Unmanned & Robotic

Reaper drones for Canada

More than six years after the 2017 Strong, Secure, Engaged policy paper disclosed plans for Canada to acquired armed drones, the Department of National Defence has confirmed plans to buy a fleet of General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers which can be fitted with Hellfire missiles at an overall cost of some $5 billion. “Should the finalization phase conclude successfully, contract award is expected within this fiscal year,” says DND spokesperson Jessica Lamirande. “We expect the first delivery in 2028.” [node:read-more:link]

Turkish financiers sanctioned

The U.S. imposed sanctions September 19 on four companies and seven individuals in China, Russia and NATO member Turkey for alleged connections with Iran’s drone program. The Turkish persons accused are two money exchangers. Iran’s president has denied that his country supplied drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Loitering in the Arctic?

Israeli manufacturer UVision tested its Hero-120 loitering munition in the Arctic for the first time earlier this year as officials looked to market expansion. Without disclosing where the tests took place, a company official said recently that they were monitored by several countries with Arctic warfare capabilities. [node:read-more:link]

India scores lunar touchdown

India’s rover-equipped Vikram spacecraft landed today near the lunar south pole, an area of scientific and strategic interest believed to house water ice deposits. another nation’s failed attempt to do the same. The success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission came only a few days Russia’s Luna 25 spacecraft crashed while trying to land in the same area. [node:read-more:link]

Russian lunar mission fails

Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years failed August 19 when it crashed while preparing for a pre-landing orbit. The landing near the moon’s south pole had been planned for today but Roscosmos said “the apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface.” [node:read-more:link]

Drone exports limited by China

Officially neutral insofar as the Ukraine-Russia conflict is concerned, China today restricted exports of civilian drones which could be converted to military use. The restrictions apply to drones which can fly beyond line-of sight, be used to throw objects and weigh more than seven kilograms. [node:read-more:link]

Emirati European takeover approved

The European Commission has approved a United Arab Emirates-based Edge Group takeover of Estonia-based Milrem Robotics after a five-month security review of the potential impact on European collaborative defence programs. Milrem CEO Kuldar Väärsi suggested that his company’s “very strict internal policies” about sharing European Union and NATO information was a key factor in the decision which will enable Milrem to keep working on EU-funded programs. [node:read-more:link]

Saudis opt for Turkish drones

Financial details weren’t announced but Saudi Arabia has contracted with Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar for what is described as the biggest sale between the two countries in the history of Turkey’s defence industry. The Saudis will be the third Gulf country after Qatar and Kuwait to operate Baykar drones. [node:read-more:link]

Odesa seaport struck by Russia

Six Russian cruise missiles were shot down during an overnight attack on the Black Sea port of Odesa hours after Russia pulled out of an agreement which enabled Ukraine to export grain. However, port infrastructure and private homes were damaged. [node:read-more:link]

Tank project rebooted

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his French counterpart, Sebatien Lecornu, have agreed to reinvigorate a moribund plan to collaborate on developing a next-generation main battle tank which would work with drones and robots. They said today that their goal is to replace their fleets of Leopard 2 and Leclerc MBTs between 2035 and 2040. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese balloon collected no data

The U.S. Defence Department press secretary, Air Force Brigadier-General Pat Ryder, said June 29 that the Chinese “spy balloon” that caused political uproar in Canada and the U.S. before it was shot down last February collected no data during its week-long transit. [node:read-more:link]

European robotics plan delivers

Less than three years after receiving the equivalent of US$39 million in funding, a consortium of 13 entities in seven European countries has delivered a common-architecture Modular Unmanned Ground System to the European Commission. “This project set a great example of cooperation and high-level results which we can expect also from coming European Defence Fund Projects,” an official in the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments said in a statement issued June 6 by Tallin-based Milrem Robotics. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Army ends down autonomous truck project

The U.S. Army has pulled the plug on a six-year experiment with autonomous truck convoys, conceived as a way to keep troops out of harm’s way. Oshkosh Defense in Wisconsin and Robotic Research in Maryland have been contracted to wind down the project as the Army reconsiders its options. [node:read-more:link]


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