General Atomics announces MQ-9B STOL upgrade for carrier operations

by Gillian Rich

General Atomics is developing an MQ-9B STOL UAV kit for operations off any flat-deck carrier or amphibious ship. (General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) said on 10 May that it is developing a kit to provide short take-off and landing (STOL) capability on its MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian unmanned aerial systems (UASs).

The MQ-9B STOL option will utilise a wing and tail kit that can be installed on the platform in the hanger or on a flight line in less than a day, according to the company. The kit can be removed to return the aircraft to conventional operations.

“Imagine taking the hardtop off your Jeep. You lift it off, stow it in your garage, and now you've got an open vehicle. If it rains, you put the hardtop back on. We're the same. Take a standard MQ-9B, put the STOL kit on, and then go fly,” said GA-ASI president David Alexander in a statement.

The unmanned aerial vehicle's (UAV's) endurance will be affected by the STOL capability. GA-ASI expects


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US Navy deploys Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire Scout to the Pacific

by Gillian Rich

A Northrop Grumman MQ-8C lands aboard USS Jackson (LCS 6) as part of its deployment to INDOPACOM. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Navy deployed Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial system (UAS) on USS Jackson (LCS 6), its first in the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), to provide maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISR&T) capability, the company announced on 23 May.

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 (HSC-21) and HSC-23 will be the primary operators of MQ-8C. Scott Weinpel, business development manager for the Fire Scout programme, told Janes that the majority of the squadrons' deployments will be in INDOPACOM for the “foreseeable future”.

Fire Scout's deployment to the Pacific comes as the US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) develop the Expeditionary Advance Base Operations (EABO) concept.


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TransDigm subsidiary buys flight instrument product line from Astronautics

by Marc Selinger

Extant Aerospace has acquired the Electromagnetic Indicator product line from Astronautics Corporation of America. The unit on the left is a horizontal situation indicator. The others are attitude director indicators. (Astronautics)

Extant Aerospace, a subsidiary of US aircraft parts maker TransDigm Group, has expanded its defence aviation portfolio by acquiring the Electromagnetic Indicator product line from Astronautics Corporation of America for about USD27 million in cash, the buyer announced on 19 May.

The line of flight instruments consists of attitude director indicators (ADIs), horizontal situation indicators (HSIs), and bearing distance heading indicators (BDHIs). Extant will take over producing and maintaining the indicators, which are mainly used on military aircraft.

The product line's tooling and other assets will move from Astronautics' site in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee to Extant's facility in Melbourne, Florida. The transaction does not involve the transfer of employees, said David Souders, Extant's vice-president of business development.

The acquisition news came less than two months after Extant announced it had purchased the assets and technical data rights of Moog's Electro-Optical Tracker and Camera systems, which are used mainly on land- and sea-based military platforms.


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Brazilian XMobots teams up with MBDA to build armed UAV

by Victor Barreira

XMobots and MBDA are working together to add missile capability to the Nauru 1000C VTOL UAV. (XMobots)

Brazilian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specialist XMobots Aeroespacial e Defesa and Europe's MBDA announced on 17 May that they are teaming up to develop a Brazilian-made weaponised UAV.

According to XMobots, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in March to integrate the MBDA Enforcer Air, a precision-guided missile capability, with the XMobots Nauru 1000C UAV.

The Nauru 1000C is a fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) all-weather multimission UAV, powered by a hybrid propulsion system consisting of a Zanzottera Technologies 305HS 29 hp combustion engine and eight T-Motor 11.5 hp brushless electric motors.

The UAV has a 7.7 m wingspan, length of 2.9 m, height of 0.98 m, maximum payload weight of 18 kg, maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 150 kg, 10 hours of flight, cruise speed of 60 kt, service ceiling of 10,000 ft, and maximum range of 60 km, according to XMobots.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/general-atomics-announces-mq-9b-stol-upgrade-for-carrier-operations

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) said on 10 May that it is developing a kit to pro...

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