Archive for July 30, 2020

Robots, Droids & Drones: July 2020


Air Force/Skyborg

The U.S. Air Force is planning operational experiments in 2021 with new unmanned aerial system prototypes for the Skyborg program, National Defense Magazine report.

Skyborg is an autonomy-focused capability that the Air Force says will enable it to operate and sustain low-cost, manned/unmanned teamed aircraft that can thwart adversaries in contested environments.

skyborg concept design

A Skyborg conceptual design for a low cost Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. (Artwork courtesy of AFRL)

During this effort, the Air Force Research Lab will create prototypes of a suite of autonomy and unmanned system technologies, equipped with capabilities to support a range of Air Force missions.

The aim, according to National Defense, is to integrate attritable drone technologies with open missions systems to enable manned-unmanned teaming.

The autonomous platforms are expected to operate as robotic wingmen for manned aircraft, perform dangerous tasks and serve as low-cost force multipliers on the battlefield.

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Boeing’s carrier-based unmanned aircraft.

Later this year, Boeing’s unmanned aerial refueling test vehicle — the MQ-25 T1 — will  return to flight test later, with a U.S. Navy aerial refueling store, Seapower magazine reports.

The store was recently integrated under the wing of T1 during a planned modification. It is the same store currently carried by F/A-18 fighter jets that perform aerial refueling off aircraft carriers. MQ-25 will relieve F/A-18s of carrier-based aerial refueling, freeing up those assets to perform other missions.

The MQ-25 will be the U.S. Navy’s first operational, carrier-based unmanned aircraft. Boeing is under contract to manufacture seven aircraft that will subsequently go into Navy flight test.

When T1 returns to flight with the aerial refueling store, it will be under the control of Boeing air vehicle operators and monitored by a team of flight test engineers, including those from the Navy.

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How to Hide from Enemy Drones.

A new manual independently compiled by 11 seasoned U.S. Marines and veterans aims to provide guidance to ground troops seeking to avoid detection against a growing enemy threat: drones.

Published at the end of June, the 96-page guide proposes a standard operating procedure, or SOP, for Marines training for and operating in an environment where enemy drones, more formally known as unmanned aerial systems, are part of the terrain, according to the website.

The guide proposes code words Marines can use to signal that a UAS has been spotted; to tell the unit to camouflage itself; and to order an attack on the drone. It also offers detailed guidance on effective camouflage, building on existing practices such as covering a helmet with foliage and a vehicle with netting and adding in newer precautions such as heat signature masking.

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Schiebel Pacific and Raytheon Australia have teamed up for the Australian Army’s LAND 129 Phase 3 project to replace its Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).


CAMCOPTER_S-100_195 Land129 Phase 3 Australia (Photo courtesy Schiebel)

The teaming pairs the Austrian unmanned aircraft maker’s Camcopter S-100 with Raytheon Australia, a prime systems integrator across multiple domains. Together, the companies will deliver a solution that provides a highly capable, low risk offering that is intended to establish an enduring sovereign TUAS capability, according to a Schiebel press release.

Project Land 129 Phase 3 (L129-3) will replace and enhance the existing Shadow 200 v1 TUAS capability operated by 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment (20 STA Regt), according to the Australian Department of Defense. The project will grow the capability to provide a third sub-unit and provide an enduring capability effect that enables 24/7 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage in two separate focal areas. The TUAS capability should integrate with existing and future in-service systems in order to disseminate information and intelligence to the supported Land Commander


July 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment


July 2020


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