Weekly Roundup 11/18/19

November 11, 2019 – November 17, 2019

Top Stories

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan reportedly killed seven civilians. According to a local official who spoke with Anadolu Agency, the strike targeted a passenger vehicle in Paktia Province.

U.S. military drones have captured footage that appears to show Turkish-backed forces committing war crimes in Syria. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the surveillance videos show Turkish-backed Arab forces targeting civilians during an assault on Kurdish positions in northeast Syria. The U.S. has continued its unmanned aircraft operations in the area following the withdrawal of troops last month.

Italian defense firm Leonardo announced that it would become a lead investor and partner to Skydweller Aero, a Spanish company specializing in solar-powered drones. Skydweller plans to convert the manned Solar Impulse 2, which completed the first round-the-world flight by a solar-powered aircraft in 2016, into an unmanned aircraft. It is expected to begin flight tests next year and production in 2021. (Defense News)

Know Your Drone

Australian firm DroneShield unveiled the DroneSentry-X, a vehicle-mounted counter-drone system. (Shephard Media)

European firm Airbus Helicopters has begun flight testing of its VSR700 helicopter drone. (FlightGlobal)

U.S. drone maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is developing a small drone called Sparrowhawk that would be launchable and recoverable from the company’s MQ-9 Reaper drone. (FlightGlobal)

Chinese commercial drone maker DJI announced that it is developing a Remote ID phone app for identifying drones operating within a 1km radius. (Reuters)

Canadian startup firm UAVita unveiled the Discovery, a fixed-wing long-range drone designed to serve in a range of applications. (Commercial UAV News)

British defense company BAE Systems announced that it is developing a lightweight radar jamming system for U.S. Army drones and helicopters. (DefenseNews)

The U.S. Army is integrating unmanned aircraft links into the architecture for its HoloLens augmented reality system, which will feed relevant data directly to soldiers on the ground. (Jane’s)

The U.S. Army is testing a small multirotor drone capable of shooting 40mm high-explosive grenades at individuals hiding behind cover. (Military.com)

The U.S. Coast Guard revealed that it is developing a counter-drone detection and mitigation system. (Defense Systems)

In a test, Sendai City and telecommunications firm Nokia operated a multirotor drone over a private LTE network as part of a tsunami simulation operation in Tohoku Region, Japan. (FutureIoT)

Drones at Work

The Turkish Armed Forces announced that it is acquiring 30 upgraded KARGU multirotor loitering munition drones equipped with facial recognition technology. (The Daily Sabah)

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography has launched a project to use unmanned vessels to monitor submerged sensors that detect earthquakes on the ocean floor. (Science)

The French military has formally qualified the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter helicopter drone for use aboard its Mistral-class amphibious assault ship the Dixmude. (Jane’s)

A team of U.S. and Japanese researchers used drones to aid in the discovery of the USS Grayback, a U.S. Navy submarine that was sunk in 1944 off the coast of Okinawa. (The Washington Post)

A video posted on social media shows a group of protestors in Chile appearing to down a small multirotor drone with dozens of laser pointers. (The Drive)

The British government issued legislation banning the use of drones over the Port of Dover in southeastern England. (BBC)

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would authorize cooperative U.S-Israeli research and development projects on counter-drone technology. (Times of Israel)

California theme park SeaWorld announced plans to test a drone light show involving 500 unmanned aircraft. (The San Diego Tribune)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Army awarded Endeavor Robotics a $109 million contract for the procurement of up to 350 Common Robotic System – Heavy systems. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded AeroVironment a contract valued up to $55 million for upgrades to the communication systems of the RQ-11 Raven. (San Fernando Valley Business Journal)

AeroVironment announced that it has been awarded a $12 million contract for logistics support, spares, and repairs for the Puma and Raven drones by an unnamed country in the Middle East. (Press Release)

DroneDeploy, a startup that provides drone mapping software, raised $35 million in a Series D round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. (DroneLife)

Schiebel announced that the European Maritime Safety Agency has extended its contract for CamCopter S-100 maritime surveillance services for the Republic of Croatia. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Draganflyer, a Canada-based manufacturer of drones for industry and public safety, has gone public on the Canadian Stock Exchange. (Aviation Week)

The U.S. Naval Postgraduate School took delivery of the Navy’s first hydrogen-powered drone, which will be used for research. (Kion 5/46 News)

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded six companies contracts to work on the Angler unmanned underwater vehicle program. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In a report for PAX, Frank Slijper examines trends in the development of autonomous weapons in the arms industry.

At Jane’s, Richard Scott writes that the U.K. Ministry of Defence is planning on using an unmanned surface vehicle for peacetime mine countermeasure missions.

At USNI News, Megan Eckstein looks at how the U.S. Navy is refining the organizations that oversee the Navy’s adoption of unmanned undersea vehicles.

In an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times, Jennifer Gibson argues that Turkey is following the U.S. example in its use of drones to carry out targeted killings.

At The Drive, Joseph Trevithick writes that the U.S. Air Force is exploring ways of using the planned XQ-58 Valkyrie drone as a communications node for manned fighter aircraft.

At Earth and Space Science News, Jenessa Duncombe writes that researchers are using drones to capture Iceland’s shrinking glaciers.

At France 24, Catherine Norris-Trent and Julie Dungelhoff report that drones are playing a significant role in the Libyan conflict.

At Air Force Magazine, Rachel S. Cohen examines a series of U.S. Air Force experiments with lasers to protect bases from drones.