November 5, 2018 – November 11, 2018
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The personal data of users operating drones made by DJI were potentially subject to a cyber security vulnerability earlier this year, according to the Israeli firm Check Point Software Technologies. In a public report last week, the company noted that two vulnerabilities in DJI’s cloud infrastructure, which it reported to DJI in March, could have allowed hackers to access flight logs, photos and videos, account information, and location data. DJI said that it has since patched the issue. (Wired)
Spain has announced its intention to buy 15 EuroMALE drones by the mid-2020s. The European medium-altitude long-endurance drone is a joint project led by Germany, France, and Spain. The Spanish Air Force will field several U.S.-made MQ-9 Reapers in 2019 while the EuroMALE is in development. (Jane’s)
China has unveiled a mockup of a stealth drone at the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow. In a statement to the Associated Press, an official with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said that the company plans to begin tests flights within a year and intends to begin production by 2022, with the aim of exporting the aircraft shortly thereafter.
Know Your Drone
China North Industries Corporation unveiled a concept for a swarm of multirotor drones armed with a variety of weapons, including missiles, fragmentation bombs, and rocket-propelled grenades. (Jane’s)
Chinese construction equipment maker Sany Heavy Industry unveiled the Scorching Tiger, a multirole unmanned ground vehicle. (Army Recognition)
Chinese firm Yunzhou Tech unveiled the Look Out II, an armed unmanned boat. (Global Times)
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation unveiled a mockup of the WJ-700, a surveillance and strike drone equipped with an array of missiles. (FlightGlobal)
Drone maker Delair unveiled the UX11 Ag, a fixed-wing drone designed for agricultural applications. (Precision Ag)
U.S. startup Fluidity Technologies has developed an adaptive joystick for controlling DJI drones. (Extreme Tech)
U.S. drone maker UAVOS is developing an unmanned boat for towing refuelling cables for offshore ships in remote locations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
A group of design students in China has devised a concept for a drone that forms a large net to catch people falling from tall burning buildings. (The New York Post)
Drones at Work
The U.S. Navy is planning to deploy the Textron Systems Aerosonde surveillance drone aboard the USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ WIlliams for up to 32 months. (Jane’s)
The British Civil Aviation Authority International is launching a one-day training course on the country’s regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft operations. (Shephard Media)
Police departments in Kentucky are turning to drone gunshot detection companies like Sharpshooter in hopes of reducing gun-related violence. (The Atlantic)
India’s Central Plantation Crops Research Institute is developing a program to use drones to spray fungicides and identify pests and diseases over arecanut plantations. (The Hindu Business Line)
An Australian 15-year-old took the top prize in the World Drone Racing Championship in Shenzhen, China. (Digital Trends)
A viral video of a bear and its cub climbing a steep snowy slope has drawn criticism after a number of scientists pointed out that the animals appear to be distressed by the presence of the drone that filmed the clip. (CBC)
Japan Post has launched a pilot program to use drones to deliver documents between post offices in Fukushima Prefecture. (Kyodo News)
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force announced that it has acquired the Wing Loong II, a medium-altitude long-endurance surveillance and strike drone. (Jane’s)
In the forthcoming National Defense Program Guidelines, Japan is reportedly intending to introduce a plan to develop unmanned undersea vehicles to monitor remote islands. (Kyodo News)
Meanwhile, Japan is also reportedly considering including in the forthcoming National Defense Program Guidelines a plan to purchase the General Atomics Avenger drone to strengthen maritime surveillance capabilities. (Yomiuri Shimbun)
The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $263.4 million contract for production of MQ-9 Reaper aircraft. (DoD)
The U.S. Air Force awarded Crew Training International a $241.4 million contract for MQ-9 Reaper training and courseware development. (FBO)
The U.S. Army awarded Mission Mule a $155,176 contract to evaluate the effectiveness of the Data Mule system. (FBO)
AeroVironment announced that it has been awarded a $3.2 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense for RQ-20B Puma AE II drones to support an allied country. (Press Release)
Persistent Systems announced that it will provide the MPU5 radio system for Boeing Insitu’s ScanEagle and Blackjack drones. (Jane’s)
Endeavor Robotics has partnered with Howe and Howe Technologies for the U.S. Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle program. (Shephard News)
At least 22 companies have submitted bids for the Turkish military’s competition to buy 500 small multirotor drones. (DefenseNews)
The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration awarded Kratos Defense & Security Solutions a contract for MQM-178 Firejet aerial target drones. (Air Force Technology)
Meanwhile, Kratos has opened a new 100,000-square foot unmanned systems production facility in Oklahoma City. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
Ukraine has reportedly chosen to purchase Baykar Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey. (Ukrinform)
Flyability, a Switzerland-based company that builds commercial drones for indoor inspections, raised $11 million in a Series B round to launch the Flyability Labs program. (Press Release)
Defense Research and Development Canada awarded Cellula Robotics a contract for phase three of a program to develop a long-range unmanned underwater vehicle. (GasWorld)
Drone services company PrecisionHawk has acquired Uplift Partners, a Chicago-based company that provides drone inspection services. (Venture Beat)
Emesent, an Australian startup that develops drones to map subterranean spaces, raised $2.5 million in funding. (TechCrunch)
Wilhelmsen Ship Management has partnered with DNV GL, Norwegian Maritime Authority, and the University of South-Eastern Norway to develop operational and regulatory frameworks for autonomous ships. (Drone Below)
L3 ASV has partnered with Fugro to develop next generation autonomous maritime vessels for the commercial survey market. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
Commentary, Analysis, and Art
At the Modern War Institute, Walker Mills explores the various ways that small drones can be used to threaten and suppress enemy infantry on the battlefield.
At the Interpreter, Peter Layton explains the different classes of drones in service with the Australian Army.
A report by David Hambling at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research explores the potential effects of small drone proliferation on military conflict.
At the Rio Rancho Observer, Stephen Montoya profiles a local man who started a drone photography and mapping business.
At Jefferson Public Radio, Tom Banse writes that a World War II-era hangar in Oregon where U.S. crews once trained to carry out the Doolittle Raid has been repurposed as a drone test site.
At The Monroe News, Caitlin Taylor looks into why a local sheriff decided to buy a drone to replace the office’s surplus military helicopter.
At Forbes, Philip Finnegan writes that a spate of recent acquisitions in the drone industry have highlighted the importance of scale.
Also at Forbes, Adrian Bridgwater argues that the growing links between drone technology and cloud-based datacenters will improve the management of drone operations.
In an interview at the European Forum on Armed Drones, Elizabeth Minor discusses how humanitarian organizations are working to limit the harms of armed drones.
At Bellingcat, Khalil Dewan investigates Yemeni Houthi claims that it used drones to attack commercial airports in the United Arab Emirates.
At ABC News, Jack Kilbride reports that a Chinese university is recruiting teenagers to work on a program to develop autonomous weapons.
At Engineering and Technology, Siobhan Doyle explores ways in which autonomous weapons could challenge existing ethical norms.
At the Digital Forensic Research Lab, Michael Sheldon offers a primer on how Russian drones are used in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
At Aviation Week, Steve Trimble describes how two stealthy drones on display at the Zhuhai Air Show appear to be functioning vehicles.
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