Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tamir Eshel

1217 POSTS 20 COMMENTS

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    Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 delivers supplies to the International airport of Aden, Yemen, recently taken by Yemeni forces loyal to ousted president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi

    Fighters loyal to Yemen’s government-in-exile on Friday clashed with Houthis inside the rebel-held Al Anad Air Base, the country’s largest, after capturing most of the surrounding area. Asharq Al-Awsat reported from Aden, Yemen.

    The pro-government forces, known as the Popular Resistance, have set their sights on the air base since they captured the southern city of Aden earlier this month in a closely coordinated operation with Saudi-led coalition forces.

    The base is located in the southern Lahej province, 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of the newly captured Aden. It served as the headquarters for US counterterrorism operations in southern Yemen until Houthi insurgents consolidated their control of Sana’a in late 2014.

    On the same day two Saudi planes arrived in Aden on Friday bringing equipment to reopen the city’s international airport following four months of fighting, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported. Fighters loyal to President

    Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 delivers supplies to the International airport of Aden, Yemen, recently taken by Yemeni forces loyal to ousted president  Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
    Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 delivers supplies to the International airport of Aden, Yemen, recently taken by Yemeni forces loyal to ousted president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
    , backed by Saudi-led coalition forces, captured the strategic city of Aden and its airport from Houthis on July 14.

    Houthis entered Aden in late March, prompting Hadi to seek refuge in Saudi Arabia and call on the Kingdom to intervene militarily in Yemen. In response to his call, Riyadh has been bombarding Houthi positions for more than three months in an effort to restore the beleaguered president to power.

    Meanwhile, ISIS’ Aden Province – a militant terror organization in Yemen affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) – released a series of photos over the weekend, claiming the group has renewed operations at a training base near Yemen’s coastal city of Aden.

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    Authorities blamed the attack was a terrorist attack but did not specify which terror group was behind it, the country's Interior Ministry said

    A still taken from a video shot at the moment of the detonation in Suruc. Photo via Daily Telegraph
    A still taken from a video shot at the moment of the detonation in Suruc. Photo via Daily Telegraph
    A still taken from a video shot at the moment of the detonation in Suruc.

    An explosion ripped through a rally Monday in the Turkish border town of Suruc, leaving at least 27 people dead and wounding 100 others Authorities blamed the attack was a terrorist attack but did not specify which terror group was behind it, the country’s Interior Ministry said. Turkish officials have said the evidence they have suggests the attack was a suicide bombing carried out by Islamic State, Reuters reported.

    The location of the attack is close to the town of Kobani on the Syrian border, where Druze managed to drive ISIS out of the beleaguered town few months ago.
    The location of the attack is close to the town of Kobani on the Syrian border, where Druze managed to drive ISIS out of the beleaguered town few months ago.

    The explosion occurred at midday at the Amara Cultural Park in Suruc, where a group had gathered Suruc is across the border from that Syrian city, which was the scene of intense fighting between Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces and ISIS.

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    Of the roughly 800 criminal Internet forums worldwide, Darkode represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world

    The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI announced yesterday the results of Operation Shrouded Horizon, a multi-agency investigation into the Darkode forum that spanned over 20 countries worldwide. Among those results were charges, arrests, and searches involving 70 Darkode members and associates around the world; U.S. indictments against 12 individuals associated with the forum, including its administrator; the serving of several search warrants in the U.S.; and the Bureau’s seizure of Darkode’s domain and servers.

    “Of the roughly 800 criminal Internet forums worldwide, Darkode represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world,” said U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton. “Through this operation, we have dismantled a cyber hornets’ nest of criminal hackers which was believed by many, including the hackers themselves, to be impenetrable.”

    During the investigation, the Bureau focused primarily on the Darkode members responsible for developing, distributing, facilitating, and supporting the most egregious and complex cyber criminal schemes targeting victims and financial systems around the world, including in the United States.

    Darkode was, in effect, a one-stop, high-volume shopping venue for some of the world’s most prolific cyber criminals. This underground, password-protected, online forum was a meeting place for those interested in buying, selling, and trading malware, botnets, stolen personally identifiable information, credit card information, hacked server credentials, and other pieces of data and software that facilitated complex cyber crimes all over the globe.

    Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI — with the assistance of our partners in 19 countries around the world — announced the results of Operation Shrouded Horizon, a multi-agency investigation into the Darkode forum. Among those results were charges, arrests, and searches involving 70 Darkode members and associates around the world; U.S. indictments against 12 individuals associated with the forum, including its administrator; the serving of several search warrants in the U.S.; and the Bureau’s seizure of Darkode’s domain and servers.
    Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI — with the assistance of our partners in 19 countries around the world — announced the results of Operation Shrouded Horizon, a multi-agency investigation into the Darkode forum. Among those results were charges, arrests, and searches involving 70 Darkode members and associates around the world; U.S. indictments against 12 individuals associated with the forum, including its administrator; the serving of several search warrants in the U.S.; and the Bureau’s seizure of Darkode’s domain and servers.

    The Darkode forum, which had between 250-300 members, operated very carefully — not just anyone could join. Ever fearful of compromise by law enforcement, Darkode administrators made sure prospective members were heavily vetted.

    Similar to practices used by the Mafia, a potential candidate for forum membership had to be sponsored by an existing member and sent a formal invitation to join. In response, the candidate had to post an online introduction—basically, a resume—highlighting the individual’s past criminal activity, particular cyber skills, and potential contributions to the forum. The forum’s active members decided whether to approve applications.

    Once in the forum, members—in addition to buying and selling criminal cyber products and services—used it to exchange ideas, knowledge, and advice on any number of cyber-related fraud schemes and other illegal activities. It was almost like a think tank for cyber criminals.

    The takedown of the forum and the charges are the result of the FBI’s infiltration, as part of Operation Shrouded Horizon, of the Darkode’s membership. The investigation of the Darkode forum is ongoing. “Law enforcement infiltrated a closed criminal forum—no easy task—to obtain the intelligence and evidence needed to identity and prosecute these criminals.” the FBI said, “This action paid off with a treasure trove of information that ultimately led to the dismantlement of the forum and law enforcement actions against dozens of its worst criminal members around the world.”

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    As part of the get-well plan about 80 Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) graduates over the next 12 months will be assigned to RPA positions for one assignment tour to help alleviate growing pressure on overtaxed RPA crews.

    In response to a critical shortage of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) pilots, the U.S. Air Force is investing more than $100 million to buy more ground control stations, simulators and contract instructors. The service will be placing some newly minted pilots in RPA squadrons beginning in August and is offering bonuses of up to $15,000 per year for RPA pilots, beginning in fiscal year 2016.

    The high demand for RPA missions and the shortage of air crews to support those missions are subjecting RPA pilots to excessive workload. “On average, an MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper pilot flies up to 900 hours per year,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “In comparison, fighter pilots fly an average of 250 hours. Due to the demand for services, the MQ-1/9 enterprise is the second largest in the regular Air Force behind only C-17 (Globemaster III) pilots.”

    In an effort to increase the number of personnel available to support RPA missions the Air Force increased the use of Guard and Reserve Airmen, as well as contractors. In parallel, the Pentagon agreed to reduce the number of required combat air patrols from 65 to 60 by October. Air Force leaders are currently working reprogramming actions within the DOD and Congress to reallocate funding to critical areas like the RPA program.

    The $100 million is part of the omnibus and subject to congressional approval. The omnibus is a tool available to move funds to areas identified as critical mission need areas. Initiatives include buying six next-generation ground control stations, more training simulators and associated facilities, improved software tools, and accelerating the development of automatic takeoff and landing capability.

    As part of the get-well plan about 80 Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) graduates over the next 12 months will be assigned to RPA positions for one assignment tour to help alleviate growing pressure on overtaxed RPA crews. This addresses a constant demand for real-time ISR in support of combatant commander needs. Those UPT graduates selected will be trained to operate MQ-1B or MQ-9 RPAs. The UPT pipeline will be used for one year, while the RPA-unique training pipeline increases from approximately 190 to 300 RPA pilot graduates per year. The last time the Air Force placed a UPT graduate directly into the RPA career field was 2011. According to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, those selected for RPA duties will serve one tour and then be placed in manned aircraft if desired after completion of that tour. “This will help the Air Force achieve a healthy steady state for the RPA enterprise as soon as possible.” Welsh explained

    While the Pentagon and USASOC regard Jade Helm 15 as one of many military exercises taking place in the USA and abroad conspiracy theories are considering the exercise as the Pentagon's preparation for a civil war.

    usasoc_logo425The U.S. military is launching ‘Operation Jade Helm 15′ today, a large scale exercise taking place over several states. The Special Operations Command (USASOC) will supply the vast majority of the roughly 1,200 personnel participating in the joint exercise, along with units from the Navy, Marines and the Air Force. The exercise will span over two months, from July 15 through September 15.

    While the Pentagon and USASOC regard Jade Helm 15 as one of many military exercises taking place in the USA and abroad, Jade Helm 15 has created much criticism among citizens, concerned that the exercise is part of a major intelligence gathering activity against US citizens. “This overall training exercise is designed to ensure that Army special operations forces are trained, equipped and organized to meet future threats,” USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria said, adding that criticism among journalists ‘has died down.’ However, Journalists are not permitted to embed in the operation. “the scope and scale and complex nature of the training exercise,” Lastoria said.

    While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart. “To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states.” USASOCsaid. However, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.

    “We periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies” USASOC announced. The exercise will take place across seven states and primarily occur on pre-coordinated private property and military installations.

    The training will take place in the following locations:
    • Arizona: National Guard Training Centers and at an Army Reserve Center
    • Florida: Eglin Air Force Base
    • Louisiana: Camp Beauregard
    • Mississippi: Camp Shelby, Naval Research Laboratory ˗ Stennis Space Center, and U.S. Navy Seabee Base at Gulfport/Biloxi
    • New Mexico: Cannon Air Force Base, and tentatively in Otero County
    • Texas: Camps Bullis and Swift, and in Bastrop, Burleson, Brazos, Edwards, Howard, Hudspeth, Kimble, Martin, Marion, Real, Schleicher and Tom Green Counties
    • Utah: Carbon and Emery Counties

    Exercise jade helm 15 - Operations map
    Exercise jade helm 15 – Operations map

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    The terrorist groups in Sinai having MANPADS in their possession, present a high risk to commercial airlines flying in the region.

    Terrorist firing MANPADS against Egyptian military helicopters in Sheikh Zuweid, northern Sinai, of the Islamic State (ISIS). The terrorist groups in Sinai having MANPADS in their possession, present a high risk to commercial airlines flying in the region.
    A C-MUSIC system has already been installed on one of ElAl Boeing 737-800 aircraft for testing. The system has also went through extensive testing phase installed on an Israel Air Force Boeing 707 flying tanker. Photo: Elbit Systems
    A C-MUSIC system has already been installed on one of ElAl Boeing 737-800 aircraft for testing. The system has also went through extensive testing phase installed on an Israel Air Force Boeing 707 flying tanker. Photo: Elbit Systems
    Terrorist firing MANPADS against Egyptian military helicopters in Sheikh Zuweid, northern Sinai, of the Islamic State (ISIS). The terrorist groups in Sinai having MANPADS in their possession,  present a high risk to commercial airlines flying in the region.
    Terrorist firing MANPADS against Egyptian military helicopters in Sheikh Zuweid, northern Sinai, of the Islamic State (ISIS). The terrorist groups in Sinai having MANPADS in their possession, present a high risk to commercial airlines flying in the region.

    Missile defense systems have reportedly been installed on Israeli commercial flights servicing the southern city of Eilat. The system, developed by Elbit Systems has been approved for service on commercial airliners last year and has been selectively deployed on international flights to destinations deemed ‘high risk’ by Israel’s security services.

    According to news reports in Israel, the Israeli defense establishment gave the order to deploy the SkyShield missile defense systems to Arkia and Israir flights to Eilat two weeks ago, after an Islamic State-affiliated group carried out a major offensive against the Egyptian military in the Sinai. Egyptian Islamic groups affiliated with the Islamic State have released video clips showing firing of Man Portable Air Defense Missile Systems (MANPADS) in Northern Sinai.

    Arkia B757 landing in Eilat city airport. Photo: Rozenberg Igor
    Arkia B757 landing in Eilat city airport. Photo: Rozenberg Igor

    Eilat is served by two airports – the local city airport located adjacent to the city’s tourist center and the civilian annex of the military airfield in Ouvda, supporting the larger carriers.

    The Israelis are concerned that terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula may try to attack planes flying near the border between Israel and Egypt en route to and from Eilat.

    The SkyShield is based on Elbit Systems’ C-MUSIC podded DIRCM system that combines a missile approach warning and laser countermeasure system to defeat heat-seeking ground-to-air missiles. The system is a derivatives of the MUSIC system deployed on a wide range of military and VIP aircraft.

    The recent tests validated Iron Dome's capabilities as a fully-integrated VSHORAD asset, providing a high level of protection for point targets as well as deployed forces, offering C-RAM, C-UAV and air-defense capabilities.

    Smoke trails from two Iron Dome interceptors defeating Grad rockets launched from Gaza at Sderot. November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    Iron Dome's Tamir interceptor missile - now proven for VSHORAD and C-UAS application. Photo: Defense-Update
    Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor missile – now proven for VSHORAD and C-UAS application. Photo: Defense-Update

    Israel has expanded the effective envelope of its Iron Dome Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) defense system. In a recent test series the system’s air defense capabilities against aerial vehicles other than rockets, was demonstrated. Iron Dome was originally designed to intercept short- and medium-range rockets, but, since its first deployment in 2011, its operational envelope has been enhanced to face growing threats. The need to engage aerial targets such as UAVs is currently recognized, with the growing use of UAVs by all sides in asymmetric warfare.

    “This test series was designed to expand the Iron-Dome’s capabilities against an ever growing spectrum of threats. The successful test will upgrade the operational capabilities of the Iron-Dome system” the IMOD announcement said.

    Through the recent test series Iron Dome performed as a Very SHort Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) asset, utilizing its radar to detect and track targets representing manned and unmanned aircraft. The system’s Tamir interceptors repeatedly killed the targets at high and low altitude, in look-up and look-down engagements, and in proximity as well as direct hits. According to the system’s designer RAFAEL, one of the highlights of the recent test series was the intercept of several targets representing unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Such vehicles are elusive targets for conventional air defense systems, which are designed to engage high-speed targets. Iron Dome proved it is fully capable of engaging such threats over a wide speeds and altitudes envelope.

    The recent tests validated Iron Dome’s capabilities as a fully-integrated VSHORAD asset, providing a high level of protection for point targets as well as deployed forces, offering C-RAM, C-UAV and air-defense capabilities.

    Shahed 129
    The Iranian Shahed 129 if flight, seems very similar to the Israeli Hermes 450.

    While the system’s ability to kill aerial vehicles has been proven, its integration with Israel’s anti-aircraft assets has yet to be determined, as, to date, Iron Dome has been tasked exclusively against ballistic targets. Enabling the system to act as a VSHORAD system will require further integration to enable the system to share the same ‘air picture’ as the MIM-104 Patriot missiles and IAF fighter aircraft get. Once this is achieved, Iron Dome is expected to provide the Israel Air Force with a more economical interceptor against enemy drones. So far, Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-2) interceptors were used against suspected UAV targets over the Golan and above the Gaza strip. On other instances in 2006 and 2012 F-16s were scrambled to intercept Hezbollah and Iranian drones, the most recent, likely to be Shahed 129 was shot down over Israel after a long pursuit.

    Malloy Aeronautics has recently flown the second-generation Hoverbike prototype, a larger aerial vehicle that is capable of lifting a person of at least 100kg

    The second prototype of Malloy Aeronautics' Hoverbike UAV shown on a test flight. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics
    The ‘second generation’ prototype of Malloy AeronauticsHoverbike UAV shown on a test flight. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics

    The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle (TRV) concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground threats by giving them a 3-D mobility capability. The Army considers this disruptive technology for its potential to increase Soldier protection at the squad level and below.

    The feasibility study of the technology recently concluded, and indicates successful performance. During the next three to five years, ARL, a part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) will partner with Malloy Aeronautics, a United Kingdom-based aeronautical engineering company, and SURVICE Engineering Company, a Maryland-based defense firm, to deliver full-sized prototypes and analysis for evaluations and assessments in military applications.

    The TRV concept could unburden Soldiers while increasing their capabilities regardless of the environmental conditions, in manned and/or unmanned operations. Besides mitigating the dangers of ground threats, capabilities for the TRV concept could include aiding in communication, reconnaissance, and protection; sensing danger or even lightening the Soldiers’ load.

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    The ‘Hoverbike’ from Malone Aeronautics is developed as a man-portable drone, a ‘hoverbike’, carrying an average person, or a cargo lifting drone carrying loads from small parcels to 800 pounds pallets. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
    Chris Malloy and his Hoverbike. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics
    Chris Malloy and his Hoverbike. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics
    The Drone-3 foldable quadrotor designed by Malloy Aeronautics employs the principle design of the Hoverbike, in a smaller scale. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics
    The Drone-3 foldable quadrotor designed by Malloy Aeronautics employs the principle design of the Hoverbike, in a smaller scale. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics
    The company founder Chris Malloy launched the Hoverbike in New Zealand, and later moved to Australia, before establishing Malloy Aeronautics in the UK last year. Stepping up development, Malloy turned to crowd funding in February 2014 to help raise additional money to complete the development of this innovative concept.

    The company is developing two product lines – the Drone 3 quadcopter, a quadrotor mini-drone that can be folded for carriage, and the larger HoverBike, configured in unmanned or manned variants. The company has recently flown the second-generation Hoverbike prototype, a larger aerial vehicle that is capable of lifting a person of at least 100kg. However, for safety and legal reasons the platform is currently being tested only as a drone.

    A two-rotor prototype has also made tethered flights and Malloy plans to scale up the design to support a platform that can haul up to 800 pounds.

     

    Most of the frame of the original Hoverbike was hand crafted from carbon fibre, kevlar and aluminum with a foam core. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics
    Most of the frame of the original Hoverbike was hand crafted from carbon fibre, kevlar and aluminum with a foam core. Photo: Malloy Aeronautics

    Elbit Systems will serve as the program prime contractor, with Thales Netherlands B.V its main sub-contractor which is responsible for vehicle systems integration, battery and GPS equipment.

    Royal Netherlands infantry soldiers will add advanced 'Smart Vests' as part of their combat gear, beginning 2017. The new vests will include new radios, touch-screen hand-held computers and integrated load carrying and personal armor, enhancing the protection, mobility and combat efficiency of the warfighter. Photo: Royal Netherlands Army

    Elbit Systems announced today that its subsidiary, Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd. was awarded a contract from the Dutch Ministry of Defense, to supply ‘Smart Vests’ to equip the infantry soldiers in the Benelux countries – Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. The contract, valued at approximately US$150 million, will be performed over a five-year period. The initial contract calls for the delivery of 135 pre-production systems – 80 for the Netherlands will be delivered next year, along with 40 for Belgium and 15 for Luxembourg.

    Each ‘Smart Vest’ program includes wearable and protective systems for the soldier, command and control systems, including advanced audio and data radio systems, specialized displays and C4I capabilities as well as support systems integrated in combat vehicles. The mobile communication gear consists of the PNR-1000 Software Defined MANET soldier radio from Elbit Systems’ Tadiran division, and a hand held terminal. Operated with touchscreen and integral GPS, soldiers can see each other’s location on a map, access and send information and communicate with other units or headquarters.

    “The Smart Vest is a big step forward in safety and performance of the Benelux soldiers at operational deployment,” said Vice Admiral Matthieu Borsboom, Director Defence Materiel Organisation. he said the new gear improves performance in all areas – survivability, mobility and situational awareness, improving overall command and control and operational effectiveness.

    a big step forward in safety and performance of the Benelux soldiers

    The ‘Smart Vest’ is a co-operation between the soldier modernization programs of the Benelux countries: Netherlands’ VOSS, Belgium’s BEST and Luxemburg’s COMPASS. It is the first strategic joint program of the Benelux countries, and will enhance the warfighter’s survivability and safety while increasing their combat effectiveness empowering their digital capabilities in combat. Based on Elbit Systems’ DOMINATOR system, designed to be light-weight, modular and scalable and will interface with existing systems.

    Elbit Systems will serve as the program prime contractor, with Thales Netherlands B.V its main sub-contractor which is responsible for vehicle systems integration, battery and GPS equipment. “We welcome domestic Benelux companies to join us in the project in order to strengthen the support for the local customers”. Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems commented, adding that the fact “that such advanced armies have selected our solutions attests to our technological leadership and to the maturity of our solutions”.

    The Benelux requirement is for more than 10,000 vests to be delivered through 2020. This includes 5,500 vests for lead customer the Netherlands, to begin deliveries in 2017 as part of its current Improved Operational Soldier System (VOSS) programme. Belgium has a need for approximately 4,500 systems under its Belgian Soldier Transformation (BEST) programme. Luxemburg is likely to receive few hundred systems for its Cooperative Modernisation Program of the Army for a Soldier System (COMPASS).

    The Dutch program will also benefit from the E-Lighter – a new power source developed by Fokker in parallel to VOSS. The E-lighter is a portable diesel generator, that provides 48 hours of power for the ‘Smart Vest’.

    The Smart Vest includes the PNR-1000 MANET SDR radio and hand-held tactical terminal, integrated into the load carrying and protection suite. Photo: ELbit Systems & Royal Netherlands Army.
    The Smart Vest includes the PNR-1000 MANET SDR radio and hand-held tactical terminal, integrated into the load carrying and protection suite. Photo: ELbit Systems & Royal Netherlands Army.

    Aurora's Centaur OPA is based on the Austrian Diamond DA42 aircraft, configured for manned and unmanned flight. Conversion to the unmanned flight mode can be done in a few hours, preparing the aircraft for extended airborne missions supporting clandestine operations and low-profile Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

    Aurora's Centaur OPA is based on the Austrian Diamond DA42 aircraft configured for manned and unmanned flight. In June 2015 the aircraft has flown multiple unmanned flights over the state of New York. Photo: Aurora Flight Sciences

    The Centaur optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) has flown multiple unmanned flights over the State of New York, operating from Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York during the past month. The flights marked the first time any large-scale, fixed-wing aircraft has flown at either of six FAA-designated unmanned aircraft test sites in the U.S.

    The successful test flights were conducted in full cooperation and compliance with Oneida County’s Griffiss UAS Test Site, which is managed by Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR). Flying unmanned aircraft in the US has been limited by FAA regulations on the integration of UAS in civilian airspace, as flights of military and commercial drones are limited to military-controlled areas and certain areas that were approved for research, testing and specific commercial applications last year.

    “Having Centaur lead the way in the U.S. as the first large aircraft to fly in one of the FAA-approved test sites is an important milestone for our company, Griffiss, and the FAA,” said Dr. John S. Langford, Chairman and CEO of Aurora. “This aircraft is coming into high demand from a range of customers, both military and commercial interests, in the U.S. and abroad. The flights conducted at the Griffiss site enable our company to offer these customers an aircraft that has been at the leading edge of efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft into the U.S. national airspace.”

    Aurora’s Centaur OPA is based on the Austrian Diamond DA42 aircraft, configured for manned and unmanned flight. The manned flight option enables access to airports worldwide, without the need for large transport aircraft. Conversion to the unmanned flight mode can be done in a few hours, preparing the aircraft for extended airborne missions supporting clandestine operations and low-profile Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. A wide range of payloads is available to support numerous commercial and military applications. The Centaur has been operating in Switzerland since 2012, testing sensors destined for the future Hermes 900 UAV systems.

    Designed as a general aviation aircraft, the four-seat DA42 Twin Star is also used as a manned platform by a number of users worldwide, equipped with dedicated sensor packs for ISR, COMINT and geographical surveying.

    In addition, a fully-unmanned version of the DA42, called ‘Dominator XP,’ was developed under a joint program between Aeronautics and Diamond Aircraft. In 2012 the Dominator XP began flying in Canada from Alma, Quebec, under Project Miskam, undertaken by CAE and Aeronautics to demonstrate commercial applications of UAS, in support of missions such as remote inspection of pipelines and hydroelectric installations, surveillance of forest fires, observation of critical natural resources, assessment of natural disasters etc.

    According to Langford, Global interest in the Centaur has increased dramatically in recent months, and “a number of customers have expressed interest in the one-two punch of combining Centaur’s medium altitude, long-endurance capability with unique expertise acquired on other Aurora unmanned aircraft programs,” he said. Built for very long endurance missions, Aurora’s Orion UAS set the world record for unmanned aircraft endurance, with an 80-hour flight performed in December 2014.

    centaur_opv_725

    More news photos from the Paris Air Show 2015

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    AVA 432 MXS aerobatic plane pushed back to the flight line in front of the new Ukraine AN-178 transport plane.
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    Antonov An-178 from the Ukraine made its international debut here, five weeks after making its first flight on May 7, 2015. The aircraft will have avionics suite similar to the An-148, and will use Progress D-436-148FM engines. The An-178 is proposed to replace outdated aircraft like the Antonov An-12, Antonov An-26 and Antonov An-32.
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    The Textron Systems (AAI) US Army RQ-7B dwarfs near its big brother, the USAF C-130J.
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    As little as it is, the MQ-7B Shadow can be lethal, carrying two FFLLM weapons in this armed configuration.

     

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    This combat proven IAI/Airbus Eagle I Harfang is in service with the French Air Force. It is displayed here with two EO payloads.
    tanan_mmp_725
    The Airbus Defense and Space Tanan rotary wing UAV can be configured to carry guided missiles such as this light Multi-Role Missile (MMP) from MBDA, or laser guided rockets.
    vbci_offloaded_a400m725
    Airbus A400M military transport aircraft is designed to carry payloads that cannot roll-in to the C-130J, such as this VBCI armored infantry fighting vehicle.
    brazilian_caracal725
    The Brazilian EC725 Caracal on display at Airbus Helicopters static area. Airbus has recently won several orders for this helicopters, beating rivals from the USA, Italy and the UK.
    lakota_725
    More than 130 Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters are in US military service. This is one of four helicopters playing for the ‘red force’ at the US Army training base at Hohenfels, Germany
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    Raytheon displayed the Next Generation Jammer pod on an E/F-18G ‘Growler’ wing, along with an AGM-88E AARGM anti-radiation missile.
    tomhawk_raytheon_weapons725
    Another impressive display at Raytheon was the BGM-109G Tomahawk cruise missile, on the backdrop of other air/ground and air/air weapons from the company.

     

     

    raytheons_weapons_wall_725
    A closer look at some of the weapons on that wall show (from top to bottom) the Joint Strike Missile, developed with Kongsberg of Norway, the GBU-53B (SDB II), Paveway 4, AIM-9X Block II and AIM-120C7 AMRAAM.
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    This TC-350 tethered balloon from A-NSE provides persistent surveillance over a specific area. Airships built of similar design can also carry loads and cruise for extended missions.
    airbus_eplane_725
    The Airbus E-Fan is a prototype two-seater electric aircraft being developed by Airbus Group, primarily for pilot training. This prototype was unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow 2014.
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    At the Paris Air Show 2015 Airbus unveiled a full scale mock up of the E-Fan 2.0 electric pilot training aircraft, designed for training and recreational flying.
    flaris_725
    Another recreational aircraft from Poland is the Flaris LAR-1, a five seat single engine powered aircraft equipped with a Williams FJ 33-5A. This ultralight jet airplane is designed to operate from grass airstrips. The semi-elliptical wings profile is optimized for high speed, and lift-to-drag ratio and is benign to stall. The manufacturer plans to complete certification by 2016.

     

     

     

     

     

    Second photo report from the Paris Air Show 2015 highlighting some of the Innovative systems spotted here from around the world

    flying_bike725
    The ‘Hoverbike’ from Malone Aeronautics is developed as a man-portable drone, a ‘hoverbike’, carrying an average person, or a cargo lifting drone carrying loads from small parcels to 800 pounds pallets.
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    MBDA unveiled the Enforcer, that has transformed in few years from ‘Concept Vision’ into a pre-prototype weapon, in anticipation of the German military development funding for a man portable short range multi-purpose missile.
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    Another Concept Vision is the modular ‘just in time’ assembled FlexIS missile unveiled at the Paris Air Show 2015
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    New configuration for the LHD Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
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    Thales RapidFire self propelled air defense gun recently participated in a test demonstrating Thales’ systems capabilities to encounter small UAS.
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    Airborne snipers operating this 32.5 kg Strike marksman rifle stabilizer from helicopters benefit from three-axis weapon stabilization demonstrated to assist airborne snipers hitting man-size targets from 1,200 meters.
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    Chinese weapons shown with the Chinese-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder
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    CATIC has also displayed models of the JF-17 (also displayed the real aircraft in flight), as well as its own version FC-1 (below)
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    China’s CATIC displayed several models of aircraft – manned and unmanned, including this Wing Loong, offered to several international customers.
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    The Turkish new Anka MALE UAV from TAI
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    AgustaWestland-TAI T129 attack helicopter.
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    The Turkish weapon manufacturer Rocketsan displayed a variety of weapons, including the Hisar air defense missile and SOM cruise missile, considered for integration into the F-35 in the future blocks.
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    Two of the new SM-3 variants, fitted with boosters for ground based launch application, posed near the Patriot at Raytheon’s display
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    MBDA is testing various types of lasers for counter UAV applications. The evolution of the experimental system into a weapon system could become part of Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD) systems.
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    Until lasers become the ultimate air defense weapon, Mica VL is one of MBDA’s solutions for Short Range AD (SHORAD) systems.
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    The Korean LIG 1 group displayed several missile systems, these include ship launched and ground launched weapons.
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    Larger LIG-1 missiles on display include larger air-defense missiles.
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    LIG 1 also unveiled several types of avionics, including an advanced AESA radar and targeting pod for the current and future fighter aircraft.
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    Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is also working on a future unmanned combat and reconnaissance aircraft, as seen from this model

    The Scorpion reconnaissance and attack aircraft displayed at the Paris Air Show this week is currently on its second European tour, visiting mainland Europe and the UK. Seeking international customers Textron offers the Scorpion at a cost of business aircraft - 'below $20 million per aircraft', and at a flight-hour cost of $3,000 – about 10 – 20 percent of the acquisition and operating costs of modern combat aircraft or advanced trainers.

    The Scorpion reconnaissance and attack aircraft displayed at the Paris Air Show this week is currently on its second European tour, visiting mainland Europe and the UK. Following this week the aircraft will perform demonstration flights as the guest of several European air forces, before arriving at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, UK, from July 17 to 19. Textron AirLand’s Scorpion was introduced in 2013 and has completed more than 400 hours of flight-testing with an exceptionally high mission availability score.

    Textron is aiming its new jet at countries that require extensive intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, but these missions are often carried out by non-military operators (such as certain Middle-Eastern countries that have strong national guards or internal security agencies). These operators are currently employing various ISR assets based on business aircraft and are interested in expanding their capabilities with some ‘kinetic’ effects. “We offer an operational ISR capability at the acquisition and life-cycle costs of a business aircraft,” said Ron Parker, flight test engineer in the program. According to Parker, Textron is currently producing the second Scorpion, which will be the aircraft that will undergo flight certification. It will be different from the current prototype, built as an experimental plane.

    Although its price tag is relatively low, the Scorpion features advanced capabilities, including twin-engine power, two-seat operation, large internal payload capacity, high-definition ISR cameras, wing-mounted weapons stations, and modern avionics within an all-composite structure. According to Parker, with the ability to get to an escalating situation quickly – yet maneuvering at much lower speeds, Scorpion brings the ability to see and exploit perishable intelligence and strike fleeting targets, bringing tactical advantage to demanding situations.

    Textron offers the Scorpion at a cost below $20 million per aircraft, and at a flight-hour cost of $3,000 – about 10 – 20 percent of the acquisition and operating costs of modern combat aircraft or advanced trainers. The aircraft has demonstrated high reliability and rapid ground turnaround between missions, down to 15-20 minutes at times.

    Thales I-MASTER radar was recently integrated on the  Scorpion, demonstrating multi-sensor operability on missions requiring wide area coverage. Photo: Thales.
    Thales I-MASTER radar was recently integrated on the Scorpion, demonstrating multi-sensor operability on missions requiring wide area coverage. Photo: Thales.

    Addressing UAV Market Demands With New Systems and Capabilities

    Super Heron MALE UAV at the Paris Air Show 2015

    As a pioneer in unmanned aerial systems, Israel has been a leading supplier of such systems for military and government users since the mid-1980s. Heading the field of suppliers have been two of the country’s leading arms concerns – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Elbit Systems Group. Thirty years later, these UAV primes continue to dominate the global market with Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAVs. But other players have also entered this burgeoning market, which now includes dozens of small- and medium-size companies offering complete supply chains – from small- and micro-UAS, to avionics, components, actuators and controllers, propulsion and power sources, mission payloads, and training.

    Some of these capabilities on display at the Paris Air Show include the three leading Israeli MALEs – the Super Heron from IAI, the Hermes 900 from Elbit Systems and the twin-engine Dominator XP from Aeronautics. Super Heron is making here its European debut. The new drone offers improved payload capacity and optional Heavy Fuel Engine configuration.

    Other systems on display include tactical UAS, such as Aerostar BP, the latest version of the Aerostar from Aeronautics. The new version is designed with open avionic architecture, supporting multiple payloads configurations weighing up to 50 kg. Such systems include laser designating EO, radar, COMINT and SIGINT payloads. The new version also supports automatic takeoff and landing (ATOL).

    Hermes 900 on display at the Elbit Systems pavilion at the Paris Airshow 2015. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
    Hermes 900 on display at the Elbit Systems pavilion at the Paris Airshow 2015. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

    Elbit Systems is also highlighting the Universal Ground Control Station, (UGCS) a common control station for its Hermes 900 and -450 UAS. The system is capable of concurrently control two UAS missions simultaneously using two separate communications links. With high level of autonomy that enables the operator to focus on mission execution, rather than actually flying the air vehicle the basic mission is controlled by a single operator. The system supports different applications, for example, maritime patrol for which, in addition to radar patrol and AIS operation, it provides embedded situation awareness and command and control capabilities.

    Ashot Ashkelon unveiled a hybrid propulsion system it has developed for the Rotax 912 and 914 engines at the Paris Air Show 2015. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
    Ashot Ashkelon unveiled a hybrid propulsion system it has developed for the Rotax 912 and 914 engines at the Paris Air Show 2015. It has applications both for general aviation and UAS. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

    An innovative hybrid propulsion system (HPS) developed by Ashot Ashkelon for use by general aviation aircraft also has application for UAVs. Designed as a retrofit kit for Rotax 912 or 914 engines, the system incorporates a new transmission developed by Ashot, replacing the original gearbox, motor-alternator and high capacity lithium-polymer battery for power storage. The HPS increases available power on takeoff and dashing, enable ‘silent cruise’ mode, by shutting off the engine and cruising on electrical power, or be used as emergency propulsion, in case of engine cutoff. The new transmission can also employ thrust reversal, reducing landing run on short landing strips.

    Orbiter 3 equipped with internal combustion engine has a mission endurance exceeding 20 hours. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
    Orbiter 3LE is equipped with internal combustion engine has a mission endurance exceeding 20 hours. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

    Aeronautics is introducing its latest Tactical Small UAS model – Orbiter 3LE. Unlike the standard Orbiter 3 that has been operating with more than 10 customers worldwide, an internal combustion engine powers the new LE, extending the vehicle’s mission endurance from seven to 15-20 hours. The drone can carry different payloads at a weight of 3 kg. One of the payloads carried by Orbiter 3 is the T-STAMP from Controp, carrying day/night sensors including an HD day camera and cooled IR imager. Aeronautics is also offering an electrically-powered version of the Orbiter 3B, an enhanced version that supports longer mission endurance and datalink with high data rate, supporting the high resolution imagery obtained by the new EO payload.

    Among the small and miniature UAS, Elbit Systems is introducing the Skylark I-LEX. This latest version of the Skylark is based on more than 10 years of operational experience with 30 customers worldwide.

    Skylark 1LEX from ELbit Systems. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
    Skylark 1LEX from ELbit Systems. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

    Skylark is a man-portable electric propelled UAS, best fitted for organic “beyond the next hill” reconnaissance, counter insurgency and force protection. The latest version, designated Skylark I-LEX is already operational as the standard battalion level UAS of the Israeli Land Forces, where it has accumulated thousands of operational sorties.

    The LEX version is enhanced with safety features designed for improved airworthiness, an advanced, stabilized day/night EO payload. Mission performance is enhanced through the use of automatic tracking, automatic motion detection and geo registration through video image processing, enhancing target accuracy. Equipped with algorithms derived from Elbit Systems’ Hermes family of larger UAS, Skylark I-LEX can be controlled by the fly-by-camera mode and other autonomous modes, allowing automatic tracking of fixed and moving targets. Communications now employs secured, encrypted datalink. The ground control system (GCS) can operate two aerial vehicles at a distance of 40 km. The GCS has been redesigned with modern user interface with multi-lingual support. Remote users are also supported through Remote Video Terminal allowing payload control by forward deployed operators.

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