AFA 2021: Bell showcases three HSVTOL aircraft concepts
23 September 2021
by Pat Host
Bell's concepts for the AFWERX High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge. (From left) The Heavy, Medium, and Light models. (Bell)
Bell has developed concepts of three jet-powered High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing (HSVTOL) aircraft, which it promoted at the Air Force Association's (AFA's) annual conference with a pair of large illustrations.
Jeff Nissen, Bell senior manager of advanced technology, told
on 21 September at the conference that the company has designed a Heavy, a Medium multirole capability, and a Light aircraft. Bell designed the aircraft around speed, range, and survivability: jet-like cruise speeds over 400 kt, range to meet specific operations, runway independence and hover endurance, and survivability to operate in contested environments.
AFWERX, in partnership with the US Air Force and US Special Operations Command, launched the HSVTOL Concept Challenge to advance solutions to achieve optimal agility in austere environments. Critical mission profiles include infiltration and exfiltration of special operations forces (SOF) and equipment, personnel recovery, aeromedical evacuation, and tactical mobility, according to an AFWERX statement.
UK launches next phase of UAS Heavy Lift challenge
10 August 2022
by Olivia Savage
The Royal Navy trialling Windracers Autonomous Systems' Ultra fixed-wing UAS (pictured) in the UASHLC. (Crown Copyright 2022)
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched Phase 2 of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Heavy Lift Capability (UASHLC) challenge.
According to the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) published on 5 August, the MoD is seeking to “support and inform the development of maritime operating concepts and enable assessment, analysis, exploration, and evaluation of the use of UAS for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) payload delivery and broader UAS capabilities”. The MoD is therefore seeking to accelerate the development of one or more suppliers' platforms, as well as the key technologies that will enhance UAS operational capabilities.
The closing date for suppliers to submit a PQQ is 5 September, with a contract expected to run from September 2022 to August 2027, the MoD said. Up to GBP95 million (USD116 million) is available for the programme, the MoD added.
The MoD was unable to provide further comment at the time of publication.
The Czech Republic is looking to buy three Heron 1 UAVs from Israel, with the deal expected to be concluded by the end of 2022. (IAI)
The Czech Republic is to buy three Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of the country's wider Concept of Capability Construction of the Army of the Czech Republic plan.
The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the plan on 8 August, saying that negotiations for the procurement are to begin with the Israeli government shortly as it plans to acquire equipment seen “as crucial in conducting aerial reconnaissance and performing other tasks for direct combat support and protection of Czech army units”.
One of the IAAC's CH-4s displayed with AR-1 missiles and FT-9 bombs at Balad Air Base. (Iraqi Ministry of Defence)
The Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IAAC) has returned its first Chinese-made CH-4 armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to service, it was announced on 8 August, when Minister of Defence Juma Enad Saadoun visited the IAAC area of Balad Air Base.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD) released a video showing Saadoun being shown a ground control station and watching a CH-4 armed with AR-1 laser-guided missiles and FT-9 bombs take-off.
Saadoun said in the video that the UAVs played a large role in the war against the Islamic State extremist group, but were put in storage in 2017 because of their age. A contract was signed with the manufacturer in 2021 to return them to service and the work began about a month ago, he said.
The Iraqi MoD unveiled the CH-4s in October 2015 but did not reveal how many it had acquired.
In this episode of The World of Intelligence we speak with Neil Spencer on the value of OSINT in the commercial sector.
Neil Spencer is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships for LifeRaft. He has more than twenty years of security indust...