domingo, 26 de febrero de 2017

US Air Force to Phase Out MQ-1 Predator

The US Air Force said that it is retiring the 21-year-old MQ-1 Predator UAV and is transitioning to the MQ-9 Reaper: "We are going to stop flying the MQ-1 completely by July 1, 2017," 20th Attack Squadron commander Lt. Col. James said in the release. "We're converting an MQ-1 squadron… to an MQ-9 squadron in combat operations without taking a single day out of combat."

The Air Force explained the MQ-9 Reaper will be used for close air support for US troops along human piloted aircraft, and also for intelligence gathering and real-time reconnaissance: "The MQ-9 is better equipped than the MQ-1 due to its high definition sensors and increased speed," the release stated. "The fresh MQ-9 design picked up where the MQ-1 left off, boasting a nearly 4,000-pound payload and the ability to carry missiles and bombs."

Russian military will receive Svarog's VR helmet to control UAVs

Despite its cumbersome appearance, the device weighs 400 g, which is a standard weight of the current VR helmets.

"Now the Svarog is under trial and will be delivered to the Ministry of Defense as soon as possible during this year," Alexei Pechkin, a researcher at Mari State University, told the Izvestia newspaper. "We continue to improve the helmet and experiment with the characteristics of its lenses, but even now the resolution of the screen is twice that of its foreign rivals, while the angle of vision of Svarog is limited by the user's natural field of vision ".

The device has a set of sensors to measure the position of the eyes and the inclination of the head: The operator can vary the altitude of the UAV by raising or lowering his head as well as change the direction of the flight by moving only his eyes to a point of interest.

"Using a VR device to control an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft has many advantages over the traditional display and the joystick," says Maxim Chizhov, a VR expert. "An updated VR helmet gives the UAV operator a more realistic picture of the battlefield, allowing for faster decision making and more effective drone control at high speed."

IDF intercepts Hamas UAV

An Israel Air Force F-16 downed an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to Hamas on Thursday 23th afternoon, intercepting it after it left the Gaza Strip and bringing it down into the sea before it managed to enter Israeli airspace.

Weaponized drones is something “that Israel must prepare for,” Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow and head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told in a recent interview.

Hamas and Islamic State have used weaponized drones to carry out attacks: Regarding Hamas, during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, the IDF struck facilities that were being used to develop drones capable of carrying explosives, with the OC Southern Command at the time, Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, saying that the military destroyed “advanced weaponry like the development of a UAV that isn’t used for photography but for attacks deep inside Israel.”

And regarding Islamic State, recently posted several photos online with instructions on how to weaponize a small quadcopter with an RKG-3 anti-tank stick grenade, RPG-22 one-shot disposable anti-tank rocket launcher, and RPO anti-tank rocket. It has also made dozens of claims of having used drones to drop explosive devices onto Iraqi troops in the ongoing battle for Mosul.

UAV Swarms

The military thinks differently about UAVs, but they still want to make the most of their capabilities.

However, since not many armed forces can afford to buy a large UAV that can carry payloads of multiple sensors to simultaneously meet the needs of different ground and air forces, the armed forces are beginning to demand UAVs capable of operating in groups or rather in swarms.

The UAV industry has seen a gold reef in that demand, and wants to make the most of it. ¿What will the future be? ¿Who knows? But as UAV swarms are here, I think the future is there: Two eyes can see more than just one, and four bombers can reach more targets than just two.

Indonesia receives Skeldar V-200

Indonesia has become the first customer of UMS Skeldar to receive and complete acceptance tests of the company's Skeldar V-200 rotary-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the Switzerland-based developer of unmanned aircraft systems said in a 16 February press release.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Indonesia deployed the Skeldar V-200 as part of performance and acceptance tests during the fourth quarter of 2016, paving the way for the procurement and pilot training in the country, the company stated. The move, which was the first delivery of the only heavy fuel UAV platform in its class, also marked the beginning of a training programme contract with the Indonesian MoD.

It is unclear, however, how many of the rotary-wing UAVs have been delivered to Indonesia as part of the deal. "With the world's second-longest coastlines, the tests and patrol evaluations [in Indonesia] confirmed the multi-payload and low footprint of the Skeldar V-200 across land and navy applications," said UMS Skeldar, which is a joint venture between UMS AERO Group and SaabThe contract in Indonesia confirms not only the importance of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Search And Rescue (SAR) strategies within complex territories, but also "how UAVs can be used as a stand-alone or integrated platform deployed from land bases or seaborne", said UMS Skeldar training director Ewen Stockbridge-Sime.

According to the company, the V-200 is a multirole helicopter UAV suited for a wide range of applications, such as reconnaissance, identification, target acquisition, and electronic warfare. UMS Skeldar says on its website that the 1.3 m-high Skeldar V-200 has a maximum airspeed of 140 km/h (75 kt), a service ceiling of 3,000 m (9,842 ft), a maximum take-off weight of 235 kg (518 lb), and an endurance of more than five hours depending on the size of the fuel tank module and the payload configuration.

domingo, 19 de febrero de 2017

The Face of the Bubbling Armed UAV Industry

The extensive use of UAVs by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan has raised debates over issues like civilian deaths, international law, efficacy of strikes and deterrence.

The Israeli Air Force used a weaponized drone, the Pioneer, in the 1982 war in Lebanon which impressed US for increased UAV procurement and research. Nineteen years after, the 9\11 terrorist attack created a new demand to hunt down terrorists in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Today, the US uses three types of drones built by General Atomics with offensive capabilities: the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-1C Sky Warrior, and the MQ-9 Reaper. The US military uses them in two broad ways: Reconnaissance and hunter-killer missions.

Drone surveillance and attack capabilities have been effective psychologically as fear keeps also plays a major part. While drone attacks are the most effective weapon against terrorism, its net effects are difficult to judge. The presence of armed drones is a reality of the modern battlefield, but only a limited group of countries has the technological ability to produce them or the military capacity to operate them.

Currently, US and China export armed drones, and Israel is in the vicinity. As Russia, Turkey, South Korea and others join the market, a surge in globally available systems for a fruitful market could lead to a new dangerous era.

Aerial Refueling of UAVs

The USAF is seeking UAVs that can be refueled in midair, by other UAVs. The proposal, titled “Aerial Refueling of UAVs”, is aimed at developing a better way for air-to-air refueling of Class 4 and Class 5 UAVs, which comprise the larger drones such as the Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper. (Read more...)

The Drone Threat to Israeli National Security

Analysts continue to debate possible futures of UAV terrorism, and an emerging consensus suggests that violent non-state actors will increasingly seek to exploit drone technology for nefarious purposes.

For years, both Hizballah and Hamas invested considerable resources into developing their respective UAV programs. As the world’s most powerful militant organization, Hizballah maintains a fleet of UAVs equipped with surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, as well as munitions.

Since Hizballah’s military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, the organization has successfully utilized UAVs for a variety of functions, particularly intelligence gathering and coordinating military operations. Though Hizballah and Hamas maintain domestic drone production capabilities, both groups rely on external support for their more advanced UAVs. It is no mystery why Israeli national security personnel view UAV developments by militant groups with great concern.

Afghanistan: Germany to Operate Heron-1 for Additional Year

Germany has extended a leasing contract to operate the Israeli Heron-1 unmanned aerial system (UAS) for another year in support of ongoing operations in Afghanistan.

Estimated at tens of millions of dollars, the contract concluded between the German Defence Procurement Agency and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, extends Heron operations in Afghanistan until February 2018. 

In its news release, IAI noted that its Heron-1 recently marked 30,000 hours in Afghanistan since the German Air Force began operating the system in 2010. The German Air Force also is operating the Heron-1 in Mali as part of a United Nations policing mission. “Our connection with the German Air Force is of course highly important, and we are proud to continue to provide an operational solution together with the excellent cooperation we have with Airbus,” said retired Israeli Air Force Brig. Gen. Shaul Shahar, IAI's executive vice president and general manager of the firm’s Military Aircraft Group.  

El dron español de 70.000 € que ha causado un conflicto entre Israel y Rusia

Un pequeño helicóptero no tripulado fabricado en España, que tiene una autonomía de unas dos horas, que puede recorrer entre 30 y 40 kilómetros y que se puede elevar hasta 3.000 metros, ha causado un buen revuelo en Israel. (Seguir leyendo)

SoftRF case for UAV

This enclosure fits "UAV version" of SoftRF hardware.

SoftRF is an open project (GNU LGPL) for aircraft collision avoidance avionics.

SoftRF is compatible with "Legacy V6" radio protocol.
It transmits and receives using same RF silicon (Nordic NRF905) that FLARM (TM) does.