security of AUAB.
Photo credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire. Use of this image is for informational purposes only – the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Finally, WattUp’s secure, cloud-based, management software enables users to track a battery’s state of charge and determine when it will need recharging. It also enables users to monitor the health and status of batteries held in depots and storerooms so that batteries can be issued with full assurance.

WattUp® RF wireless charging technology can potentially bring many new benefits and capabilities to military and homeland security UAV operators. For example, when multiple UAVs are providing roving aerial surveillance for base and infrastructure defense, a WattUp-enabled drone could be set to automatically fly back to a landing / charging pad to recharge at the end of its flight time, while a fully charged UAV lifts off to take its place. With UAVs automatically rotating in and out of service and recharging autonomously, uninterrupted ISR coverage of areas of interest could be achieved.

WattUp also has a potential role in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) rich operational scenarios envisioned in the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps concepts for the squad of the future. Autonomous ground vehicles such as the MUTT military utility tactical truck could be utilized as automated mobile RF wireless charging stations, enabling tactical VTOL UAVs to recharge near the forward edge of the battle area.

Without the need for manual interaction, power transmission could also be done safely at higher levels (to achieve shorter charging times) than is possible when human operators are present. WattUp systems are also scalable, so power transmission levels can be adjusted as necessary for the application and operating environment. For example, a 15W Base Station system could be scaled up to 30W or 45W, while charging distance can scale from 5mm for high power devices, up to few meters for lower power applications.


Soldiers deploy a small ‘quadcopter’ style UAV system on a tactical reconnaissance mission.
Photo: InstantEye Robotics Mk-3 GEN4-D1 small unmanned aerial system. Copyright: InstantEye Robotics.

Unmanned aerial systems, and the sensor packages they carry, have become a must-have facet of military and security forces today – and their importance will only continue to grow. Short flight times and manual battery changing and charging, however, limit how much critical ISR capability they can deliver.

Implementing WattUp RF wireless charging technology could help small UAS operators overcome the issues associated with current battery charging options, and thus be a force multiplier for critical tactical ISR capabilities.

For further information about employing WattUp® RF wireless charging technology in military applications, visit energous.com/military.

By Lawrence Holsworth and James Pope

Brigantes Presents – The Loki 2 Drone from Sky Hero

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The Sky Hero Loki MK 2 allows military personnel and police officers to gather crucial intelligence of immediate threats before entering complex terrain such as dense urban areas, confined spaces and underground passages.

The Loki Mk2 is an operational support tool offering dependable methods of analysis and diffusion of videos. With extreme performance in most light conditions the camera allows users to track and anticipate target movements enabling reliable and rapid situational awareness for precise decision making. The zero latency and guaranteed no frozen images enables reliable and rapid situational awareness for precise, immediate decision making.

The encryption of both video signals and the flight commands is a crucial feature that ensures maximum security in all use cases and the new autopilot has been developed to ease the control without the need for training. The precise position holding of the drone in GPS denied and low light environments allows the operator to perform his mission with complete peace of mind.

For more information contact [email protected]

Or visit brigantes.com/products/loki-mk2 and register for more information.

Army to Lead New DOD Strategy Against Drone Attacks

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

WASHINGTON — In the future, drones could threaten U.S. defense systems with a swarming capability that uses artificial intelligence while leveraging 5G connectivity, the director of an Army-led joint office said Friday.

To help combat against these increasing dangers presented by adversaries’ small, unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS, the Defense Department unveiled a counter strategy during a media event last Friday. The strategy calls for risk-based assessments and viewing counter-sUAS defense from a joint perspective to rapidly track, defend and defeat drone attacks.

“We have to be able to keep pace with an ever-changing threat,” said Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, director of the Joint C-sUAS Office. “And to do that we have to leverage things like rapid prototyping and middle-tier acquisition to be able to bring these components into our open-architecture system as we’re seeing changes on the battlefield.”

Small UAS capabilities provide U.S. adversaries with maneuverable assets capable of intelligence, reconnaissance and lethal attacks at a low cost for the enemy.

The DOD plans to counter the threat with rapid innovation, synchronization with materiel and non-materiel solutions, and by leveraging relationships with allied nations and partners.

As part of those efforts, the Joint C-sUAS Office, or JCO, with service support, is slated to host a low-collateral damage interceptor demonstration focused on technologies and systems during the first week of April.

Strategic pillars

The Army, which oversees the JCO, aims to use three lines of effort to guide the strategy.

The first, “Ready the Force,” centers on the development of innovative solutions using a risk-based approach in the creation of counter capabilities. The strategy focuses on utilizing systems with a common architecture.

Risk assessments will be performed at each DOD location to evaluate the impact of potential sUAS threats. The assessments will cover a wide range of threats, from violent extremist organizations to near-peer adversaries.

“We can’t put every defensive measure at every DOD location,” said Nicole Thomas, the joint office’s division chief for strategy and policy. “So we have to look at the different locations to see what is the risk, where is the vulnerability and then get the appropriate countermeasures for that particular location.”

In the second focus area, “Defend the Force,” the JCO looks to create mission-ready forces capable of defending against and defeating sUAS threats. The office will achieve this through development of doctrine, operational concepts and the establishment of joint training standards and refinement of existing training. The JCO will then deliver joint capabilities that are synchronized across the force.

Finally, the last pillar, “Build the Team,” the JCO will strengthen itself by stressing partnership in national security innovation with federal and non-federal organizations while prioritizing interoperability. The leveraging of partner relationships will help the joint force maximize its C-sUAS effectiveness domestically and in ally nations, Thomas said.

Gainey said each of the military branches have embarked on individual efforts to defend against the threat since 2016. But the approach may not have been the most efficient, as it led to redundancy in the proposed system. Gainey said the new enterprise, joint approach will help the JCO achieve its goals more efficiently.

“You had different efforts moving out and it wasn’t a synchronized effort,” Gainey said. “So essentially you created this scene where you had the acquisition community just rapidly developing stuff, but with no framework around that.”

Interoperability is key

Gainey added that interoperability will be critical toward carrying out the C-sUAS strategy.

Last year, the Army selected 10 interim systems as C-sUAS solutions to guide the strategy, each with interoperable components, including the Army’s fixed site-low, slow, small UAS integrated defeat system, or FS-LIDS, and the Air Force’s negation of improvised non-state joint aerial system, or NINJA.

“What you want to start with first is to have a common interoperability with the services so we can integrate the command and control system through an open architecture to where we then integrate systems components into that,” Gainey said. “So you have a changing, improving, componentized architecture to keep up with technology.”

FS-LIDS is equipped with air surveillance radar and can detect and defeat low flying, smaller UAS targets, while NINJA can take control or disable a small UAS. The Navy’s CORIAN, or counter-remote control model aircraft integrated air defense network, can be used to disrupt drone signals.

Gainey added that by having the Army lead the effort, the DOD has taken a holistic approach that can identify potential individual service problems and strengthen interoperability across the joint force.

“How do we create something that’s going to meet our future architecture and common operating picture? That’s what we focus on,” Gainey said. “That’s where we all want to go as a department in the future: any sensor, any shooter has that common operating picture to be able to make rapid decisions based off of the growth that we’re seeing.”

By Joseph Lacdan, Army News Service

AeroVironment to Acquire Arcturus UAV, Expanding Product Portfolio and Reach into Group 2 and 3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Segments

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

• Total transaction value of $405 million in cash and stock

• Arcturus UAV’s complementary capabilities provide program diversification, increase key customer penetration and enhance shareholder value

• Arcturus UAV is well positioned for ongoing United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Mid-Endurance UAS (MEUAS) task orders, United States Army Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) program delivery orders and international contracts

• Expected to be immediately accretive to revenue growth, adjusted EBITDA margin and non-GAAP diluted EPS, excluding intangible assets, amortization expense and deal and integration costs, and accretive to GAAP diluted EPS by fiscal year 2022

• AeroVironment to host conference call and audio webcast at 2:00 pm Pacific Time today

AeroVironment, Inc. to Acquire Arcturus UAV, Expand Reach into Group 2 and 3 UAS Segments (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. Jan 13, 2021 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems, and Arcturus UAV, Inc., a privately-held leading provider of Group 2 and 3 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and services, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which AeroVironment will acquire Arcturus UAV for a total purchase price of $405 million, including $355 million in cash and $50 million in AeroVironment stock.  The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the AeroVironment and Arcturus UAV Boards of Directors, is expected to accelerate AeroVironment’s strategy to drive profitable growth and value by expanding into attractive adjacent segments and by broadening its capabilities and customer footprint.

Founded in 2004 and based in Petaluma, California, Arcturus UAV has approximately 270 employees, designs and manufactures Group 2 and Group 3 UAS and provides related services, including contractor-owned, contractor-operated (COCO) services. Arcturus UAV is a leading supplier to the USSOCOM, supporting its $1.4 billion MEUAS III and IV programs, and one of four awardees selected for funded development and demonstrations supporting the U.S. Army’s FTUAS program, a potential billion dollar, and next-generation UAS program. Arcturus UAV has a demonstrated track record of solid performance, with topline growth exceeding 20 percent for each of its last two fiscal years.

“We are excited about the opportunities for value creation through our acquisition of Arcturus UAV, which will enable us to accelerate our growth strategy and expand our reach into the more valuable Group 2 and 3 UAS segments,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment president and chief executive officer. “Group 2 and 3 UAS and services, collectively, potentially represent more than one billion dollars in annual contract value, according to an independent forecast. Combining our highly complementary products and technologies will enhance our portfolio, deliver top and bottom-line growth, and enable us to provide customers with a complete set of Group 1 through 3 UAS, tactical missile systems, high-altitude pseudo-satellites and unmanned ground vehicle solutions. Through this expanded portfolio, we will be well positioned to serve a broader range of customer missions across multiple domains and significantly enhance value for shareholders over the near and long-term.”

“The Arcturus UAV team has produced strong growth in recent years and has secured strategically important wins in the MEUAS and FTUAS programs, positioning Arcturus as a leader for next-generation program requirements. Together, we will offer an unmatched portfolio of multi-domain unmanned capabilities, supported by our ongoing investments in artificial intelligence and autonomy, to help our customers address a broad set of defense and commercial missions. We look forward to welcoming Arcturus UAV’s talented team, strong customer relationships in growing UAS segments and robust pipeline of innovations to AeroVironment,” Mr. Nawabi added.

“AeroVironment’s depth of experience in UAS and tactical missile systems, international presence, and impressive team is a natural fit for Arcturus UAV, and will create substantial opportunities to build on our strong momentum,” said D’Milo Hallerberg, Arcturus UAV president and chief executive officer. “With the support of AeroVironment, we will have greater scale, expanded resources, cutting-edge technology and superior capabilities to meet the growing global demand for our products and solutions. We are confident that with AeroVironment, we can accelerate our growth as part of a larger, more diverse company and look forward to working closely with the team to complete this exciting transaction.”

Arcturus UAV’s products include the JUMP-20, a multi-mission, medium endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system requiring no launch equipment or runway and the T-20, a multi-mission, medium endurance catapult-launched system. Arcturus UAV sells its products directly to end users and delivers COCO services. All Arcturus UAV systems have the ability to carry a broad range of payloads, including standard EO/IR gimbals as well as 3-D mapping, SAR, LIDAR, communications relay, COMINT and SIGINT payloads. 

AeroVironment expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to adjusted EBITDA, excluding deal and integration costs, and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share, excluding intangible assets, amortization expense and deal and integration costs, and accretive to GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal year 2022, while increasing pro forma net leverage to 0.5 times adjusted EBITDA.

Upon completion of the transaction, key members of the Arcturus UAV executive management team will remain in leadership positions. The transaction is expected to close during fourth quarter of AeroVironment’s fiscal year 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. At close, Arcturus UAV will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AeroVironment.

The purchase price represents a multiple of approximately 11x Arcturus UAV’s LTM 9/30/20 adjusted EBITDA, net of anticipated tax benefits. In connection with the acquisition, AeroVironment has received commitments for a $200 million Term Loan Facility and $100 million revolver (undrawn at close) with Bank of America, N.A. acting as Administrative Agent, and with BofA Securities, Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and U.S. Bank National Association acting as arrangers. AeroVironment will fund approximately $155 million of the acquisition from cash on hand.

Brigantes Presents – Coptrz Webinar Response

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Coptrz are drone specialists who provide end to end solution, including training, hardware, consultancy and on-going support. Born from a commercial background, Brigantes began working with Coptrz, adapting the software and capability in the Parrot Anafi Thermal drone. However, what could be done with this drone in terms of military security was limited.

Step forth, the Parrot Anafi USA. Originally designed for the US Army, and manufactured in Massachusetts, it is considered a big jump up in capability from the Thermal.

But how does this drone relate to today’s military user?

Coptrz produced a drone Webinar for the military and the commercial user. Here Matt Williams, MD at Brigantes, gives feedback on the features of the Anafi USA and how these features can greatly benefit the guys on the ground.

For more information contact: [email protected]