Weekly Roundup 2/24/20

February 17, 2020 – February 24, 2020


Top Stories

Japan has introduced new legislation designed to promote the development of drone technologies and 5G mobile networks by providing Japanese companies working in these fields with low-interest loans. The bill is widely viewed as a reaction to the growing dominance of Chinese companies. (Reuters) 

A report by Conflict Armament Research provides additional evidence that Iran was behind the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facility last year. The report found that a gyroscope recovered at the scene of the attack matches gyroscopes recovered from Houthi drones in Yemen and Iranian drones downed in other conflicts. (Associated Press) 


Know Your Drone

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command is planning to award Northrop Grumman a contract that would include work to add weapons to the MQ-8C helicopter drone. (Executive Biz)

Defense firm BAE Systems successfully completed the maiden flight of its PHASA-35 solar-powered high-altitude long-endurance drone. (Unmanned SYstems Technology)

U.S. firm Black Swift Technologies unveiled the Black Swift E2, a quadcopter drone designed for industrial inspection operations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Belarusian firm Display Design Bureau unveiled the Quadro-1400, an anti-tank quadcopter drone mounted with two rocket-launchers. (C4ISRNET)

U.S. drone maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems completed a ground test of a laser-based system that it intends to use as a communication link between MQ-9 Reaper drones and satellites. (FlightGlobal)

Budget documents have revealed that the U.S Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is pursuing the development of the Gunslinger program, which seeks to develop an armed air-launched drone capable of striking multiple separate targets in a single mission. (The Drive)

U.S. startup Spooky Action is developing solar-powered tethered drones for providing cellular communications in remote areas of Kenya, Niger, Botswana, and Senegal. (CNN Business) 

Maritime drone maker Dynautics has unveiled a new line of unmanned surface vessels and unmanned undersea vehicles for commercial and military applications. (Unmanned Systems Technology) 

The U.S. Navy held a competition to test drones for tactical resupply missions, including delivering boxes of Meals-Ready-to-Eat to Marines on the ground. (C4ISRNET)


Drones at Work

The U.S. Navy has installed its Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy laser-based counter-drone system on the USS Dewey guided missile destroyer. (UPI)

The Portuguese Navy is working to integrate a vertical take-off and landing drone operating capability on its Viana do Castelo-class patrol ships. (Jane’s)

The Royal Australian Navy is preparing to launch a mine countermeasures system, which will include both underwater and surface drone vessels. (Shephard Media)

Genesee County in Michigan has suspended its local drone ordinance after a judge granted an injunction brought forward by a drone operator’s group. (MLive)

The U.S. Navy is testing a Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle armed with a .50 caliber machine gun for patrolling the waters around Norfolk Station naval base in Washington State. (NBC Washington)

The New South Wales State Emergency Service and the Australian Defence Force used a drone to transport equipment over a river as part of a resupply mission to a local community that was cut off by recent floods. (ABC News)

Health authorities in Taiyuan, China are using unmanned ground vehicles to spray disinfectant in gated communities with confirmed cases of Coronavirus. (Fox News)

Police in Enfield, Connecticut used a drone to find a blind man who had become lost in a forest for more than 30 hours. (New York Post)

The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie and television company SNRT are launching a program to use drones to monitor traffic on the country’s highways. (Morocco World News)


Industry Intel

armasuisse, Switzerland’s defense procurement agency, has awarded French drone maker Parrot a contract for small drones for the Swiss Army. (AUVSI) 

A U.S. special operations directorate has selected D-Fend Solutions to provide radio frequency counter-drone capabilities. (Jane’s)

Three Spanish companies—GMV, SENER Aeroespacial, and Tecnobit Grupo Oesia—will work with Spain’s Ministry of Defense to develop a drone component for the European Future Combat Air System. (Jane’s) 

Turkey’s defense procurement agency announced plans to procure additional attack drones and cargo drones in 2020. (Defense News) 

Robotic Skies will provide a global maintenance network for Matternet’s M2 drone logistics system. (Unmanned Systems Technology) 


Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In a briefing to journalists, a United Nations official described Libya as the “world’s largest theater for drone technology.” (Middle East Eye) 

At DP Review, Kara Murphy argues that the FAA’s proposed rules for remote identification could harm professional photographers. 

In an op-ed at TechCrunch, Jon Hegranes argues that there’s a simpler and more effective solution to remote identification than the FAA’s proposed rules. 

In an email exchange with journalists, Singapore’s air force chief described the role that drones play in Singapore’s security

In an addendum to its annual budget request, the U.S. Air Force informed Congress that it could use more funding for drones and counter-drone systems. (Breaking Defense)