Weekly Roundup 10/7/19

September 30, 2019 – October 6, 2019

Top Stories

A U.S. airstrike in southern Libya reportedly killed 17 militants. According to an unnamed U.S. official who spoke with The New York Times, the strike against alleged members of the Islamic State was carried out by a Reaper drone. It was the third U.S. airstrike in Libya in a week.

Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems announced that it has been awarded a contract by an unnamed country in Asia for more than a thousand drones. The contract, which is valued at approximately $153 million and will be carried out over 22 months, includes delivery of more than 1,000 THOR systems, as well as dozens of Skylark LEXs, Skylark 3s, and Hermes 450s. (Reuters) For more on drone proliferation, click here.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has permitted UPS Flight Forward to expand its drone delivery service to a range of additional operations areas. The Part 135 Standard certification allows UPS to fly drones beyond the line-of-sight of the operator and enables a single pilot to operate multiple drones. It is the most permissive certification granted to a U.S. company for drone deliveries to date. (Reuters)

U.S. sensor maker FLIR Systems acquired the intellectual property and certain operating assets of Aria Insights, a company that developed tethered surveillance drones. Aria, which was previously known as CyPhy Works, ceased operations in March. (TechCrunch)

Know Your Drone

U.S. consumer drone startup Skydio unveiled the Skydio 2, a self-flying camera drone. (TechCrunch)

U.S. security startup Anduril Industries unveiled the Interceptor, an anti-drone collision drone. (sUAS News)

At a military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of government rule, China unveiled the DR-8, a supersonic reconnaissance drone. (Defense One)

Meanwhile, at the same parade, the Chinese military also unveiled the HSU-001, a large autonomous unmanned submarine. (Forbes)

The U.S. Navy launched the second phase of Ghost Fleet Overlord, a program that seeks to develop a fleet of autonomous unmanned surface vessels. (UPI)

The U.S. Navy announced that it will be hosting a fly-off competition called Unmanned Logistics Support – Air to test a variety of tactical cargo resupply drones for the Marine Corps. (FlightGlobal)

A team at the University of Michigan demonstrated a drone equipped with a nail-gun that can autonomously attach shingles to rooftops. (AUVSI)

U.S. maritime firms Sea Machines and Metal Shark unveiled the Sharktech 29 Defiant, an autonomous unmanned boat. (AUVSI)

U.K. technology firm H2GO Power and U.S. drone maker Ballard Unmanned Systems completed what they claim is the first successful test flight of a 3D-printed hydrogen-powered multirotor drone. (AIR International)

The Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre conducted the first flight of a hydrogen-powered multirotor drone in Dutch airspace. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Terra Drone unveiled an automated analysis system for drone data for powerline inspections. (GPS World)

Drones at Work

A soccer match between F91 Dudelange and FK Qarabag in Luxemburg was suspended for 15 minutes after a drone carrying the flag of the Republic of Artsakh appeared over the pitch. (Reuters)

The Turkish Defense Ministry said that it shot down an unarmed surveillance drone that repeatedly entered its airspace near the Syrian border. (Hurriyet Daily News)

The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is evaluating the viability of using Boeing’s developmental MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Aviation Week)

The U.S. Air Force has updated its medical waiver program to allow certain drone operators to continue working longer into their pregnancies. (Military.com)

SANA, a Syrian state-run news agency, said that the Syrian military captured a multirotor drone fitted with cluster munitions near the Golan Heights. (Haaretz)

The Portuguese Navy revealed a small experimental unit dedicated to acquiring and testing novel unmanned systems technologies. (Jane’s)

Chinese police arrested a man who they said had been on the lam for 17 years after using a drone to identify his hideout in the mountains of Yunnan province. (BBC)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu a $7.5 million contract for product and hardware support for unmanned aerial systems. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $15.5 million contract for engineering and support services for unmanned aircraft systems. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $8.9 million contract for the conversion of nine Hunter Universal Ground Control Stations. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Mississippi State University a $12.6 million contract for High Performance, Low-Acoustic Signature Unmanned Aircraft System Operations. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded White River Technologies a $635,680 contract for a demonstration of an unmanned aerial vehicle magnetometer system. (FBO)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Drone America a $692,000 contract for a vertical take-off and landing drone. (FBO)

Kratos Defense & Security Systems announced that it has been awarded a $5 million contract for tactical jet drone mission system integration and test work. (Press Release)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In its final report, the Blue Ribbon Task Force on UAS Mitigation at Airports urges federal law authorities in the U.S. and Canada to work with airports on addressing potential drone risks and grant local law enforcement counter-drone authorities. (Bloomberg)

At Popular Mechanics, Courtney Linder looks at how a developer created a software platform that helps drone users find the victims of natural disasters.

A report by TRT World Research Center presents evidence that Somali civilians were killed in U.S. manned and unmanned airstrikes earlier this year.

In an op-ed at Defense News, Steven P. Bucci argues that a “diverse, layered missile defense” system is needed to combat drone swarms.

In an interview with C4ISRNET, Liteye Systems CEO Kenneth Geyer discusses the search for the optimal counter-drone system.

At Bloomberg, Joshua Bernstein charts U.S. startup Anduril’s efforts to build a counter-drone drone and rekindle the relationship between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon.

At Bellingcat, Nick Waters examines Iran’s claims that it has hacked the video feeds of U.S. drones.

In an op-ed at Defense One, Wim Zwijnenburg argues that the U.N. should work to build norms around the use of lethal drones.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mike Jensen looks at how a college football team is using drones to improve the team’s tactics.

At Aviation Week, Steve Trimble writes that competition is heating up between manufacturers of small single-use jet engines for drones and cruise missiles.

At Small Wars Journal, Scott Crino and Andy Dreby examine the latest developments in terrorist and insurgent drone use.

At Jane’s, Andreas Rupprecht writes that images of China’s recent military parade suggest that the WZ-8 drone could be in service with units in China’s Eastern Theater Command.

In a blog post at the World Economic Forum, Harrison Wolf and Vignesh Santhanam examine the ways in which India could become a leader in the drone sector.

A report by the U.K.’s Connected Places Catapult considers how the U.K.’s airspace system can accommodate both drones and manned aircraft.