Saturday, July 28, 2018

Terminator Times #47

Drones (UAVs):

DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy program has finished Phase 2.

DARPA is looking at using lasers to extend the missions of solar powered drones.

The USAF AFRL announced the Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie, part of the attritable Loyal Wingman project, will start testing flights this autumn.

The USAF's drone manuals are for sale on the darkweb for $150 because someone forgot to change a default password on the server they resided on.

The USAF gave out some honors to some of its airmen associated with its UAV ops.

When a USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk went down on Mt. Whitney, a horse mounted USAF unit was sent to find it.

The US Army is buying the Raytheon Coyote drone.  One of the uses is to hunt and kill other drones.  Raytheon also developed a jet engine powered version.

Replacing the Shadow drone would be a quick win for the US Army.

The USMC is seeking a drone capable of delivering up to 500 lbs to 10 km.

The USMC is testing new drone swarm technology that allows a single operator to control an entire swarm.

The USMC awarded Insitu another $8M contract.

The US Navy had a Triton UAV fly from Point Mugu in California.  One of the interesting bits was the chase plane was a ... FireScout drone.

The US Navy's ONR gave Raytheon a $30M contract for further development of the LOCUST drone swarm system for two years.

The US Navy's MQ-8C FireScout has completed IOC testing and evaluation.

The FireScout participated in RIMPAC fleet exercise.

The US Navy also wants close range UCAVs, small and medium sized, armed with rockets and grenades.

US Special Operations Command is looking at adding suicide drones to their high speed, stealthy boats.

US special forces' quadcopters have been grounded just like the USMC drones had been a few weeks ago.

Australia is buying six MQ-4C Triton UAVs for maritime patrol.

Azerbaijan wants to produce Aeronautics' Orbiter UAVs locally.

The Belgian Navy has been testing the Camcopter for its UAV requirements.

The British are looking into drone swarms for the RAF.

The Brits have been touting their version of the Reaper.

The British have cancelled their Fire Shadow loitering munition/suicide drone.

China has developed a surveillance drone that looks like and flies like a bird.

China has unveiled a new UCAV, the Yaoying II.  The Yaoying II conducted its maiden flight.

China's AVIC has created the long endurance, solar powered Qi Mingxing (Venus) UAV.

India got approval for its Sea Guardian UAVs to be armed by the US if they are bought.

Indonesia is standing up a new UAV squadron.

Israel is offering the Heron TP UAV to Vietnam.

Israel fired a Patriot Missile at an unknown UAV approaching from Syria.

Israel fired another one and shot the drone down.

Israel has added sono bouy and MAD anti submarine capabilities to the Heron UAV.

Latvia has unveiled the long range Penguin C UAV.

Lebanon is buying 6 ScanEagles.

The Netherlands are buying 4 Reapers.

Russia claims to have a very heavy flying wing UCAV that will be ready for flight testing in 2019 called Hunter-B.  This drone is supposedly going to start flight testing this year.

Russia also claims to have new multipurpose UAVs under development that rival any other.  No details were given, of course.

Russia shotdown a drone in Syria.

A Russian firm claims to have a new ML tech to fight small drones.

UAE denied claims a Houthi drone attacked the Abu Doubi airport.

AeroVironment's backlog has surged.

Airbus' VSR900 optionally manned helicopter demonstrator is nearing first unmanned flight.

Airbus' Zephyr has reached 70,000 feet and appears that it will be able to stay aloft for 100 days.  The payload may be restricted to 20 kg, however.

Boeing's new fluffy video about its MQ-25A.  It does give a nice size comparison for their bird and a F/A-18E.

Elbit and General Atomics are getting very close to being certified for their heavy UAVs to share airspace with commercial/civilian aircraft in Europe, Canada and America.

The Elbit Heron has been operating in civilian airspace and so have the Hermes 900.

A General Atomics MQ-9B conducted a transatlantic flight to the UK's RIAT.

The Same model of the MQ-9B will be certified for civilian airspace as well.

With the British buying the MQ-9B, multiple companies are lining up to enhance the system.

General Atomics tested a new integrated fuel tank and the arresting hook + HDD combo for its MQ-25 bid.

Kratos displayed two of its target drones at Farborough.

Leonardo will be fitting its SAGE electronic surveillance package into the Reaper, dispensing with the pod.

Lockheed conducted a deck handling demo for its MQ-25 entry in mid May.

Northrop is touting the ASW capabilities of the FireScout.

Rolls Royce has been given a $400M contract for Global Hawk engine sustainment.

Sierra Nevada and IAI are going to collaborate on a VTOL UAV for the US market.

Skeldar has launched is V-200B next gen VTOL UAV.

SteelRock Technologies has launched its own UAVs.

Tekever has launched its AR5 UAV.

Bolos & Ogres (Unmanned Grund Vehicles):

The US Army's ARL is making robots better team mates for soldiers.

The US Army is also developing kits to convert current armored fighting vehicles into unmanned platforms.

The US Army gave a $40+M contract to Oshkosh to develop the Leader-follower tech to allow unmanned vehicles to follow manned vehicles.

Belarus showed off its Praying Mantis UGV.

The British have selected 5 companies for the autonomous last mile resupply program.

Jordan has unveiled a weaponized UGV.

More reports of problems with the Uran-9 UGV in Syria.

Take a look at Russia's Soratnik UGV.

Roboats (Unmanned Surface Vehicles):

The US Navy will field unmanned and optionally manned ships in the near future.

The Swarmdiver (submersible USV) is getting funding for demos by the US Navy.  The role envisioned is for detecting UXO (unexploded ordnance) or potentially mines.

Robo Subs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles):

The US Navy will conduct swarming demonstrations as part of its upcoming exercises.

The US Navy will accelerate its UUV programs.

A former employee of a defense contractor for the Office of Naval Research has been found guilty of stealing secrets related to the US Navy's UUVs.  He uploaded them into his dropbox...

China is developing large UUVs, but China is downplaying it as much as possible.

Japan has started developing UUVs for hunting mines.

Russia has started testing its Poseidon nuclear armed UUV.

Software Bots:

The US Army is looking into bots that will predict when maintenance is needed on its vehicles.

The Pentagon official was alarmed at Google abandoning Project Maven.  Others are wondering why Google refuses to help the US military when it IS helping the Chinese.

Beyond Google's withdrawal from Project Maven, wither AI in war?

The Pentagon still wants the capabilities of Project Maven.

A GAO report on AI to Congress.

An AI center has been created under the DOD CIO.

The Israelis claim their newest Merkava mk 4 tank has an AI onboard to simplify crew work so they can focus on the mission at hand.

DARPA is seeking R&D into AI that can explain its decisions.

Lockheed has developed an automated enemy intent analysis software bot.

3d Printing:

The USAF is experimenting with 3d printing replacement parts for the F-35.


Google, Elon Musk and others are pledging not to build autonomous weapons.

Tech leaders are warning autonomous weapons - killer robots - are going to be wildly destabilizing and should be banned.  Twere it so easy.

The British military is looking at autonomy on the battlefield.

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