Unmanned & Robotic

Turkish drone maker spreads its wings

The Turkish drone manufacturer, Baykar, has announced another export sale, increasing its international market to more than two dozen countries. Its latest deal is a US$370-million contract to provide Kuwait with armed Bayraktar TB2s. [node:read-more:link]

Iranian drone engines investigated

The intricacies of global supply chains are underscored by the discovery that some Iranian drones used by Russia against Ukraine are powered by Rotax engines akin to those used in snowmobiles. They are manufactured by an Austrian subsidiary of Quebec-based Bombardier Recreational Products, which was spun off from Bombardier Incorporated in 2003 but BRP says the engines were not sold by any authorized distributors and has referred the issue to authorities. [node:read-more:link]

NORAD upgrade a huge challenge

Since Canada announced its plan last June to spend $4.9 billion over six years to modernize North American defences, it has become clear that there are significant technical obstacles to overcome. Improved satellite coverage, over-the-horizon radar and deployment of undersea sensors and surveillance in the Arctic are among them and while Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, head of Canadian Joint Operations Command, says Canada has “decent domain awareness right now”, it continues to work with the U.S. on key elements of the NORAD upgrade. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian components in Iranian drones

Parts manufactured in more than a dozen countries, including Canada and the U.S., were found in an Iranian drone downed in Ukraine last fall, according to a Ukrainian intelligence assessment. While specific parts were not named in the assessment shared with U.S. officials, is further proof that despite sanctions, often complicated supply chains enable Iran to acquire commercially available technology. [node:read-more:link]

Mammals beat tech in USN role

The U.S. Navy has been training bottlenose dolphins and sea lions since 1959 to recover lost equipment, intercept intruders and detect buried sea mines. It had planned to wind down much of the program this year, relying more on drones and other sensors, but it seems the mammalian platforms are still much more effective. [node:read-more:link]

Drone strikes deep into Russia

A Russian air base some 600 kilometres from Ukraine is reported to have been struck by a Ukrainian drone early today. Russian officials say that it was shot down but that three service personnel on the ground were killed by falling debris. The Engels base is home to Tupolev-95 and -160 bombers which have been used to strike Ukraine but authorities say no aircraft were damaged. [node:read-more:link]

Drone Guard: the complete C‑sUAV solution

The proliferation of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAV) places a heavy burden on those responsible for countering them. From small commercial drones being flown into airport air space or sporting events, all the way through to sophisticated loitering weapons systems that attack high value military targets, the mission of detecting and neutralizing sUAVs is a very difficult task. Understanding the challenge is the first step in formulating an effective response. [node:read-more:link]

Turkey debuts unmanned fighter

The Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar Tech has disclosed that it conducted the first flight of its Bayraktar Kizilelma drone which is expected to be deployed from a new naval flagship. The flight to and from Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport, which is used for military and civil operations, lasted 18 minutes. [node:read-more:link]

Western components in Iranian drones

Iranian drones used by Russian forces to attack Ukraine’s essential infrastructure are “almost exclusively” made of manufactured in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, according to a British organization that tracks illegal weapons. Damien Spleeters, deputy operations director at Conflict Armament Research, acknowledges that “it would be unrealistic to think that we can control every single model of component that can be used . . . but certainly, the tracing, the record-keeping, the visibility on the supply chain can be improved.” [node:read-more:link]

No U.S. hand in Ukraine strikes

According to Secretary of State Antony Blinkin, the U.S. “neither encouraged nor enabled” Ukraine to mount drone attacks at Russian airbases, one close to the border but two strikes hundreds of kilometres inside Russia. Ukraine itself has not commented on the tactic as Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to warn NATO members against crossing “red lines” by supplying long-range weapons to Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

BAE proposing radical IFV

BAE Systems Land & Armaments is proposing a radical replacement for its M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, which has been in service with the U.S. Army since 1981. While there’s a basic similarity, a seminal difference in the “optionally manned” design unveiled November 30 is the replacement of its large diesel engine, which has a readily-targettable heat signature, with a hybrid-electric system distributed throughout the armoured hull. That also frees up internal space to relocate other components. [node:read-more:link]

Iran renewing tanker attacks?

Debris recovered from an Israeli-owned oil tanker attacked in international waters off Oman last week has prompted the U.S. Navy to say today that it was the same type of Shahed-136 drone that Iran has supplied to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The drone’s explosion caused minor damage to the Liberian-registered ship’s stern above the waterline. There was a similar attack on another Israeli tanker off Oman in July 2021 but Iran denied responsibility. [node:read-more:link]

Military and space programs trouble Boeing

Reporting a third-quarter loss of nearly US$3.3 billion, Boeing said October 26 that a charge of nearly $1.2 billion on its 737-based KC-46A Pegasus tanker as well as “unfavourable performance” in other military programs were key factors. Another significant cost was a $2.8 billion against its National Aeronautics & Space Administration commercial crew program. [node:read-more:link]

Suicide drones batter Kyiv

Ukraine’s capital was struck October 17 by waves of explosive loitering munitions, Iranian-supplied Shahed drones, which hit energy infrastructure, set buildings afire and killed civilians. The barrage was the second in as many weeks. [node:read-more:link]

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