UAV helicopter type Skeldar production company Saab
The development of vertical take-off and landing systems also includes the announcement in December 2015 that Saab will create a joint venture with the Swiss UMS Aero Group to promote its Skeldar UAV family. The joint venture UMS Skeldar will receive all Saab assets related to the Skeldar UAV UAV, while it will retain 47 percent of the shares in the new company. According to Saab, this partnership will place increased emphasis on Skeldar helipad marketing, combining Saab’s extensive experience in aviation sphere with the flexibility of a small company. UMS Skeldar, after its creation, announced that its UAV, including Skeldar, will integrate AMOS maintenance, repair and modernization software from Swiss company Swiss-AS.
The American company UAV Solutions continues to successfully implement the project Phoenix-30; in January 2016, four systems were supplied to the Romanian army according to the sales program weapons and military equipment to foreign countries. The UAV was delivered with the installed stabilized Dragon View optoelectronic station along with ground control stations, spare parts and ground handling equipment. The Phoenix-30 quadcopter with an electric weight of 6,3 kg can carry a load of 0,9 kg. Depending on the task being performed, the flight duration is up to 35 minutes, the maximum speed of 44 km / h and cruise speed 28,7 km / h. Typical working height is up to 150 meters. At the end of 2014, UAV Solutions supplied the same system for the Bulgarian army. Bulgarians received four systems, and the company completed operator training in July 2015.
IAI's Maritime Heron drone is able to take off and land independently from the airfield or aircraft carrier, carrying various devices and sensors that provide full-fledged information-gathering capabilities.
The Israeli company Tactical Robotics also announced new developments, in particular, the first non-tied flight of the AirMule helicopter, performed in January 2015 at Megiddo airfield in northern Israel. A single-toned vehicle is being developed as an unmanned cargo delivery system, the lifting screws of which in guide nozzles allow you to fly in an obstacle-free space where helicopters cannot work, as well as from ships that are too small for a standard unmanned helicopter. The AirMule prototype is fitted with one Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboprop, but future Arriel 2 engines will be installed with increased take-off power. The current schedule of tests at the Megiddo airfield includes plans to demonstrate the self-delivery of cargo and flights by the AirMule apparatus out of direct visibility. The export version of the system called Cormorant will be able to carry a payload of 440 kg for a distance of up to 300 km, but at short distances it will be possible to increase the payload mass. The drone has a cruising speed of 100 knots (185,2 km / h) and will be able to work at altitudes up to 5500 meters. According to the executive director of Tactical Robotics, Raft Yoeli, the AirMule unmanned aircraft will meet the safety criteria for helicopters and the company is confident that “over the next few years this system will go into operation, providing breakthrough capabilities for any armed forces or civilian organization that need robotic delivery systems for supplies and other tangible property in places inaccessible to other vehicles. "
The MQ-4C Triton UAV, manufactured by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy, is preparing to land at Patuxent River Air Base
2015 was a tough year for the Northrop Grumman program and the US Air Force for the RQ-4B Global Hawk drone. In May 2015, the RQ-4B project reached the approval stage of Milestone C (serial works), after which the modernization program could begin. This upgrade will be based on the general desire of Northrop Grumman and the United States Air Force to install various additional equipment, such as new optoelectronics, to enhance the system’s ability to provide counterinsurgency and anti-piracy operations, disaster relief operations and as air platforms of communication repeaters and information sharing. Before approval, the program demonstrated a given level of software availability and interoperability with other systems as part of the planned expenditures of the Ministry of Defense.
Northrop Grumman received a new $ 3,2 billion framework contract in September 2015 to develop, upgrade and service fleet RQ-4B drones until 2020. This contract followed several years of turbulence when the US government darted back and forth between plans to write off the fleet of these drones in favor of investing in Lockheed Martin's U-2S Dragon Lady manned reconnaissance aircraft or vice versa. The lower operating costs of the RQ-4B were victorious, and Northrop Grumman will currently carry out the upgrade work. Major Robert Liz, spokesman for the US Air Force Communications, explained that the contract for an indefinite quantity and delivery timeline will support future work to improve the RQ-4B project over the next five years, during which modernization will be carried out to meet the operational needs of the US Air Force and maintain or improving the performance of the drone. “Ongoing improvements to the capabilities of the current RQ-4B UAV include upgrading and integrating sensors, modifying the ground segment, icing protection ... updating communications and flight programs,” continued Major Liz. - The purpose of this separate contract is to implement future improvements and upgrades that the US Air Force will require. These upgrades are designed to meet or exceed operational requirements in conjunction with work to improve the reliability of the entire RQ-4B system and the efficiency of task execution. ” Most likely, they will also include work to increase the drone's ability to carry a larger number of airborne sensors in order to ensure greater consistency with the capabilities of U-2S reconnaissance aircraft through the new universal adapter for airborne equipment developed by Northrop Grumman.
In a series of flights conducted in August 2015, Northrop Grumman also demonstrated a new approach to task management, during which RQ-4B responded to external requests "to dynamically change its flight path and sensor functionality." The company called it a departure from the “one user” paradigm to the “one UAV” paradigm. The work is carried out in response to customer requirements for standardized command and control systems for various UAVs, as well as in support of the broader objectives of the US Air Force related to their Common Mission Control Center (CMCC) mission control program. The demonstration, which showed the coordinated actions of the RQ-4B drone with the CMCC using the new standard of interaction between various weapon systems, showed that the device is capable of accepting advanced capabilities for managing combat missions without changing its software.
According to current plans, the life of the RQ-4B drone should end at the start of the 2030-x. “The service life of the RQ-4B drone can be defined in three ways, the calendar life of 20 years, 40000 flying hours and / or 1800 landings,” says Major Reese. “With the current utilization rate, the unit can serve even after the 2032 year without any measures to extend the service life.”
As for where the RQ-4B program is directed, then in the air force it is considered that the UAV still has a place to move and develop. “RQ-4B was an Air Force workhorse in reconnaissance operations, its contribution is invaluable. Whether it is the development of objectives, the retransmission of communication channels or the provision of humanitarian crises, this platform has proven its effectiveness, reliability and versatility. It will offer the widest range of use in the coming decade. The range and duration of the flight over 30 hours allow you to have extraordinary functional flexibility that meets the requirements of the task being performed. RQ-4B is a reconnaissance platform for the US Air Force of the future with enhanced combat capabilities that will help implement the strategic plans of the air force, ”concluded Major Reese.
Export sales of the RQ-4B are also gaining momentum. In February, Northrop Grumman, as part of an agreement with the US government to sell military equipment abroad (FMS), began production of four RQ-2015Bs for delivery to South Korea. In accordance with the contract signed in December 4, four UAVs, two ground control stations and support equipment will be delivered to the South Korean army in 2014. The Korean deal marks an important stage of the program, as this is the first sale of RQ-2018 drone vehicles in an allied country under an FMS agreement. This deal followed immediately after the Japanese government’s request made in January 4 for a similar device (also under the FMS agreement) and Australia’s selection of the sea version MQ-2015C Triton of the drone RQ-2014В by Australia in 4.
The Australian MQ-4C Triton drone will be used by the Australian Air Force for sea patrols and surveillance at high altitudes. Beginning with 2020, up to seven UAVs will be based at Edinburgh Air Base in South Australia. There, they will work in conjunction with Boeing P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft, when they enter service in the end of this decade instead of the outdated Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orion aircraft. As in the case of the MQ-4C aircraft for the US Navy, for which it was developed from 2008, the body and wings will be strengthened at the Australian drone, anti-icing and lightning protection systems are installed so that the device can descend through the clouds and take a closer look at the ships and targets at sea.
UAV MQ-4C Triton
Recent ones news The MQ-4C drone development program for the US Navy was made public in November of 2015, when the Command of Aviation Systems of the Navy announced that operational readiness assessments had begun. As part of this assessment, which was to be completed in January 2016, six UAV flights were carried out and various operational scenarios were performed to evaluate its performance at this stage of the program. These scenarios reflect three intended tasks: information gathering, surface combat actions, and actions as part of the airborne forces. He also passed the test to test the ability to detect, classify and track targets day and night; in addition, problem areas were identified for the subsequent phase of operational testing and evaluation. At the beginning of 2016, the approval of the Milestone-C stage (mass production) was scheduled. The fleet priority program provides for the purchase of 68 MQ-4C vehicles. These advanced land-based systems will provide continuous exploration of marine spaces using various sensor systems. The first three drone will be scheduled for the fleet in the 2016 year, and the first unit will be fully operational by the 2017 year.
Ground Mobile Robots
The market for ground-based vehicles remains vibrant, as technologies in the field of disposal of explosive items are improving, and new technologies are becoming more accessible. For example, in August 2015, the American company Sarcos introduced the new snake-like robot Guardian-S weighing 3,6 kg. This robot, which the company believes will be the first of its kind system available to the civilian sector, is intended for use in several areas, including public safety (combat missions, bomb blasting, hazardous substances, fire fighting, search and rescue ), security, disaster recovery, infrastructure inspection, aerospace, maritime security, oil and gas and mining. The system can operate up to 48 hours, passing several kilometers between recharging batteries. The robot can carry a set of sensors in its compartments, externally at the top of the tracked sections or inside the central section (including several cameras); It can operate in hazardous or complex locations, transmitting live video and other data over multiple wireless protocols over long distances. It can also integrate third-party sensors.
The non-volatile snake-like guardian Guardian-S is designed to work not only in the industrial sphere, but also for use in military and police tasks
Sarcos has designed this system with a mobile phone interface to provide real-time remote control using WiFi technology for distances up to 200 meters and a cellular network that extends the communication range to almost infinity (if only cellular communication is available). The Guardian-S linear caterpillar allows you to confidently overcome difficult terrain that other HMRs with parallel track placement cannot overcome, including climbing steps or passing through narrow pipes and collectors. He can also study a wide variety of vertical surfaces, climb and get out of storage tanks, pipes, ships, vehicles, etc. “The robot was originally created as part of the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Directorate for Advanced Defense Research, which was aimed at developing the innovative capabilities of the NMR for performing search and rescue operations in various complex urban environments, the company representative said. - Other projects have led to the creation of a snake that searches for mines and volumetric mapping of tunnels in border security tasks. In all cases, he proved himself to be a sensory platform with excellent access to hard-to-reach places. ”
Guardian-S was delivered to a number of unnamed customers and Sarcos believes that the ability of the system to be configured for a wide range of intelligence and search and rescue applications, local and ongoing surveillance tasks opens up interesting opportunities in the market. “Due to the excellent characteristics of this robot, we see a huge interest of commercial and government customers. It can go where other robots cannot go and move on, faster, to observe for long periods of time compared to other robots of similar sizes available on the market. We believe that market opportunities are huge for robots that have the same dimensions and capabilities as Guardian-S. I think that the needs of the global market will exceed tens of thousands of robots over the next ten years. ”
Estonian company Milrem has also created a new NMR, first presented at the DSEI 2015 fair in London. The system, funded by the Estonian Ministry of Defense and not yet specifically designated, is intended for military operations. This unit weighs 700 kg, has a diesel-electric drive, the operating time is 8 hours, and the robot can also work as an all-electric system. Although the robot is designed with remote control, it can move independently according to predetermined coordinates.
The French company Nexter Robotics in February 2015 of the year reported detailed information about the new features of its family of robots Nerva. Two new functional modules were presented: the 3D vehicle scanning module and two-way audio communication module, as well as a set of tracks, which allows to increase the deployment area on rough terrain, including overcoming steps. A lighter portable control station with simplified robot control functions was also introduced. In addition, semiautomatic functions were developed, including human following, autonomous navigation, and control of several robots.
Nexter Robotics, a French company, introduced the Nerva robot with a two-way communication module.
The iRobot 310 system has impressive maneuverability, it is equipped with a “clever” arm-manipulator and a wearable control console for dismounted operations
Threat of explosion
Northrop Grumman Remotec in June 2015 also introduced the new NMR Andros-FX. It was created on the basis of the successful Remotec F6 family and aims to supplement the missing opportunities in the market. “The combination of factors led to the FX project after we studied the market, including the documents of the national advisory board of the commanders of the explosion-engineering groups to identify areas where they lacked sufficient capabilities of the currently deployed systems,” said the head of sales at Remotec. Mark Kochak. - We also had discussions with our customers, who gave us valuable information about where to go with our products; we also explored some overseas markets and opportunities. As a result, we have developed requirements for Andros FX. The main threat, which appeared relatively recently in the USA and other countries, became cars equipped with explosives, so we focused on the handling capabilities of the hand, while simultaneously increasing its carrying capacity, as well as improving the mobility of the robot. ”
Improvements to this system include four caterpillar blocks, replacing traditional Andros crawler segments (called “articulators” by analogy with a swinging lower jaw prosthesis), and a new design arm to which roller hinges were added to provide nine degrees of freedom for greater dexterity and increased payload. The electronics has also been updated, the speed and maneuverability of the device have been increased, a new touch control unit with volumetric graphics, advanced manipulator controls and an improved user interface have been developed.
Andros-FX robotic explosives disposal complex
Although the capabilities of the FX robot are aimed at finding explosives in vehicles, it is not limited to these tasks; rather, it was created for the neutralization of explosive objects by the military and emergency services in general. In the US, where explosives teams usually do a lot of work supporting police special forces (SWAT) groups, led to the integration of equipment for SWAT. For example, the FX robot can use chemical and radiation sensors, and the ability to overcome steps allows it to enter the building as a universal intelligence tool for users. “We took Northrop Grumman’s Titus robot interface as the basis and improved it, also spent a lot of time and effort to reduce life cycle costs and to simplify system support, maintenance and repair, and even to develop an algorithm for future on-site upgrades,” continued Kochak. “And when we all connected it, we saw that there was nothing like it on the market.”
Remotec has conducted several demonstrations for US and foreign users, including blasting devices (explosive ordnance disposal), commonly used by the British Department of Defense. “The feedback we received from the manufacturer lies in the fact that the FX robot turned out to be the most stable platform from which their detonation devices were fired. In general, we receive positive feedback on the capabilities of the new system and this is a real breakthrough in the fight against such a threat. ”
Remotec has also implemented a much more open architecture in the FX project in response to requests for how it sees the system entering the market. “Customers, particularly in the United States, especially demand the ability of systems to easily integrate subsystems of other manufacturers,” Kochak continued. - This is one of the key components of the program of the American Army on an advanced robotic system for neutralizing explosive objects AEODRS (Advance Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System). Therefore, from a market point of view, entering only Remotec solutions into it, only iRobot solutions or only QinetiQ solutions is not the best approach these days. The ability to integrate the subsystems of other suppliers is what customers expect in the future. ”
The concept of an advanced robotic system for neutralizing explosive objects AEODRS (Advance Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System)
To be continued