Weekly Roundup 11/5/18

A screenshot of an Algerian television broadcast showing the Chinese-made CH-4 drone. Image via YouTube

October 29, 2018 – November 4, 2018

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Top Stories

Germany and France have denounced Russia and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine for downing a drone flown by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which maintains an observation mission to monitor the conflict in the region. The drone lost its communications link on October 27 after observing several convoys and a surface-to-air missile system crossing into Ukraine from Russia. (RFE/RL)

The U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning to law enforcement and first responder agencies that some drones made by Chinese manufacturer DJI have experienced power failures in mid-flight, recommending that emergency services suspend use of the systems until the issue could be resolved. In a statement, DJI encouraged agencies to install the latest firmware update on the drones in order to address the issue. (TechCrunch)

Algeria revealed that it has acquired the Chinese-made strike-capable CASC Caihong-4 and Caihong-3 drones. The drones were featured in a television broadcast of a recent visit by Army Chief of Staff General Ahmed Gaid Salah to Aïn Oussera Air Base. (Jane’s)

Know Your Drone

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China has conducted the maiden flight of a demonstrator prototype of the Qi Mingxing solar-powered technology drone. (Jane’s)

The Chinese military has conducted a successful missile firing test from the AV500W helicopter drone. (UPI)

Meanwhile, the Chinese Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics unveiled the CH-10, a tilt-rotor drone for surveillance and communication relay missions. (Global Times)

In a test, the U.S. Army operated the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft, an optionally manned helicopter, through a series of autonomous maneuvers. (FlightGlobal)

DJI has unveiled the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise, an upgraded quadcopter for civil and professional applications. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

Meanwhile, DJI unveiled a flight simulator for training pilots to operate its drones in a variety of settings. (Drone Life)

A team of researchers at MIT has developed a concept for a swarm of autonomous drones that could conduct broad area searches under forest canopies without requiring GPS. (Press Release)

French startup Notilo Plus has developed an untethered autonomous underwater drone for underwater photography and inspections. (ZDNet)

Researchers at Caltech have developed what they claim is the world’s smallest optical gyroscope for unmanned aircraft. (The Next Web)

Using a Lockheed Martin X-56A drone, NASA has demonstrated a flexible wing design that digitally suppresses flutter. (Aviation Week)

Drones at Work

The government of Vanuatu is preparing to begin a pilot project to deliver vaccines to remote islands by drone. (The Guardian)

An engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin is using a drone of his own design to monitor and optimize water consumption on the campus grounds. (The Daily Texan)

The St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners in Missouri has approved the use of four drones for limited law enforcement operations in the city. (Government Technology)

Meanwhile, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas has acquired four drones for a variety of operations. (KSAT)

Scottish Mountain Rescue has approved the incorporation of a specialist drone unit for search and rescue operations. (BBC)

PowerChina announced that its use of drones to install power lines at a wind power station in Kenya has resulted in cost and time savings for the project. (Daily Nation)

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has launched the Trusted Operator Program, a certification system for professional drone pilots. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Dubai firm Ecocoast has launched a WasteShark trash-collection unmanned surface vessel to gather waste and monitor water quality in the Dubai Marina. (CNN)

Authorities in Hong Kong are investigating after 46 drones crashed simultaneously during a drone swarm light show for the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival. (Wine Spectator)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $10.7 million contract for MQ-9 Reaper weather tolerance activities. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon a $191 million contract for the KuRFS, a radar system that the Army intends to use for detecting drone swarms. (GPS World)

Telephonics announced that it has been awarded a $23.5 million contract by the U.S. Navy for AN/ZPY-4 radar for the MQ-8B Fire Scout. (Shephard News)

Delair, a French company that specializes in commercial drone solutions, will acquire key assets of Airware, a U.S. drone software startup that shut down operations last month. (TechCrunch)

The European Maritime Safety Agency awarded Elbit Systems and Portugal’s Center of Engineering and Product Development a $68 million contract for drones to patrol Europe’s maritime borders. (Times of Israel)

Airobotics, an Israeli startup that specializes in automated industrial drones, raised $30 million in a Series D funding round led by Pavilion Capital. (DroneLife)

Blighter Surveillance Systems will supply the A400 series radar system to Liteye Systems for the Liteye C-AUDS counter-drone system. (Shephard News)

SlantRange has partnered with Microsoft to work on agricultural drones solutions. (Press release)

Propeller Aero has partnered with DJI to provide drones for the mining, construction, and waste management industries. (Drone DJ)

The government of New Zealand has partnered with Airbus to develop and test different unmanned aircraft technologies. (Jane’s)

L3 ASV announced that it has been awarded a contract by the government of the United Kingdom to conduct research into autonomous maritime systems. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

PAE ISR will supply the Resolute Eagle drone to NASA for airspace integration demonstrations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Drone DJ, Chris Monti looks into whether the positive Amazon reviews of a little-known Chinese-made drone can really be trusted.

At Forbes, Philip Finnegan writes that the demise of the drone software startup Airware will lead to greater consolidation in the commercial drone industry.

At Balloons to Drones, Mark Russell writes that Peter Lee’s Reaper Force offers valuable insights into the pressures that U.K. MQ-9 Reaper operators regularly face.

At The Cove, Thomas Grawich examines the ways in which drones can help adjust artillery fires.

At Jane’s, Alexander Theodosiou and Kemi Barca warn that the Colombian government’s use of drones for aerial fumigation of coca plants could lead to further violent protests.

At Avionics International, Brian Wolford discusses his work on drones at Rockwell Collins’ Advanced Technology Center.

An article produced by Bloomberg contends that commercial drones made by China-based drone manufacturer DJI are growing in popularity in spite of concerns over security and trade wars.

At DFRLab, Aric Toler looks into recent Russian drone activity in eastern Ukraine.

At the Drive, Joseph Trevithick and Tyler Rogoway consider China’s progress on the development of a stealth combat drone.  

The Chinese government has released a promotional video showing its CH-5 Rainbow drone conducting a number of missile strike tests. (Daily Mail)

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