Weekly Roundup 12/2/19

November 25, 2019 – December 1, 2019

Top Stories

A suspected drone strike in Afghanistan reportedly killed five civilians. According to local Afghan officials who spoke with The New York Times, the strike targeted a vehicle in southeastern Khost province. In a statement, the U.S. military command in Afghanistan disputed the report of civilian deaths and said that it is working with local authorities to investigate the allegations.

The Massachusetts State Police deployed a dog-like robot in two incidents earlier this year as part of a three month trial of the technology for remote observation operations, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. The state’s bomb squad loaned the quadruped Spot system from robotics firm Boston Dynamics. It is the first law enforcement agency to deploy with the Spot. (WBUR)

Know Your Drone

U.S. firm IBM was granted a patent for a blockchain system to secure delivered packages against aerial theft by drones. (CoinDesk)

Indian prototyping center T-Works conducted initial flight tests of a 3D-printed fixed-wing drone. (Times of India)

Graffiti artist KATSU unveiled the KATSURU BETA, a semi-autonomous graffiti painting drone. (Hypebeast)

Drones at Work

The British Army has deployed a fleet of Watchkeeper surveillance and reconnaissance drones to Cyprus for a six-month training mission. (Jane’s)

The Portsmouth Police Department in New Hampshire has acquired seven drones for training and other operations. (Government Technology)

A Danish court found three men guilty of purchasing drones for the Islamic State. The men could face up to six years in prison. (Associated Press)

The Libyan National Army acknowledged that it mistakenly shot down an unarmed U.S. military drone that was lost last week after mistaking the aircraft for a Turkish-made system operated by adversary forces. (Associated Press)

The California Air National Guard has deployed an MQ-9 Reaper to assist firefighting operations in Southern California. (Times of San Diego)

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority is investigating an incident in which a drone was spotted operating over a race event and near a jet demonstration in Newcastle. (The Newcastle Star)

La Poste has launched a drone delivery service for remote villages in the Isère département in the French Alps. (The Local)

Industry Intel

Australia downselected the General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian over the MQ-9A Reaper for its medium-altitude long-endurance drone program. (FlightGlobal)

The U.S. Navy awarded the University of Missouri at Kansas City a $27.2 million contract for work on a counter-drone system. (DoD)

Beginning in 2020, Kazakhstan Aviation Industry will begin producing a small number of Elbit Systems drones. (Jane’s)

Terra Drone Indonesia, a subsidiary of Japan’s Terra Drone Corporation, has begun conducting flare stack inspections for energy giant Chevron. (Press Release)

The U.S. Department of State and AeroVironment announced a $1 million settlement for various arms export violations. (Press Release)

HoverFly Technologies announced that it has delivered its 50th LiveSky tethered drone to an unnamed U.S. government customer. (Press Release)

Altai Logix, a patent-holding company, has sued French drone maker Parrot for allegedly infringing on a former Huawei Technologies patent for microprocessors. (Reuters)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

Reuters provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Iran appears to have planned two drone strikes against Saudi Arabian oil facilities earlier this year.

At The Guardian, Dan Sabbagh, Jason Burke, Bethan McKernan consider the ways in which Libya has become “ground zero” for armed drones.

Also at The Guardian, Dan Sabbagh and Bethan McKernan examine how a missile rack technology developed in the U.K. may have enabled Turkey to develop armed drones.

At The New York Times, Clay Risen profiles a Bronx-based company developing advanced unmanned undersea vehicles.

At Roll Call, Jessica Wehrman looks at how the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security have taken different approaches to managing drone threats at airports.

Meanwhile, at SecurityInfoWatch, Joel Griffen writes that U.S. lawmakers are divided on the best way to counter drone threats.

A report by WeRobotics and DR Flying Labs provides a detailed analysis of the results of field-tests cargo drones for medicine deliveries in the Dominican Republic. (iRevolutions)

At The Wall Street Journal, Matthias Winkenbach argues that drone delivery is over-hyped and may be best suited for rural areas.

Meanwhile, at Aviation Week, Lisa Ellman argues that drone deliveries have already been proven to be safe and secure.

Also at Aviation Week, Bill Carey writes that drone registrations in the U.K. are falling short of expectations.

At FedTech, Doug Bonderud rounds up some of the ways U.S. government agencies are using drones to respond to natural disasters.

A report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments argues that the U.S. should invest in expendable drones to boost its electronic warfare capabilities. (Breaking Defense)

At the South China Morning Post, Liu Zhen writes that a Chinese company is planning to export small, armed quadcopters.

At Defense One, Erich Frandrup argues that the U.S. should invest in developing armed underwater drones.

Also at Defense One, Samuel Bendett looks at how Russia is seeking to capitalize on its experiences in Syria to develop new tactics for drones and robots.

A report by the Congressional Research Service examines the effectiveness of lasers, railguns, and guided projectiles for defending Navy surface ships against drones and other threats. (USNI News)