Airshow China 2021: CASC unveils CH-817 micro-surveillance and attack VTOL UAV

by Kelvin Wong

The CH-817 is a micro UAV that can be used to perform tactical surveillance or re-roled with an explosive payload to support anti-personnel operations. (wanquanfoto/CAAA)

Chinese defence prime China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has unveiled its backpackable Cai Hong-817 (Rainbow-817, or CH-817) micro-UAV at Airshow China 2021, which is being held from 28 September to 3 October in Zhuhai.

Developed by CASC subsidiary China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA, also known as the 11th Academy) in Beijing, the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) CH-817 is designed to be a man-portable day and night-operations capable UAV that can be used to boost the effectiveness of ground forces in tactical urban or mountainous environments where situational awareness is often limited.

Manufactured from lightweight alloys and composite materials, the CH-817 features a bisected, cylindrical fuselage module with a pair of mid-mounted coaxial two-bladed rotors, which can fold along the fuselage module's diameter for transport and storage, enabling the UAV to be fitted into a ruggedised canister or backpack. A complete package can comprise a UAV, a handheld operator control unit, and a pair of first person view (FPV) goggles.


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Netherlands MoD publishes Defence Space Agenda

by Olivia Savage

Pictured are two nano satellites − Huygens and Birkeland − that are part of the MilSpace2 project, a collaborative R&D programme between the Dutch and Norwegian ministries of defence for the detection of radar signals. Continued co-operation on the programme is guaranteed for the coming years. (NanoAvionics)

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published its Defence Space Agenda, detailing the country's future military space investment priorities.

According to the agenda, published by the MoD on 25 November, the Netherlands is seeking to ensure strategic autonomy by developing and owning its own constellation of satellites, while also reducing its dependency on communication, navigation, observation, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities supplied by its strategic and commercial partners.

Between EUR25 million and EUR100 million (USD25.88 million and USD103.54 million) will be allocated from 2023 to 2027 to address these requirements. This is separate from the EUR25−100 million earmarked for military satellite communications (milsatcom), outlined in the 2022 Defense Memorandum.


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UK MoD issues PQQ for ISR space project

by Olivia Savage

Project Oberon will comprise a cluster of three SAR-based satellites as part of the ISTARI programme. (Airbus)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for Project Oberon, a programme that seeks high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.

According to the PQQ released by the MoD on 24 November, the contract will involve a cluster of three satellites equipped with an active SAR payload and, at a lower priority, passive radio frequency (RF) functionality, which the supplier will be required to operate.

The main contract is expected to demand a “full end-to-end solution including inter alia; design, development, manufacture, assembly, integration, test, launch, commissioning, operations, and eventual disposal”, the PQQ stated.

Up to GBP70 million (USD84.7 million) has been earmarked for the 36-month contract.

A further contract option is expected as part of the project – this will require a supplier to deliver mission operations, training, and support (per year) for a further six years, as well as mission integration and implementation into the ground architecture of the multisatellite intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) ‘ISTARI' programme, the MoD detailed.


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Autonomous UAV winch trialled at AWE for British Army

by Olivia Savage

Sparrow (pictured), attached to a third-party UAV, which is lifting a 5 kg mock payload. (Janes/Olivia Savage)

A novel air-ground payload transfer device intended for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been trialled at the British Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) Sustain & Protect (S&P) programme at Portsmouth Naval Base.

During AWE on 22 November, BMT Global demonstrated Sparrow, a prototype robotic unit that enables the autonomous delivery and collection of payloads from a UAV.

Attached to a UAV, Sparrow can autonomously descend and ascend to deliver and collect payloads, it thereby allows the UAV to remain at a suitable height while avoiding the difficult urban terrain beneath, James Campbell, Sparrow project lead at BMT Global, told Janes at AWE.

Campbell said that the system is actually “best described as a suspended UAV”, this is because it has four fans like a quadcopter and is fully autonomous, able to manoeuvre itself, and identify objects on the ground. The key difference with Sparrow is that the fans are designed to counter wind and enable manoeuvrability, rather than for lift.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/airshow-china-2021-casc-unveils-ch-817-micro-surveillance-and-attack-vtol-uav

Chinese defence prime China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has unveiled its bac...

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