Russia tests Orion UCAV in air-to-air role

by Samuel Cranny-Evans

Russia has tested its Orion UCAV in an air-to-air engagement against another UAV. This screenshot from video footage of the test shows the launch of what appears to be a Kornet variant during the test. (Russian MoD)

Russia has tested an Orion unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) in an air-to-air engagement against a rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during tests in Crimea, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported on 19 December.

The Orion was shown taking off with a missile tube under each wing and tracking the rotary wing target before engaging it with a missile that appears to be a variant of the 9M113 Kornet anti-tank guided missile family. The engagement reportedly took place at a range of 4 km.

The UCAV also conducted air-to-ground engagements using the missile, the MoD said.

The missile used may be a development of the Kornet-D that was referred to as X-BPLA by an industry source cited in an 18 December Sputnik article. It was designed for use on the Ka-52 attack helicopter as well as the Forpost and Orion UAVs, the source said.


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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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Russia has tested an Orion unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) in an air-to-air engagement against...

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