Thales, Scheibel complete S-100 UAS flight trials

by Richard Scott

Trials of the Camcopter S-100 took place off the North Wales coast in August. The I-Master radar gimbal unit is clearly visible beneath the fuselage. (Thales)

Thales UK and Schiebel have undertaken first UK flight trials of a new shipborne multisensor unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed to meet emerging requirements for persistent over-the-horizon surveillance.

Leveraging Schiebel's Camcopter S-100 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS, the two companies have developed an end-to-end maritime intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) solution designed to detect, fix, track, and identify surface threats such as fast inshore attack craft or waterborne improvised explosive devices. Initial flight testing with the multipayload system – including both radar and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors – was undertaken in west Wales during August 2021.

Thales and Schiebel announced in June that their teaming to pursue opportunities in the maritime UAS sector, with an initial focus on the UK market. According to Matt Moore, Thales business development lead for maritime air autonomy, the teaming with Schiebel reflects emerging customer requirements for more capable maritime UASs offering a wide area surveillance capability.

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AFA 2021: USAF, Lockheed Martin select Collins Aerospace for new C-130J wheel, brakes

by Pat Host

The Collins Aerospace Goodrich C-130 Carbon Brake and Lock Ring Wheel. The company is providing the system to the USAF for 60 C-130Js. (Collins Aerospace)

The US Air Force (USAF) and Lockheed Martin have picked Collins Aerospace to provide boltless wheels and carbon brakes for 60 Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, according to a Collins Aerospace statement.

Collins Aerospace will provide its Goodrich C-130 Carbon Brake and Lock Ring Wheel system as part of this award. It features a two-piece aluminum lock ring wheel that provides for easier maintenance and a lock ring design that eliminates the need for tie bolts.

Collins Aerospace spokesman Al Killeffer said on 14 September, ahead of the Air Force Association's (AFA's) annual conference, that the company will provide approximately 240 wheels and 240 brakes, four per aircraft, as part of this contract. Collins Aerospace will start delivering these new integrated wheel systems in January. Killeffer declined to specify the value of the award.

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UK to explore alternative PNT methods

by Richard Scott

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a cluster of contracts under which industry will explore novel means of timing and navigation in the event of disruption to global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs).

The Alternative Navigation research initiative will investigate alternative techniques to provide a position, navigation, and timing (PNT) solution in order to improve resilience to GNSS denial.

GNSSs operate by computing signals broadcast from a constellation of synchronised satellites. Its use increasingly underpins precise and secure navigation for military users, but it is vulnerable to interference, spoofing, signal blockage or constellation failure that may result in GNSS denial.

Accordingly, the Space Delivery Team within the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation has placed seven contracts, worth a total of about GBP3.8 million, with six companies. Three different approaches to PNT are being addressed.

Teledyne UK was contracted to explore a resilient timing source that is designed to maintain accuracy if GPS is not available. The focus is on atomic clock technology, particularly Quantum Clocks.

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UK to deploy more intelligence personnel to monitor Russia and China

by Tim Ripley

Additional UK military intelligence personnel are being deployed to overseas locations as part of growing strategic competition with Russia and China, according to the head of the UK's Defence Intelligence organisation.

During a rare public appearance at DSEI 2021 in London on 16 September, the organisation's chief, Lieutenant General Jim Hockenhull, said this was part of a wider revamp of how Defence Intelligence gives early warning of crises to political decision makers and monitors the build-up of Chinese and Russian military capabilities.

He said this involves a move away from reliance on traditional classified intelligence-collection methods towards the exploitation of open-source information and commercial services, as well as the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to process the “deluge of information” now available to intelligence analysts.

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Thales UK and Schiebel have undertaken first UK flight trials of a new shipborne multisensor unmanne...

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