General Atomics announces MQ-9B STOL upgrade for carrier operations
13 May 2022
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
Switchblade 600 is part of AeroVironment's emerging family of tactical loitering missile systems. (AeroVironment)
US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is preparing to conduct development tests with the Altius 700 airframe as part of the Maritime Precision Engagement-Munition (MPE-M) programme, officials have confirmed.
Addressing delegates at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) on 17 May, representatives from the Program Executive Office (PEO) of Special Operations Forces (SOF) Warrior said the Area-I Altius 700 – a new 30 lb kinetic payload solution – would support Block 1 of the MPE-M programme.
The news follows the completion of software and integration risk reduction activities for the Altius 600 payload for MPE-M.
Block 1 of the MPE-M programme includes integrating a .50 cal remote weapon station. However, AeroVironment is also supporting MPE-M test and evaluation with a variant of its Switchblade 600 loitering missile system, following a USD26 million contract awarded in April 2021.
AeroVironment's vice-president for tactical missile systems, Brett Hush, told
Gilmour develops engine to increase defence payload capacity of Eris rocket
19 May 2022
by Oishee Majumdar
The test-firing of ‘Phoenix' liquid rocket engine by Gilmour Space. Phoenix will power the third stage of Gilmour's Eris rocket, which intends to carry military and commercial payloads to LEO towards the end of 2022. (Gilmour Space Technologies)
Australian rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has developed a liquid rocket engine called ‘Phoenix' that will power “the third and final stage” of its Eris rocket to orbit, a spokesperson for the company has told Janes.
Phoenix is a regeneratively cooled, 3D-printed liquid rocket engine that “results in a more capable rocket” because it will enable the delivery of more defence and commercial payloads to space, the spokesperson added.
This includes a new surveillance satellite that Gilmour Space is developing for the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) that will be launched in one of the Eris rockets in 2023, the spokesperson noted.
Eris Block 1 comprises a series of rockets that will be partly powered by Phoenix, the spokesperson informed Janes. While the first rocket is scheduled to be launched towards the end of 2022, Gilmour Space intends to launch “two or three” more Eris Block 1 rockets in 2023.
WingXpand begins trials of its expandable wing UAV
17 May 2022
by Akshara Parakala
WingXpand UAV in flight with extended wings and conventional tail. (WingXpand)
A new WingXpand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is to be unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, WingXpand told Janes on 11 May ahead of the event.
The WingXpand UAV is a new type of fixed-wing platform with a patented expandable wing that is fully collapsible. Its original 2.13 m (7 ft) wingspan can be reduced by 60% in less than two minutes to fit the UAV into a backpack. It has a monocoque straight tapered wing integrated with a snap attach-and-locking mechanism for wing expansion, maintaining wing stability.
It uses an open architecture system with modular payload capability, to service civil and military aviation sectors in surveillance and reconnaissance roles. The UAV can support public safety and defence, survey and inspection, damage assessment, and logistics operations. It uses smart sensing recognition via Edge artificial intelligence (AI) payloads. The company said it has received two patents for the UAV's design.
Podcast recording date: 26 April 2022.
Huw Williams of our EMEA news team chairs a discussion focussed on the Russian invasion of Ukraine featuring Amael Kotlarski, Senior Analyst at Janes, Thomas Bullock, Senior Russia and CIS OSINT Analyst a...