Weekly Roundup 1/7/19

Photo by Spc. Sarah Williams

December 31, 2018 – January 6, 2019

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Top Stories

A U.S. airstrike in Yemen killed Jamel Al-Badawi, an Al-Qaeda member who is believed to have planned the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. The strike targeted a vehicle in Yemen’s Ma’rib Governorate. It is unclear whether the strike was carried out by a drone. (CNN)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has launched an effort to test various technologies for identifying and tracking drones in the airspace system. The short-term industry-funded field trials will verify a range of approaches to remote ID, which is widely regarded as necessary for the wider integration of complex drone operations in unrestricted airspace. (The Wall Street Journal)

Defense firm Israel Aerospace Industries is in negotiations to acquire Aeronautics, another Israeli drone and loitering munitions manufacturer. Last summer, Aeronautics rejected an acquisition offer from Rafael Advanced Systems and a private investor. (Reuters)

Gatwick Airport and Heathrow International Airport have purchased military-grade counter-drone equipment after reports of drone sightings significantly disrupted operations at Gatwick last month. According to a Gatwick spokesperson, the London airports have spent “millions of pounds” on the unnamed C-UAS systems. Police investigations into the Gatwick sightings are ongoing. (Reuters)

The Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes against Hamas in the Gaza Strip after an explosive device resembling a drone was found inside Israel. According to the Israeli military, the drone-shaped device, which bore similarities to an Iranian design, was attached to dozens of balloons, though it did not appear to be airworthy. (Times of Israel)

Know Your Drone

The U.S. Army has issued a request for information for radio communications systems that can be used for manned-unmanned teaming operations. (FBO)

The University of North Dakota, Harris Corporation, and the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site conducted the first flight tests of an air traffic management system for beyond visual line-of-sight drone operations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

The Spanish Air Force conducted flight tests to assess the detectability of the nEUROn stealth drone against advanced sensors on the Eurofighter Typhoon jet. (defense-unmanned.com)

Drones at Work

Police in the UK closed traffic on the Severn Bridge, which connects England and Wales, after a man reportedly climbed the structure to fly a drone. (BBC News)

Pakistan’s military reportedly shot down an Indian surveillance drone after the aircraft flew into Pakistani airspace. (Associated Press)

The New York Police Department was forced to abandon plans to use a tethered drone to monitor New Year’s Eve festivities at Times Square due to inclement weather. (USA Today)

The Pojoaque Pueblo, a Native American community in northern New Mexico, has launched a program to use drones for monitoring bison herds, mapping cultural sites, fire control, and search and rescue. (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Army awarded Endeavor Robotics a $32.4 million contract for sustainment and maintenance parts for the Robot Logistics Support Center. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Cubic Defense Applications a $467,185 contract for the ADT directional antenna for the MQ-8B Fire Scout. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems a $3.9 million contract for spare parts for the Subsonic Aerial Target BQM-177A. (FBO)

Insitu announced that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Coast Guard that corrects an earlier contract to provide drones for National Security Cutters. (Jane’s)  

Aeronautics announced that it is considering selling its 50 percent share in Controp Precision Technologies to the U.S. firm KKR. The share price for the Israeli drone maker rose sharply on the news. (Haaretz)

Endeavor Robotics is suing QinetiQ North America and Foster-Miller, two other military robot manufacturers, over patent infringements. (Robotics Business Review)

Mining firm Teck Resources selected Skycatch to provide drone aerial survey services for mining operations in Canada. (Shephard News)

RT LTA announced that it has been awarded a contract by an Indian state police agency for an aerostat and a drone. (Shephard News)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Aviation Week, Tony Osborne writes that some countries in the Middle East that have acquired Chinese drones have signaled that there are limitations with the systems.

Also at Aviation Week, Graham Warwick reviews a few of the significant developments in the world of drones in 2018.

At The New York Times, David Shimer looks into how the European Union is preparing for the future of drone deliveries.

The U.S. Defense Innovation Board is writing a set of principles for using artificial intelligence in war. (Defense One)

At Popular Mechanics, Sam Blum writes that it is still unclear what happened at London’s Gatwick Airport last month.

At Financial Express, Huma Siddiqui writes that Prime Minister Modi will likely push to accelerate the acquisition of U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones for the Indian Navy and Army.

At Lexology, Todd B. Logsdon and Chantell C. Foley consider the ways that U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors may start using drones at worksites.

At The Times, Robert Lea writes that Rolls-Royce’s contract to provide engines for the MQ-25 Stingray refueler drone will provide a much-needed boost to the company.

At The Drone Girl, Sally French previews a few of the drones that will make an appearance at the upcoming International CES 2019 trade show.  

At The Times Free Press, Allison Shirk Collins looks at how companies in Chattanooga, Tennessee are using drones to improve safety on worksites.

At UAS Magazine, Patrick C. Miller profiles some of the companies involved in the growing drone inspection services sector.