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Ottawa, CA: Kongsberg Geospatial, developer of the TerraLens Geospatial SDK, and Larus Technologies of Ottawa, Canada, and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association of Canada (CASARA), announced today that they have been selected by Public Safety Canada to integrate geospatial software, artificial intelligence, and machine vision software to help develop new methods for the use of drones in search and rescue operations in remote communities in Canada.

Kongsberg Geospatial, Larus Technologies and CASARA are working on a new project funded by Public Safety Canada to develop new procedures for using UAS to assist Search and Rescue efforts in remote communities in Canada

The project will be funded by the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SARNIF), and has been dubbed OVERSEE – an acronym for “Optical Vision Enhancement and Refinement of Sensor Exploitation Effectiveness”. The OVERSEE project is intended to help address the unique challenges of conducting search and rescue operations in remote areas (such as indigenous communities in the Arctic and their immediate surrounding area) with UAS platforms.

OVERSEE will initially employ available search and rescue statistics from the Department of National Defence, CASARA, Transport Canada and other agencies and execute simulations driven by Artificial Intelligence. The AI will use Deep Learning techniques to investigate how BVLOS regulation effects SAR efforts that make use of drones, and how drones have been integrated most effectively in search and rescue operations, particularly for isolated indigenous communities in Canada’s North that don’t have quick access to Aeronautical search and rescue assets.

Ultimately the goal of this research is to help CASARA members and GSAR (Ground Search and Rescue) workers use BVLOS drones more effectively in search and rescue operations.

Kongsberg Geospatial will be leading the project, contributing their expertise in precision mapping, Air Traffic Management, and the development of multi-vehicle UAS control stations for BVLOS missions to help develop tools and procedures for the safe, effective use of drones for search and rescue missions in remote areas. They will also be contributing tools and training for machine vision techniques.

Larus Technologies specializes in Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems for defence applications, and will be contributing their Total::Perception™ simulation engine and Total::Vision™ computer vision technology to the project.

CASARA will be helping to gather drone video from training exercises throughout Canada in cooperation with its volunteers, as well as search and rescue event statistics from community organizations. Upon completion of the project, CASARA membership will help to circulate the SOPs derived from the project to their membership of Civil Air Search and Rescue workers and volunteers across Canada to ensure that everyone has access to the improved UAS SAR guidance.

While the project is primarily funded through Public Safety Canada’s SARNIF fund, all three partners will be making in-kind contributions in software licenses, technology, and professional services.

“I feel that this initiative by Kongsberg Geospatial has the potential to enhance our organization’s ability to provide timely and effective SAR (Search and Rescue) assistance”, said Frank Schuurmans, President of CASARA. “We look forward to working closely with Kongsberg Geospatial, Larus Technologies and DND on this project by providing SAR consultation for all requested phases, providing information and research dissemination through our existing communication channels, and by seeking volunteers from within our organization to participate in Computer Vision training activities.”

Kongsberg Geospatial president, Ranald McGillis, said that the project team hopes to help make a meaningful contribution to search and rescue operations in remote and aboriginal communities. “We and our partners believe that this project can help search and rescue volunteers save lives in isolated communities by using inexpensive, off-the-shelf drones to conduct searches until the Canadian Air Force or other aeronautical assets can join the search. We also hope to increase survival rates by showcasing how drone systems can be augmented with Computer Vision systems for improved performance.”

The OVERSEE project is expected to be completed some time in 2021.

About Kongsberg Geospatial: Based in Ottawa, Canada, Kongsberg Geospatial creates precision real-time software for mapping, geospatial visualization, and situational awareness. The Company’s products are primarily deployed in solutions for air-traffic control, Command and Control, and air defense. Over nearly three decades of providing dependable performance under extreme conditions, Kongsberg Geospatial has become the leading geospatial technology provider for mission-critical applications where lives are on the line. Kongsberg Geospatial is a subsidiary of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

By PRESS
[ Modified: Friday, 5 June 2020, 8:51 AM ]
 
Anyone in the world

The Ryerson Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team is shifting focus to bring COVID-19 relief to areas that need it most
Robel Efrem, lead engineer on the Ryerson Unmanned Aerial Vehicles team, is part of a group designing drones that can fly COVID-19 supplies and testing kits to remote communities.

Electrical engineering student Alex Coutu has been part of the Ryerson Unmanned Aerial Vehicles team, external link (RUAV) for three years and is now team captain. When COVID-19 ground everything to a halt, Coutu and the team knew they had an opportunity to take initiative and use their resources to help with relief efforts.   

The team is developing a long-range drone that has the capability to travel up to 200 kilometres and carry a load of 15 pounds. The goal is to use the drone to provide vital COVID-19 supplies, test kits and medical necessities to remote communities who are currently underserved.

“We have the knowledge and skillset to build these different vehicles at an industry standard,” said Coutu. “Given our position, and what we’re able to do, it’s really important for us to have as much of a social impact as we possibly can. It’s fulfilling for us as a team to serve communities that are in need.”

The drone designed by the RUAV team was refined over the past year, while Coutu worked out of the Design Fabrication Zone. While the design is in the early stages of testing, the team hopes to get approval from Transport Canada to fly the drone. It will be considered an aircraft with a pilot in control, who acts remotely, flying necessities to communities in Northern Canada, for example, from as far away as Toronto. Coutu and the RUAV team have been safely testing the capabilities of their aircraft design during COVID-19 by making short test flights.   

“We really believe that we can help those who lack access to necessary goods in the best possible manner,” said Coutu, who is graduating this spring with a degree in electrical engineering and will continue working in the Design Fabrication Zone this fall.

The RUAV team is made up of students across multiple faculties. Team members are currently in business and engineering streams like marketing, commerce, mechatronics, aerospace, and electrical.

By: Jessica Leach



[ Modified: Wednesday, 3 June 2020, 11:06 AM ]
 
Anyone in the world

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant increase in the number of drone delivery programmes that have been implemented and trialled across the UK and beyond.

Goldman Sachs recently reported that the global drone market could hit £80 billion if uses such as takeaway food delivery, border patrol and infrastructure surveillance are to continue their growth and become widespread.

In particular during the outbreak of COVID-19, drones have been used for the delivering of food and medical supplies to vulnerable persons in remote locations

The technology is also being utilised by the healthcare industry to transport test samples and medical supplies between facilities.

The Isle of Mull became the latest location in the UK to trial such a system, with Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership bringing in Thales and Skyports to provide the delivery of urgent medical cargo, including PPE.

Data-drive drone insurance provider flock insured the project, with CEO Ed Leon Klinger commenting: “A few years ago drone deliveries were no more than science fiction. Today they’re taking place around the world, helping to transport critical equipment like PPE and medication.”

Outside of the UK, drone deliveries for both medical and commercial purposes in Ireland, Canada, the United States and the rest of the world have grown in frequency in recent months, both before and since the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

By SAM LEWIS
[ Modified: Tuesday, 2 June 2020, 7:17 AM ]
 
Anyone in the world

Racing to beat the clock, first responders in Minot, North Dakota, tap one of the world’s top drone providers in successful rescue effort.

When a child goes missing, the first 48 hours are critical—but they are also the most stressful and chaotic.

Family members often start the clock ticking by looking in spaces where a child may typically crawl or hide: in a closet or pile of laundry, under a bed or inside a vehicle. By the time law enforcement is notified, there’s not a minute to spare. Search teams must be assembled and cover a wide area as quickly as possible.

That’s why, when a small child was reported missing in Minot, N.D. on April 26, 2020, the City of Minot Police Chief John Klug turned to SkySkopes headquartered nearby in Grand Forks and named one of the top five Drone Service Providers (DSP) in the world by Frost & Sullivan.

“We’ve conducted numerous training scenarios to use drones to find missing people, and these agencies were familiar with our search-and-rescue capabilities,” said SkySkopes CEO Matt Dunlevy. “While our drones were extremely useful, it was all due to the swift actions taken by the Minot Police Department and the Minot Fire Department that the child was found safe within just a few hours.”

Locating a missing child by process of elimination

SkySkopes has long been a trusted DSP for clients in industries such as energy, utilities, transportation and oil & gas. An innovator testing state-of-the-art drone technology and services, SkySkopes was the first company to operate under FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) waivers to fly both beyond visual line of sight and over people, which allowed them to operate in a populated area where the search took place.

Within 20 minutes of receiving the call, SkySkopes had teams on site and ready to take flight.

“When Chief Klug contacted us, we knew what to do to rapidly secure airspace permissions,” said Dunlevy. “We also had the personal protective equipment necessary to ensure our pilots and teams met COVID-19 standards, as the pandemic was happening simultaneously.”

Equipped with the most advanced, commercially available cameras, optical gas imaging (OGI) and thermal sensors, SkySkopes provided an aerial view that, through process of elimination, could show in real time where the child was or was not. This ultimately aided first responders in quickly narrowing the search and pinpointing the child’s exact location, which in this case was a neighbor’s house where the child was peacefully napping.

Responding to an emergency within an emergency—with Skyward

Since 2014, SkySkopes has been relying on Skyward, a Verizon company that’s developing the future of drone connectivity. Skyward helps SkySkopes manage its entire unmanned aerial services (UAS) program, from teams and equipment to projects, flights and aviation regulations.

“We have complete confidence in Skyward’s ability to help mitigate many of the operational challenges of search-and-rescue emergency response operations,” added Dunlevy. “In addition to rapid airspace access, Skyward offers situational awareness of our crews and assets. It also helps reduce time and cost of operations, making sure we are as efficient as possible—and that we’re socially responsible in ensuring our drone pilots are operating safely, even in the middle of a pandemic.”

Supporting our nation’s efforts to find missing children

Helping the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Verizon proudly provides donated media to support NCMEC’s essential work fighting online child exploitation, aiding victims and finding missing kids. In this year alone, Verizon will donate more than $1 million in online advertising that will be used by NCMEC to help find critically endangered, missing children.

By PRESS
 
Picture of Bruce McPherson
by Bruce McPherson - Friday, 29 May 2020, 3:40 PM
Anyone in the world

With exponential growth in the unmanned aircraft systems industry, this program is a great way for students to get a jump start!
June 22-26, 2020


K-State Polytechnic has created an interactive, exciting and flexible UAS experience for teens ages 14 to 17. The primary goal of this virtual academy is to provide students the ability to explore UAS, build foundational skills, receive mentorship and if interested, transition to the campus’s degree program and a future career.

The academy’s curriculum is derived from leading industry experts, fostering the mastery of drone fundamentals and providing a springboard to the next step. The course is a well-balanced mix of online learning and flight training that can be done anywhere you choose.

An academy instruction kit will be sent to students before the program begins that includes essentials like a log book and K-State landing pad. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a special achievement package by mail.

Borrow it, buy it, own it: Students in this course will use their own drone if equipped with a camera; but don’t worry, we can help with recommendations for a type that can withstand beginner training and be fun for time to come. Our recommended UAS for this program runs between $150-$200.

Academy overview:

  • Explore UAS flight fundamentals and maneuvers for multirotor aircraft
  • Log three hours of flight time in an official logbook
  • Learn about safety and flight planning
  • Hear stories about careers from drone experts
  • Discover your photography and video skills

UAS Virtual Academy 
June 22-26
Cost is $49 + the purchase of a UAS (if not accessible to the student)
Register by June 15 at noon


Questions? Contact profed@k-state.edu

Recommended UAS information:

  • Recommended UAS is DJI Tello Quadcopter with Fly More kit
  • Smartphone is required to operate Tello
  • Tello app must be downloaded
  • Controller purchase is also recommended (retails for around $50)

If a student already owns one of the below UAS, it may be utilized for a similar experience. Please note, all course instruction and examples will be done using the Tello.

  • DJI Mavic Mini
  • DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Spark
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Mavic Pro 2
  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
  • DJI Phantom 2, 3, 4
  • DJI Inspire 1, 2
  • Parrot Bebop, Bebop 2
  • Parrot Anafi

If a student has access to another small UAS not mentioned above, it must have the following capabilities to be utilized in this course:

  • Onboard camera capable of remote image capture
  • Onboard camera captures 5MP or greater images and 720p or greater video
By PRESS
 
Anyone in the world

A Skyports worker with a delivery drone on the Isle of Mull. The aircraft can provide NHS workers with PPE and other supplies. Photograph: Skyports

Isle of Mull among areas trialling use of unmanned aircrafts to distribute supplies


Ten weeks on from the peak of the coronavirus pandemic there are still acute shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Covid-19 testing kits across the UK, particularly in rural and isolated locations.

On the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, however, the vital supplies arrive up to four times a day. They are flown in from the mainland by drone in a trial that could lead to the NHS regularly using drones to fly equipment and medical samples to many of Scotland’s roughly 90 inhabited islands.

The unmanned aircraft industry hopes that showing the public drones can help in the fight against Covid-19, perhaps even save lives by speeding up test time turnarounds, could pave the way for wider adoption of drone technology.

US investment bank Goldman Sachs believe drones could spawn a $100bn (£80bn) market if governments around the world allowed them to be used for everything from policing and border patrol to surveying vital infrastructuresuch as bridges, or even replacing moped riders to deliver pizzas and fried chicken direct to your door.

It’s not just the 2,800 people on Mull who are receiving PPE by drone in the pandemic. Another trial is carrying PPE from Lee-on-the-Solent to the Isle of Wight. Both trials required approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as rules ban drone flights beyond the line of sight of the remote pilot.

Drones are also being used to send coronavirus tests back and forth to up to 2,500 hospitals and rural health outposts in Rwanda and Ghana. This week the first US medical drone flight despatched a consignment of PPE to frontline workers in North Carolina.

Stephen Whiston, head of strategic planning for the Argyll and Bute health and social care partnership said drones could transform the speed with which doctors diagnose and treat patients across the authority’s rural community which is spread across 2,500 sq miles of western Scotland. This includes Mull and several other islands.

Whiston said: “Laboratory pick ups from GP surgeries up here can be very inefficient, with delays ranging from a couple of hours to two days if ferries are missed. When you’re talking about serious and developing conditions those sort of delays are very serious.”

The 16km (10 mile) flight from Lorn and Islands district general hospital in Oban, on the mainland, to Mull and Iona community hospital in Craignure, on the north-west of the island, takes about 15 minutes compared with between 90 minutes to six hours by road and ferry.

Whiston said the two-week drone delivery trial, which is being run in partnership with drone operator Skyports and defence and technology company Thales, was planned before coronavirus struck but has been accelerated by the pandemic.

A second test this winter is crucial because “the Scottish weather can be very challenging”, says Whitson. If it’s successful he thinks drones could be deployed across NHS Scotland. “We would look to link up more of our islands,” he said. “And we have been sharing what we’re doing here with colleagues across Scotland, and there is significant interest about using it in the Western Isles, Clyde and the Grampians.”

Raymond Li, head of air strategy and marketing for Thales, which is providing technology and flight planning , said the pandemic had proved very timely for the drone industry as regulators acted to speed up the approval process to start trial flights.

“This will also allow us to show the public the societal benefits of drones,” he said.

“People will have seen the headlines about the drone at Gatwick [in 2018, when hundreds of flights were cancelled when a rogue drone flew over the runway] and been worried about drones. Covid-19 may well change how people see their usefulness. They will see that drones can help save lives, and people will see the benefits to themselves and their families.”

In the current trial, using a German-made Wingcopter drone, a trained operator must pilot the drone and actively direct it via a live video feed. But future costs could be greatly reduced by allowing drones to fly missions autonomously. Li said: “Just imagine a fleet of thousands of drones doing everything from search and rescue, and border patrol to delivering food. There could even be air taxis [in which people are transported in drones without pilots].”

Holly Jamieson, head of future cities at Nesta Challenges, a charity supporting innovation, said the real-world use of drones would help prompt a public conversation on the use of the technology and its implications on personal privacy.

“You have to remember that the coronavirus pandemic is a pretty exceptional event and the public are a lot more accepting about a lot of things we wouldn’t put up with in normal times. It could be the same with drones,” she said.

Research by Nesta suggests using drones to assist public services, including transporting NHS tests and samples and supporting the police and fire services, could save the public sector £1.1bn by 2035. 

Jamieson said: “People are concerned about the impact on their privacy and the noise. Public engagement is absolutely key. We need to be asking who should be allowed to operate them, where should they be able to go, and for what purposes. That piece of airspace above our heads is infrastructure that needs to be shaped.”


  • By Rupert Neate    The Guardian

[ Modified: Friday, 29 May 2020, 3:30 PM ]
 
Anyone in the world

As the world continues to witness warming climate conditions, there has been a frightful uptick in massive wildfires from California to the Amazon rainforest and the Australian bush.

And as the world’s forests burn to the ground, this creates a dilemma not only for wildlife habitats but also for us humans – because trees help absorb and store carbon dioxide, they are one of our basic lines of defense against global warming.

However, a Canadian startup has set the lofty goal of using drones to plant a billion trees by 2028 – and in the process, the company hopes to revolutionize the manner in which the process of reforestation is tackled.

Flash Forest plans to deploy its revolutionary new technology to identify the best planting sites on fire-scorched land just north of Toronto where it can begin firing specially designed seedpods into the ground. The pods consist of germinated seeds, fertilizer, and a proprietary blend of “secret” ingredients, according to Newsweek.

A spray drone would then cover the area with nutrients such as nitrogen, helping the seedlings to grow, before mapping drones are sent later to monitor progress.

The company hopes to plant at least 40,000 trees in the Toronto region this month alone. Later this year, Flash Forest will also plant up to 300,000 trees in Hawaii.

And while people are capable of planting around 1,500 seed pods by hands, per day – requiring a hectic pace, without a doubt – Flash Forest’s drone solutions are apparently capable of planting 10,000 to 20,000 at present, with the company hoping to eventually be able to plant 100,000 a day.

And not only is the process far less intensive in terms of manual labor required, but it’s also far cheaper at around 50 cents per seed pod – about 20 percent cheaper than traditional planting techniques.

According to a study published in the journal Science, planting about a billion trees across the globe could remove two-thirds of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide—approximately 25 percent of the CO2 in the atmosphere—creating a vast natural means to trap and store the emissions in an affordable and politically non-controversial manner.

The company claims that its drones can sharply increase the speed and efficiency of planting trees. The company said:

“Flash Forest is a reforestation company that can plant at 10 times the normal rate and at 20 percent of the cost of traditional tree planting techniques.

“With drone engineering, we bring new levels of accuracy, precision and speed to the reforestation industry.”

The world faces a shrinking window of time in which to tackle the problem of heat-trapping emissions, with researchers warning that rampant and accelerating hot conditions across the world could exceed the worst-case scenarios previously forecast by climate experts – giving added impetus to mitigation efforts.

Flash Forest co-founder and chief strategy officer Angelique Ahlstrom said that’s where its drones can be a crucial part of such a strategy. She told Fast Company:

“There are a lot of different attempts to tackle reforestation. But despite all of them, they’re still failing, with a net loss of 7 billion trees every year.”

Ahlstrom notes that it’s not possible to combat deforestation by planting trees alone – however, Flash Forest’s state-of-the-art hardware using mapping drones and pneumatic-powered firing devices that shoot pods deep into the soil can be an asset in the cause.

Continuing, she said:

“It allows you to get into trickier areas that human planters can’t.”

Each planting will also consist of four species and eventually eight – covering an aspect of mass tree-planting that similar initiatives have overlooked in the past. Ahlstrom said:

“We very much prioritize biodiversity, so we try to plant species that are native to the land as opposed to monocultures.

“We work with local seed banks and also take into account that the different changes that climate change brings with temperature rise, anticipating what the climate will be like in five to eight years when these trees are much older and have grown to a more mature stage, and how that will affect them.”

According to their website, they’ve so far planted 469 White Spruce, 344 White Pine, around 327 Blue Spruce, 225 Red Maple, 790 White Birch, 621 Sugar Maple, 131 Douglas Fir, and 199 Balsam.

And with researchers claiming that the Earth has room for over 1 trillion additional trees that can be planted across the globe, Flash Forest could help change the way any worldwide planting initiative would take shape. For Ahlstrom, it’s pretty simple math. She said:

“I think that drones are absolutely necessary to hit the kind of targets that we’re saying are necessary to achieve some of our carbon sequestration goals as a global society (and) when you look at the potential for drones, we plant 10 times faster than humans.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com
[ Modified: Friday, 29 May 2020, 8:26 AM ]
 
Anyone in the world

MQ-25 Stingray.

 

BOEING ART

The U.S. Navy is spending $13 billion buying 72 MQ-25 Stingray tanker drones for its 11 aircraft carriers. The idea is for the Boeing BA-made MQ-25s to refuel manned fighters, extending their range while also relieving the fighter squadrons of their own tanking duties.

But the MQ-25 always had potential to be more than just an aerial-refueler. With its stealthy airframe and high endurance, it could be a surveillance plane and even a light strike platform, too.

At least one fleet community isn’t waiting for the Navy and Boeing to adapt the MQ-25 to other missions. The fleet’s airborne command-and-control weapons school at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, already thinks of the Stingray as more than a tanker.

Robbin Laird, a military analyst and writer, spoke to Cmdr. Christopher Hulitt, the head of the school, and summarized the conversation at Second Line of Defense.

Laird and Hulitt’s main point is that the Navy is acquiring new aircraft with highly-sophisticated communications systems and sensors. The F-35C stealth fighter. The E-2D early-warning plane. The MQ-4C high-altitude drone. And the MQ-25.

Where before, E-2s would fly over a maritime battle, detecting targets and relaying commands to fighters, now a new system is coming together. The F-35C, E-2D, MQ-4C and MQ-25 all possess the qualities of a sensor- and command-and-control platform. So instead of passing information just one way—from an E-2 to a fighter—in coming years info could begin moving in all directions.

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Aviation Machinist Mate Airman Apprentice Dylan[+]

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS REBEKAH WATKINS

An F-35C in stealth mode might detect an enemy ship using its passive sensors and beam, via secure datalink, the target’s general location to the nearby MQ-25 that just refueled the F-35C. The MQ-25 could hand off the data to an E-2D. The E-2D crew could instruct the operators of an MQ-4C to steer their drone toward the enemy ship’s location.

Once the MQ-4C pinpoints the ship, the E-2D could then pass the targeting data back to the F-35C as well as to other allied vessels and planes, all of which could fire missiles. Imagine this whole process happening in minutes.

“It is about deploying an extended trusted sensor network, which can be tapped through various waveforms, and then being able to shape how the decision-making arc can best deliver the desired combat effect,” Laird wrote.

The Navy hopes to deploy the first MQ-25s as early as 2024.

David Axe   Contributor

Aerospace & Defense

[ Modified: Monday, 25 May 2020, 7:10 AM ]
 
Anyone in the world

USS Portland (LPD-27) successfully disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a Solid State Laser. US Navy Image

Amphibious ship USS Portland (LPD-27) shot down a drone with a laser weapon during a first-of-its-kind at-sea test of the Navy’s high-energy laser weapon system.

The Navy is currently developing and testing a portfolio of laser weapons, some of which are more powerful but only suited for ships with greater power-generation capabilities, like the San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks (LPD-17), while others are less powerful but could be fielded on a greater variety of ships, including the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

In this test, Portland fired its high-power laser weapon at an unmanned aerial vehicle while operating off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on May 16, U.S. Pacific Fleet announced in a news release today.

“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland, said in the news release.

“The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems,” he added. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”

Portland, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, was tapped in 2018 to be the first ship to test the Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) MK 2 MOD 0 at sea. This second iteration of SSL-TM, which is ultimately expected to become a 150-kilowatt laser weapon, draws from lessons learned from Office of Naval Research (ONR) demonstrations and testing that date back to 2011. The original 30-kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was used by interim afloat forward staging base USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations from 2014 to 2017 to gather data and lessons learned on how the system performed in an operational setting.

This follow-on SSL-TM has challenged scientists to made advances in areas like the beam director and spectral beam combining, which takes many lasers of different wave lengths and creates a more powerful beam by “ganging them up,” Frank Peterkin, the Navy’s senior technologist for directed energy, told USNI News last year.

The weapon had been undergoing testing at a Northrop Grumman facility in Redondo Beach, Calif., where engineers could test subsystems to reduce risk before sending the weapon system to conduct land-based testing and then the at-sea testing on Portland.

The Navy is also working on a less powerful laser weapon, the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS), which is planned to reach 60 kw and could be installed onto ships like today’s fielded destroyers that have less power margin to add in new systems. The Navy is also pursuing an Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) that would not be used to knock down incoming threats but would rather be a non-lethal option to warn away enemy craft approaching a U.S. warship.

In addition to Northrop Grumman’s work on the SSL-TM on board Portland, Lockheed Martin is also pursuing a 150kw laser weapon. The Navy announced earlier this year that it would put a laser weapon – an early version of this weapon system, still at a lower power level, USNI News understands – on USS Little Rock (LCS-9), a Littoral Combat Ship deploying to U.S. 4th Fleet later this year.

By: Megan Eckstein
[ Modified: Monday, 25 May 2020, 7:02 AM ]
 
Anyone in the world

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO or DRO.AU) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to advise that, following a competitive tender, its DroneGun TacticalTM product was selected as the preferred solution by the European Union police forces. The process was run by Belgium Police, with an EU-wide framework. Sales, training and local support will be managed by DroneShield’s Benelux region partner ForcePro BV.
 
Under the framework agreement, DroneGun TacticalTM is expected to be rolled out across a range of police units across European Union. While the agreement does not specify minimum purchase quantities, DroneShield expects this agreement to produce material periodic sales over an extended period of time, with orders commencing this quarter. Further, the Company expects this framework to be a platform for sales of its other products, such as RfPatrolTM and its vehicle and fixed site products, to EU police departments.  
 
Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “This is an exciting win in a number of ways. This is the first framework rollout of counterdrone equipment by any Government customer, anywhere in the world. In addition to the substantial nature of this contract, we expect for this to set a standard for DroneGun TacticalTM procurement by other Government customers in the EU and globally, helping fasttrack additional acquisitions. This selection by a highly demanding customer, following on the UK Government CPNI certification last year, reinforces the world leading position of our products in the industry. Importantly, this win of the competitive tender by DroneShield illustrates that security is at the forefront of governments globally as well as the fact that, after a brief interruption caused by the COVID crisis, global procurement processes have resumed.”


By PRESS