Autonomous UAV winch trialled at AWE for British Army
24 November 2022
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
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.
A new, flexible silicon-on-polymer semiconductor chip developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory. (US Air Force)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has inked a 10-year, USD3.1 billion semiconductor manufacturing deal with New York-based GlobalFoundries (GF), to produce critical microelectronics (ME) for current and future aerospace systems and weapons platforms.
GF will receive USD17.3 million up front, as part of the contract with the department's Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA), according to a 21 September company statement. As per the terms of the contract, drafted by DMEA's Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO), the Pentagon and department contractors will have access to GF-built semiconductor technologies over the next decade, the statement said.
Aside from DoD access to domestically built ME systems and components from GF, the Pentagon will also have access to the company's “design ecosystem, IP [internet protocol] libraries, early access to new technologies in development, quick and efficient prototyping, and full-scale volume manufacturing”, the statement noted.
DARPA's Diverse Accessible Heterogeneous Integration effort is developing transistor-scale heterogeneous integration processes seeking to combine advanced compound semiconductor wafers with CMOS technology. Pictured here is a DAHI wafer. (Northrop Grumman)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has officially announced the eight new research and development (R&D) hubs in the United States that will make up the department's new Microelectronics (ME) Commons.
The ME Commons initiative, funded through the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2002, is designed to “get the most cutting-edge microchips into systems our troops use every day ... [while] reducing our reliance on foreign components, keeping us safe from the risks of supply chain disruption”, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said during a 20 September briefing at the Pentagon.
Managed by the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS), Other Transaction Authority (OTA), and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), the ME Commons will interconnect the series of regional R&D hubs focusing on different sectors of ME capability development.
The Faraday Dragon spacecraft (concept pictured above in orbit) offers small satellite performance, carrying up to 60 kg of payload and a payload power of up to 200 W, along with 1 TB of data storage, a high-rate downlink, and a mission lifetime of five years. (In-Space Missions)
BAE Systems subsidiary In-Space Missions is building an Asia-Pacific regional first satellite rideshare mission known as Faraday Dragon targeted for launch in 2026, a spokesperson for In-Space told
at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition 2023 (TADTE 2023) held in Taipei from 14 to 16 September.
According to In-Space, Faraday Dragon is the first of a series of rideshare small satellites that will fly multiple payloads for regional space players including government, commercial, financial, research, and educational organisations.
The spokesperson said that the company is in discussions with seven countries including Taiwan for this mission.
“In terms of the countries with which we are engaged in discussions about Faraday Dragon at the moment, [they] include Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan,” the spokesperson said.
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