Saturday, March 03, 2018

Terminator Times #42

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

A USAF Reaper killed a T-72 tank in Syria.

USAF gave General Atomics a $49 million contract for upgrading the software on the Reaper drones.

Reapers are getting multirole missions with the retirement of the Predator imminent.

An USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk has achieved 20,000 flight hours.  This Global Hawk is flying with a battle space communications package.

The USAF MQ-1 Predator will be retired on March 9th, 2018.

The USAF is studying how to reduce the number of airmen needed for operating UAVs.

An MC-130 set up a forward refueling point (as a demo) for the MQ-9 Reaper.

The US Army in Korea is reported to have created a new Gray Eagle unit.

The USMC wants a Reaper on station over Helmand.

The USMC MUX drone is getting rescoped: the Corps was asking for too much industry said for the drone to be affordable.  The logistics and armed escort missions might get dumped or transferred to other drones.

The USMC is buying small UAVs for its infantry battalions.

The US Navy's MQ-25A won't purchase its first four until 2023.  It's looking like the whole program will be postponed until the mid 2020s at best, if not killed.

The US Navy is interested in the shortly to be retired MQ-1 Predators.

The US Navy's AACUS kit to convert any helicopter into an unmanned aerial vehicle is in the running for a Collier award.

The US Navy just awarded Orbital ATK (are we calling it Northrop yet?) a contract for support services for the supersonic sea skimming target system.

US Special Forces may be using swarming Coyote drones already.

DARPA is having Northrop develop an open system architecture for swarming unmanned vehicles for the infantry, both UAV and UGV.

The FBI has arrested two men (and seeking a third) for exporting UAV parts and tech to Hizzballah.

Belgium is interested in a derivative of the Predator B.

China's air force (PLAAF) conducted a military with civilian drones.

China wants to roll out its Wing Loong I-D in 2018.

China's Wing Loong family of UAVs made its Singapore airshow debut.  The Wing Loong I and II are on display.

China's Shadow Star stealthy UCAV is expected to have its first flight in 2019.

China and Italy collaborated on the Spider 103 UAV.

China's CH-4B drones receive praise for its performance in the anti Daesh campaign.

China is preparing an improved CH-4 drone with sat coms and an EW pod.

Germany will continue to fly the Heron 1 UAV.

Greece will lease Herons from Israel.

Israeli ground forces are building a drone air force.

India has been flight testing its Rustom-2 UAV.

Indonesia will take delivery of 4 ScanEagle drones.

Indonesia also bought 4 Chinese Wing Loong I UAVs.

Iran's Mohajer 6 UCAV is going into production.

The Iranian knock-offs of the RQ-170 have been involved in an air battle in Syria after a knock-off flew into Israel and then the Israelis retaliated.  An Israeli F-16 was shot down.

Israel is expanding its Heron TP fleet.

Israel's UAV experts are targeting the export market.

Nigeria wants to develop its own indigenous UCAV.

The Taliban in Pakistan confirm their deputy chief was killed by a drone.

Poland is planning on buying 4 different types of UAVs.

Russia has reequipped some of its missile batteries with UAVs.

Russia has also claims to have started testing a new unmanned helicopter.

Russia also claims to be developing a bird-shaped recon UAV.

Russia has been exercising its UAV teams in Armenia.

Russia also claims it is working on a supersonic UCAV.

Turkey received its first pair of Anka-S UAVs.

Turkey also wants to export its Anka UAVs.

Turkey is planning a new, heavily armed UCAV.

UAE has ordered Insitu Integrator UAVs.

General Atomics will be using Boeing's software for is MQ-25A entrant.  It might be more than software that GA is getting from the teaming.  GA's prototype will be unveiled in two months (supposedly).

Kratos is expanding its UAV facilities in Oklahoma.

Kratos is also looking to export some of its tactical UAVs, likely its UTAP-22.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos and Ogres):

The US Army will test its first robotic combat vehicle by 2021.

The US Army's Wingman program will produce robotic vehicles that soldiers will control when they fire.

The Marines at Miramar will soon get two driverless shuttles.

A US Navy firefighting robot has been put through paces.

Endeavour Robotics has unveiled its Centaur UGV.

MilRem rolled out its latest version of its TheMis UGV.

Singapore Technologies unveiled its Jaeger 6x6 UGV.

Singapore Technologies also unveiled its Weaponized Probot.

Turkey wants to build unmanned tanks.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle:

DARPA has handed over the Sea Hunter USV to the US Navy for further development.  Probably to leave it to die, honestly.  Though perhaps not.

China tested its USV it wants for security purposes.

Japan wants improved maritime unmanned capabilities, including USVs and UUVs.

Steber International is designing a USV for the Australian MCM missions.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles:

The US Navy is seeking money for its XLUUV's payloads, both lethal and not.

The future of submarine warfare is robopocalyptic.

ECA Group unveiled its new UUV.

Kongsberg is testing is Eelume UUV.

Software Bots:

The US Navy wants AI for specialized roles.

Israel's Rafael is investing in AI.

US SecDef Mattis is starting to question what AI means for war.

US SOCOM has requested funding for AI for target recognition for its soldiers.

Counter UAV:

Spain is soliciting for an anti uav weapon.


South Korea has joined the race to develop autonomous weapons.

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