Royal Navy brings in Banshee to build RPAS capability

by Dr. Lee Willett

One of the UK RN's seven Banshee RPAS air vehicles, pictured in a hangar at RNAS Culdrose. The Banshee is bringing a step-up in RN RPAS capability. (Dr Lee Willett)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) has purchased seven QinetiQ Banshee Jet 80+ remotely piloted air systems (RPAS), as the next step in building its unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capability.

The Banshees will support two primary tasks for 700X Naval Air Squadron (NAS), the maritime UAS centre of expertise.

“First, it's about building remote pilots' experience of operating that type of uncrewed system. Second, it's a vehicle to allow the RN to test and develop different types of sensors,” Lieutenant Commander Martin Howard, 700X's commanding officer, told Janes during a visit to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose, Cornwall. In the latter case, the navy is assessing capability gaps that sensors fitted to a system like the Banshee could fill, he added.


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GEOST bets on focal plane, edge computing capabilities for PWSA fire control

by Carlo Munoz

An artist's rendition of Sierra Space's T2TL low Earth orbit satellite prototype for the PWSA. (Sierra Space)

Arizona-based sensor payload company GEOST is betting big that improved focal plane fidelity, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled imagery processing at the edge, will be the solution for the new fire-control payload being developed for the Pentagon's Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA).

GEOST – a subsidiary of LightRidge Solutions – and the Space Development Agency (SDA) in February reached a deal for GEOST to develop and produce 16 fire-control mission payloads for Tranche 2 Tracking Layer (T2TL) of the PWSA.

The PWSA payload contract “is a transformational win” for the GEOST team, according to Bill Gattle, CEO of LightRidge Solutions.

The payload development deal “does open up new markets … proving that some of the things we have done, at a smaller scale, we can now do at a larger scale”, he said during an early February interview with Janes .


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General Atomics XQ-67A Off-Board Sensing Station conducts first flight

by Zach Rosenberg

The XQ-67A in flight (location unknown). (GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has flown the XQ-67A unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time, the company announced on 29 February.

“Flight demonstration of this system is a major first step towards showing the ability to produce affordable combat mass,” said Trenton White, Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL's) Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) programme manager, in a statement announcing the flight.

The flight took place on 28 February at GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility, outside Palmdale, California.

It comes a year after the AFRL selected GA-ASI to build the XQ-67A under the OBSS programme, intended to result in a UAV that could fly ahead of manned aircraft and pass data back, effectively extending their ability to detect and track targets.

“OBSS is the first aircraft type built and flown using a common core chassis developed by GA-ASI that promotes commonality across multiple vehicle types,” said Michael Atwood, GA-ASI vice-president of advanced programmes.


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Indian MoD to procure 5G-enabled surveillance UAVs

by Oishee Majumdar & Rakend P

The Indian MoD is procuring an undisclosed number of Jaga unmanned aerial vehicles (pictured) from Noida-based IG Drones to enhance the surveillance capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces. (IG Drones)

Noida-based IG Drones has secured a contract from the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide its 5G-enabled Jaga unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance the surveillance capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces.

A spokesperson for IG Drones told Janes on 28 February that the company plans to complete the supply of an undisclosed number of its Jaga UAVs to the Indian MoD by the end of May.

The spokesperson said that Jaga is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) quadcopter that “can be deployed from any terrain without the need for a conventional runway”. The UAV has an endurance of five hours, a speed of 18–21 m/s, and an operating altitude of up to 400 ft above ground level, the spokesperson added.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/royal-navy-brings-in-banshee-to-build-rpas-capability

The UK Royal Navy (RN) has purchased seven QinetiQ Banshee Jet 80+ remotely piloted air systems (RPA...

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