Saturday, September 30, 2017

Terminator Times #33

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

An American drone appears to have crashed in Turkey.

The US ARFL has funded an extended range desert hawk demonstration.

The USAF showed off its Reaper control center at Holloman AFB.

USAF Reapers are increasingly becoming the workhorses of the drone strikes.

The USAF is planning drone strikes in the Philippines.

The USAF is working with SOCOM on ThunderDrone, a rapid prototyping event for swarming drones.

The USAF has new simulator software for its USAFA cadets to learn to fly drones.

The USAF pilot that shot down an Iranian drone has been IDed by Reuters.

A US Army Blackhawk on security patrol in support of the UN General Assembly was hit by a commercial drone and suffered damage.

The US Army has deployed its Grey Eagle UAVs to the Philippines.

The USMC's 'Ripper Lab' has 3d printed a quadcopter.

The USMC has started equipping its infantry squads with quadcopters.

The US Navy's X-47B has been rolled out with refueling tanks attached.

The US Navy has tightened its requirements for the MQ-25 Stingray tanker, 15,000 lbs of fuel at 500 nm, which could double the strike range of the carrier airwing.

The US Navy Research Lab is attempting to fly a drone for three days in its Hybrid Tiger Program.

A US Navy LCS (USS Coronado) used a UAV to observe and target over the horizon for a missile strike.

General Atomics' competitor to the upgraded X-47B is supposed to be optimized for the Navy's tanker role.

Did a drone interfere with the USN Blue Angels?

Military bases in the US would be are allowed to shoot down civilian drones that cross into the base.

DARPA is looking into air launched drones that can carry and fire air to air missiles. with its Flying Missile Rail project.

US Reaper drones were flown to monitor the impact of the recent hurricanes in the US.

Argentina has unveiled its own MALE UAV design.

Australia has retired its Heron 1 UAVs and is sending personnel to learn how to operate the US MQ-9.

Australia is planning on equipping its army with mini and micro drones.

Belgium presented its new Raven UAVs (these are quite similar to the ones the Ukrainians apparently hate from the US).

Britain has the right to upgrade its Protector drones independent of US approval.

A British RAF Reaper stopped a public execution by ISIS.

British Watchkeepers are flying again and now have a comint mission.

Canada tried and failed to buy second hand drones.

China's CH-4  UCAV has been getting upgrades.

China's CASC is building an app to control UAVs.

China's CH-5 UCAV has been live fire testing new precision weaponry.

China's Tengoen unveiled multiple concepts for UCAVs.

Colombia has decided to shelve its indigenous IRIS drone, relegating it to a test asset, to work with AirBus on a new effort.

The European competitor for the MQ-9 Reaper will be a twin turboprop.

France is arming its Reapers.

Iran has stated its drones will continue patrolling the Persian Gulf.

On multiple occasions, Iran's drones have harassed US Navy fighters as the F/A-18Es have attempted to land on their carrier.

Iran has a weird drone war movie.

Iran has unveiled a drone base.

Israel is about the declare full operational capability of its Hermes 900 fleet.

Did an Israeli drone maker conduct an attempted strike on Armenian troops?  Israel has pulled the export license for the company to Azerbaijan.

Israel's Elbit Skylark 3 got operational approval.

IAI is still waiting on Germany's approval of the Heron TP procurement.

IAI is pitching its Harop loitering munition for maritime warfare.

Israel shot down a drone that entered the Syrian DMZ.

Israel's APG unveiled a new version of its Peres VTOL UAV.

Israeli Defense Forces will continue to use DJI drones despite some security concerns.

A multinational UAV competition was held in Kazakhstan.

Macedonia is building a UAV base in cooperation with the American 2nd Cavalry Regiment.

Philippines will receive six ScaEagle UAVs.

Poland unveiled its DragonFly loitering munition.

Russia will demonstrate new VTOL and fixed wing UAVs soon.

Russia has flown a demonstrator for its UAV intended for frigate sized ships.

Russia claims its 6th gen fighters will be unmanned.

Russia is claiming it has 50 requests for its UAVs.

Russia has claimed to have developed specialized weapons for its drones.

In Syria, a drone flown by al'Nusra was shot down by a Russian MANPADS.

Taiwan is making progress on its MALE UAV.

Take a look at Taiwan's UAV control stations.

Taiwan has also unveiled its own antiradiation drone.

A Florida company staffed by ex Israeli soldiers has equipped with a sniper rifle and grenade launcher.

General Atomics has test flown its extended range Gray Eagle drone for 42 hours.

General Atomics is pursuing a very large order for its Avenger UCAV to an international customer.

General Atomics drone pilots got shown up by video gamers.

Leonardo is confident on the start of a clean sheet VTOL UAV program by the British.

Lockheed UK developed the Outrider sub launched UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Ogres and Bolos):

The US Army is looking into autonomous capabilities, including UGVs, for its field commanders.

The US Army is experimenting with integrating robotic systems into its hunter killer teams.

The USMC is getting serious about buying robotic vehicles for its infantry.

BAe Systems has developed its Ironclad UGV.

Germany's Rheinmetall outlined multiple missions for its UGVs.

MILREM is considering its 4th and 5th gen versions of its TheMIS UGV.

Northrop has entered the UGV fray with its new Nomad.

Roboteam secured orders from the US and Israel for its mini UGVs.

Ukraine's Fantom UGV is undergoing more weapons tests.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Robo Ships):

The US Navy is poised to order at least one more ACTUV (SeaHunter) USV.

China is readying the SeaFly USV for production.

China's CASC unveiled its concepts for combat USVs.

Indra of Spain demonstrated its USV off of Galicia.

Israel's Elbit has demoed some anti sub capabilities of its USV.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo Subs):

The Proteus UUV has been demonstrated.

SRS discussed its Fusion hybrid UUV.


The US Navy is testing multiple unmanned compliments to future warships.

The US Navy is also looking into how to power its unmanned systems.

The Brits are planning lots of unmanned systems in their navy while the USN urged some caution.

Will the world restrict autonomous weapon systems?

Friday, September 29, 2017

No, Russia Isn't Helping to Build the Deep Space Gateway

At least not yet. Possibly never.

Russia's media outlets released claims Roscosmos and NASA had signed an agreement where Russia would help the US build the new Deep Space Gateway space station. 

The actual truth of the matter is that Russia and NASA signed an agreement to study how Russia might participate in the DSG.

The difference is pretty big.  

One claims the Russians are full participants.  The other, more truthful one, is along the lines of "let's talk about it."

The Russians might have aspirations for participating in deep space exploration, but to be, frank, they have slipped the delivery of their science lab for the ISS yet again.  Now it will be in 2019.  The ISS is now going on 20 years old, the Russians haven't finished their part...and they want to go into deep space?


To be fair, NASA keeps slipping their own missions, too. (also looking at you, JWST) However, the DSG is slated to start construction now in June 2022 with the second SLS launch.

However, given Russia's bad behavior on Earth and the lack of a need to make sure their scientists don't go off to sell their services to other countries (the pitch for why ISS instead of the SSC to Clinton), why bother with them?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stealth Saga: And the Dragon Quietly Roared

China's latest J-20 stealth fighter has been officially commissioned into military service, according to Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday.