Weekly Roundup 10/28/19

October 21, 2019 – October 27, 2019

At the CSD

In an interview with Larry Mantle on KPCC’s AirTalk, Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Arthur Holland Michel discusses the future of drone deliveries and how it faces some unanticipated challenges.

Top Stories

The U.K. government released a national counter-drone strategy to address the potential threat of malicious drone use. Under the three-year plan, the Home Office will establish a unit equipped with military-grade counter-drone equipment that can deploy as needed for protection operations. The strategy also outlines joint efforts with partner countries to conduct additional research into drone detection and mitigation capabilities. (Telegraph)

The Czech Army announced plans to establish a new unmanned aerial vehicle battalion in 2020. In a speech, Czech President Miloš Zeman said the new unit will operate both reconnaissance and combat drones. The Army already has one unit, the 102nd Battalion’s Unmanned Reconnaissance Company, dedicated to operating drones. (Jane’s) For more on global military drone capabilities, click here.

A consortium of European companies and institutions are proposing to develop swarms of drones that could attack air defenses. The proposal for the SEAD Swarm system was issued in response to a call for emerging technologies for defense applications published by the European Union’s Preparatory Action on Defence Research program. Initially, the SEAD project will only explore the swarming concept on a theoretical level, addressing both practical and ethical considerations, before proceeding to development. (Defense News)

The Civil Aviation Administration of China awarded Antwork Technology the country’s first license for routine urban drone deliveries. The company, which claims to have completed more than 60,000km of drone deliveries in three years of test operations, plans to conduct up to 1,000 deliveries per day in the city of Hangzhou under the new license. (FlightGlobal)

Know Your Drone

South Korean firm Hanwha Systems unveiled the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, a large drone submarine prototype. (Jane’s)

Meanwhile, South Korean company LIG Nex1 unveiled the Hae Gum II, an armed unmanned speedboat. (Jane’s)

The U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency conducted a five-day test of a wide-area counter-drone system in San Diego, California. (The San Diego UnionTribune)

Defense firm Leidos unveiled the Time Integrated Gigawatt Electromagnetic Response, or TIGER, a high-powered microwave counter-drone system. (C4ISRNET)

U.S. defense company Raytheon announced that its Howler counter-drone system and its interdiction element, the Coyote Block 1 drone, have received a Decision Demo from the U.S. government, while the Block 2 Coyote will be tested for C-UAS operations before April 2020. (Shephard Media)

Norwegian firm Maritime Robotics conducted a 200 kilometer flight with a Penguin B fixed-wing drone through various classes of civilian airspace. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

U.S. startup Savion Aerospace unveiled a concept for a remotely piloted drone that carries two passengers as an alternative to a business jet. (AIN Online)

Japanese carmaker Lexus unveiled a concept car, the LF-30 Electrified, equipped with a drone that can take on a variety of roles, including carrying passengers’ luggage. (The Verge)

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions unveiled the SPS-1000, a multi-axis gimbal system that can be used for counter-drone weapons, among other applications. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Drone startup Gannet launched an Indiegogo campaign for two new waterproof quadcopter drones, the Gannet Pro and the Gannet Pro+. (Commercial Drone Professional)

U.S. firm SmartRounds unveiled the Smart Anti-Vehicle Aerial Guided Engagement (SAVAGE), a 40mm counter-drone projectile. (Press Release)

Drones at Work

In response to a Freedom of Information request by Drone Wars UK, the U.K. Ministry of Defence revealed that two Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reapers have crashed since 2015. (Drone Wars)

According to a senior defense official who spoke with Stars and Stripes, the U.S. will continue to conduct drone intelligence and surveillance operations in northern Syria following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Drone Advisory Committee released a set of unanimously approved recommendations for remote identification system regulations. (Avionics International)

Edmonton International Airport in Canada is using a drone to collect inspection data on its extensive runways, taxiways, and aprons. (CBC)

The U.S. Air Force announced that it has conducted the first operations of its RQ-4 Global Hawk Surveillance and Reconnaissance drone with a crew of enlisted operators. (Air Force Times)

In an exercise last month, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Australian Defence Force tested Zipline delivery drone systems for supplying forward-deployed troops with vital items such as blood for transfusions and water. (Jane’s)

The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee unanimously approved the “Drone Origin Security Enhancement Act,” which will forbid certain U.S. agencies from buying drones made in China and various other countries. (DroneLife)

A Saildrone unmanned sailboat conducted the first autonomous east-to-west crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The 6,302 kilometer journey took nine weeks. (Press Release)

A report by Lebanon’s state-run news agency claims that a man near the town of Kfar Kila shot down an Israeli surveillance drone with a rifle. (Associated Press)

Drone delivery outfit UPS Flight Forward announced that it will begin drone delivery operations at the University of Utah Health campus in Salt Lake City. (Press Release)

A 37-year-old resident of Singapore has pleaded guilty to flying a drone within restricted airspace near Paya Lebar Air Base. He faces a fine of up to $20,000SGD. (The Straits Times)

In a test, Vigilant Aerospace Systems and Oklahoma State University conducted an 18km beyond visual line-of-sight drone flight near Pawnee, Oklahoma. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Industry Intel

UPS Flight Forward has partnered with pharmacy chain CVS, healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, and drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen to provide expanded medical drone delivery services. (Press Releases)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems an $18.2 million contract modification for support for the MQ-4C Triton. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $21.7 million foreign military sales contract modification for the United Kingdom’s MQ-9B Protector program. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $17.9 million foreign military sales contract for the weaponization of France’s MQ-9 Reapers. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of an anti-drone laser system for a year-long overseas deployment for test and evaluation. (UPI)

The U.S. Army selected four companies—HDT Global, Oshkosh Defense, QinetiQ, and Textron—to build prototypes for the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light program. (Ars Technica)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded AeroVironment a $5.25 million contract for Puma 3 AE systems for Border Patrol. (Press Release)

The Ukrainian Air Force took delivery of the last three of six Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey. (Ahval)

L3Harris Technologies announced that it has been selected by the U.S. Army to provide 65 electro-optical sensor suites for the Army’s RQ-7 Shadow drones. (C4ISRNET)

AirMap will provide drone airspace monitoring solutions for Raytheon’s Multi-platform ATC Re-hosting Solution, an air traffic controller workstation. (Shephard Media)

Elbit Systems will provide the off-board Electronic Counter Measure payload for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Hammerhead Unmanned Surface Vehicle. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Piaggio Aerospace, an Italian firm that produces commercial aircraft and military drones, is looking for a buyer. (Reuters)

Workhorse Group and Moog have formed a joint venture to pursue truck-based drone deliveries. (Press Release)

New York’s MetLife Stadium selected AeroDefense to provide a drone detection system for the facility. (Unmanned Airspace)

Drone Delivery Canada has partnered with DSV Air & Sea Canada, which plans to utilize DDC’s drone delivery platforms. (Commercial Drone Professional)

Drone maker Parrot is set to launch the Enterprise Loan Program, an initiative that will allow businesses to loan ANAFI drones for up to six weeks at a time. (Commercial Drone Professional)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Aviation Week, Guy Norris investigates new evidence that suggests that a U.S. Air Force unit may be operating the ultra-secret RQ-180 spy drone.

At the Los Angeles Times, Samantha Masunaga examines some of the unresolved legal questions surrounding drone deliveries. Center co-director Arthur Holland Michel was interviewed for this story. 

At the Kyiv Post, Illia Ponomarenko writes that Turkish-Ukrainian defense industrial cooperation on drone development is a win for both countries.

At defenceWeb, Justin Cronje offers a few takeaways from Drone Conference, a recent gathering in Durban, South Africa.

The Times of Israel reports that Israeli security officials are bracing for an Iranian drone or cruise missile attack.

At FlightGlobal, Greg Waldron writes that South Korea is progressing on a project to convert aging inhabited rotorcraft into unmanned helicopters.

At TechCrunch, Jonathan Shieber writes that the Los Angeles Fire Department is seeking a significant expansion of its drone program.

At MarketWatch, Victor Reklaitis writes that lobbying by the Chinese drone maker DJI is growing in response to draft legislation that would curb its sales in the U.S.

Meanwhile, at Voice of America, Carla Babb and Hong Xie write that the Pentagon has been buying DJI drones as targets for counter-drone systems.

The Associated Press profiles Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams’ campaign to ban lethal autonomous weapons.

At the Strategy Bridge, Olivia Garard reviews Drone, a collection of poems by Kim Garcia.

At Wired, Alex Davies looks at why drugstore chains are embracing drone deliveries.