Defence News

Belarus develops unmanned air defense system – Defence Blog

BSVT – New Technologies LLC, a Belarus’ manufacturing company, is developing a new unmanned air defense system, called the Berserk.

According to the company, the new unmanned air defense system is intended for precision firing using GShG-7.62 twin machine gun from a halt at enemy personnel and low-flying drones, helicopters and aircraft.

Berserk consists of a self-propelled tracked unmanned combat vehicle and operator AWS enabling remote control and combat operation of the robotized combat vehicle via wireless communication link at the distance of up to 5000 m in case of direct visibility up to 2000 m in an urban area.

Equipped with a modern optical-electronic system and elements of artificial intelligence, it is able to independently capture targets at ranges of up to 10 km and identify them by type.

As “Berserk” is equipped with state-of-the-art optronic systems, it is easy for the operator to control the system, as well as detect and recognize different targets.

The system high manoeuvring and cross country ability makes it a good solution for automatic guarding of any sector or object by means of surveillance or patrol.


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U.S. Space Force launches X-37B unmanned spacecraft into orbit for classified mission – Defence Blog

The U.S. Space Force has launched the next X-37B unmanned spacecraft into orbit for a classified mission.

America’s most experienced space launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched the X-37B orbital test vehicle for the U.S. Space Force at 9:14 am EDT this morning from LC-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

A live video stream of the launch showed the Atlas V lifting off into space and the separation of the rocket’s first stage from the Centaur upper stage. However, the livestream cut out afterwards due to the extreme secrecy surrounding the capabilities of the X-37B, said ULA chief executive officer Tory Bruno.

“It’s a classified mission, and what is classified about it as the details of the vehicle itself, the mission it will do on orbit and where it will do that,” he said. “Therefore we have to stop the live broadcast so that we do not make it easy for adversaries to figure those things out by having that much data about the flight and deployment.”

In a statement Sunday, the ULA said an Atlas V 501 configuration rocket launched the USSF-7 mission wit mystery spacecraft for the U.S. Space Force. In a show of national solidarity this launch will be dedicated to honor front-line responders and those affected by COVID-19. This will mark the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).

The X-37B is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the X-37B program performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.

The vehicle is the first since the Space Shuttle with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis. This United States Air Force unmanned space vehicle explores reusable vehicle technologies that support long-term space objectives.

The X-37B has a lifting body-style and landing profile that is similar to the Space Shuttle, but the vehicle is one-fourth the size. The X-37B design combines the best of aircraft and spacecraft into an affordable system that is easy to operate and maintain.

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A fleeting advantage: No time to lose for US Navy’s unmanned ambitions

Through the fog of competing priorities, fiscal constraints and a growing list of force architecture studies, one thing seems certain: The future Navy will include autonomous ships in some form.

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U.S. Army awards contract to FLIR for additional nano unmanned aerial systems – Defence Blog

FLIR Systems was awarded a $20.6 million contract by the U.S. Army to manufacture and deliver Black Hornet Soldier-borne sensors.

The company press release said that advanced nano-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will support platoon- and small unit-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) program.

In January 2019, the U.S. Army awarded FLIR an initial $39.7 million contract for Black Hornet 3’s to support the SBS program. The company is currently delivering those systems for fielding across the force.

Army has received first nano-unmanned aerial systems as part of the Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) Program in February 2019, according to a statement, announced by the Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center

Extremely light, nearly silent, and with a flight time up to 25 minutes, the combat-proven, pocket-sized Black Hornet PRS transmits live video and HD still images back to the operator. Its information feed provides soldiers with immediate covert situational awareness to help them perform missions more effectively. FLIR has delivered more than 12,000 Black Hornet nano-UAVs to defense and security forces worldwide.

“Black Hornet has proven to be a game-changing technology – a small package that can deliver a big edge on the battlefield,” said VP and General Manager of the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business line at FLIR, Roger Wells. “We’re proud to continue supporting the U.S. Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program. Enabling warfighters with a full-range of integrated unmanned solutions, both in the air and on the ground, is a strategic objective FLIR shares with the military.”

The award-winning Black Hornet is designed and built by FLIR in Norway. Deliveries will begin in late 2020.

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THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle successfully towed a 32-ton VBCI fighting vehicle – Defence Blog

Estonian company Milrem Robotics has released a short video showing successfully towed a 32-ton French VBCI infantry fighting vehicle by its THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle.

“The platoon (Estpla-32) successfully tested … towing a 22-ton Sisu APC and a 32-ton (!) VBCI infantry fighting vehicle,” on the Milrem official Twitter account.

Last week, Milrem Robotics has announced that it successfully completed the first deployment period of its unmanned ground vehicle, THeMIS, in operation Barkhane in Mali.

The THeMIS was initially deployed to Mali with the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) during a French lead counter-terrorism operation in April 2019.

Up until April 2020, the vehicle was regularly used during patrols by Estonian soldiers and for transporting supplies within their base. Altogether three Estonian platoons utilized the vehicle during their deployments.

„Partitioned urban areas can be challenging, and one cannot always depend on APC support. The opportunity to bring along a half-ton of ammunition and water to places unreachable with an APC added great value to patrols and enhanced combat capability,” said Lt Col Sten Allik, Senior Staff Officer of the Estonian Defence Forces.

“The THeMIS surprised us with its ability to withstand the tough environment. The heat and harsh terrain put the vehicle to the test; however, it passed with ease,” Allik added.

During the deployment, the THeMIS traversed 1200 km in one of the world’s harshest terrains of lava rock soil and climates climbing to 50 degrees Celsius in the shade. The UGV was operational for over 330 hours.

“We collected a lot of valuable data and feedback during the deployment and although EDF’s experience with the THeMIS was positive, there is always room for improvement,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. “However, after this experience in Mali, we are confident that the THeMIS is more than capable of supporting operations in extremely hot climates,” Väärsi added.

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Pentagon agreed additional fund to Textron Systems under the Unmanned Surface Vehicle Program – Defence Blog

On May 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense agreed a $20 million cost-plus-fixed-fee revision to contract N00024-14-C-6322 signed with AAI Corp., a.k.a. as Textron Systems, set at Hunt Valley, Maryland, according to Gabriel Alberto Bazzolo.

The contract extension includes engineering and technical services to develop Textron’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) and Unmanned Surface Vehicle program, following February 2020 approval of low-rate initial production (LRIP).

UISS is the US Navy’s first unmanned surface vehicle (USV) program of record, devised for the challenging maritime situation. It offers unmanned mine countermeasures and capabilities by employing switchable payloads and innovative devices and completed the Navy developmental test and operational assessment. It is part of a comprehensive Mine Counter Measure Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV) mission, designed to be utilized from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and other vessels.

Textron’s UISS will allow the Littoral combat ship to achieve its mine countermeasure sweep job and targets acoustic, magnetic, and magnetic/acoustic blend mine types. According to Textron Systems, the UISS program will fulfill the US Navy’s demand for a fast, wide-area coverage mine clearance capability, which is essential to offset magnetic/acoustic influence mines. The UISS also aims to deliver a high-area coverage range in a small, lightweight set with minimum effect on the hosting platform.

In September 2014, DoD granted the first contract; additions postponed its completion by September 2020 at an accrued cost of $122,1 million. Presently, work should be complete by September 2021 at an up-to-date price of $142,8 million against a potential value of $165,2 million. Manufacturing sites are at Textron’s Hunt Valley, Md. and New Orleans.

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