The HCMC air vehicle on the deck of HMS
Prince of Wales
The UK Royal Navy (RN) and W Autonomous Systems have completed a proof-of-concept activity designed to demonstrate the operation of a fixed-wing cargo-carrying unmanned aircraft system (UAS) from the flight deck of a Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.
Performed on 5 September, the trial saw a W Autonomous Systems' HCMC short take-off landing (STOL) air vehicle take off from Predannack Airfield on the Lizard peninsula, complete a 20-minute transit out to HMS Prince of Wales off the Cornish coast, and execute a short non-arrested landing on the ship's flight deck. A symbolic payload was removed, and a new package loaded, before the UAS performed a short take-off to return to Predannack.
The first of 16 Protector air vehicles was loaded onto an An-124 transport aircraft for delivery to the UK on 29 September. (GA-ASI)
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has delivered the first MQ-9B Protector RG1 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the United Kingdom.
The first of a planned 16 Protector RG1 air vehicles was loaded onto an Antonov An-124 airlifter at the company's Poway production facility in southern California on 29 September, ahead of its transatlantic crossing to Royal Air Force (RAF) Waddington in England.
The Protector is the UK-specific variant of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, which is also known as the SeaGuardian in its dedicated maritime fit. It is designed to provide a step change in unmanned operations for the RAF, given that it will be a sovereign capability that the UK fully owns, whereas the previous MQ-9A Reaper was an urgent operational requirement for Afghanistan that was largely controlled by the United States.
Ukraine conflict: Draganfly tasked with UAV training, systems take on mine clearance duties
28 September 2023
by Akshara Parakala
Draganfly's Commander 3 XL is operational in Ukraine. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)
Draganfly has been awarded a multi-year contract by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs to develop training programmes for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations.
Speaking to Janes, Draganfly's chief operating officer, Paul Mullen, said the five-week training programme will help UAV operators develop their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission skills, as well as those for search-and-rescue (SAR) tasks.
The company has developed the training programme with operators of Draganfly and other UAVs in Ukraine.
According to a company announcement, the contract was awarded by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs on behalf of non-governmental organisation (NGO) Heal-Corp and the Ukrainian National Academy of Internal Affairs. Mullen said the training will be provided on Draganfly UAVs, including the Draganflyer Commander2 and Commander 3 XL.
Since March 2022 Draganfly UAVs have been used to provide situational awareness and support humanitarian aid efforts, and since early 2023 they have been employed in mine detection and clearance tasks.
Mullen said the UAVs have been equipped with ground-penetrating radar (GPR), magnetometers, and multispectral and hyperspectral sensors to detect mines.
The Bundestag budget committee on 20 September approved a contract amendment for the procurement of 12 LUNA NG UASs for the Bundeswehr. (Rheinmetall)
The budget committee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, on 20 September approved a contract amendment for the procurement of the Luftgestützte Unbemannte Nahaufklärungs-Ausstattung Next Generation (LUNA NG) medium-range unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which is designated by the Bundeswehr as Hocheffizientes Unbemanntes System zur abbildenden Aufklärung mittlerer Reichweite (HUSAR). The Bundeswehr is procuring 12 LUNA NG UASs and a training system to replace current LUNA and Kleinfluggerät für Zielortung (KZO) UASs.
A LUNA NG system consists of five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), two ground control stations in protected containers, maintenance and repair equipment, two launchers, and two recovery systems.
The total contract value is EUR290.9 million (USD307.8 million), of which EUR238.6 remains to be funded by Germany's defence budget. The German Federal Ministry of Defence expects LUNA NG deliveries starting in 2025.
Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) awarded EMT a EUR63 million framework contract for three LUNA NG systems and a training system, with an option for nine more UASs.
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