March 26, 2018 – April 1, 2018
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Italy’s Ministry of Defense is requesting $951 million in funding from Parliament for 20 Piaggio Aerospace P.2HH drones. The P.2HH “Hammerhead,” Italy’s first domestically-produced medium-altitude long-endurance drone, was developed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. (Defense News)
A subsidiary of delivery firm SF Express has been granted China’s first permit for a routine drone delivery program. The license grants Fengyu Shuntu Technology permission to begin delivering goods to areas in eastern China, although the exact location of these deliveries and types of systems involved are not yet known. SF Express has previously proposed a system involving both lightweight and heavy unmanned aircraft to deliver packages. (Quartz)
A drone reportedly came within meters of an Air New Zealand flight descending into Auckland Airport. Following the incident, Air New Zealand called for prison sentences for drone operators who endanger manned aircraft. (Associated Press)
Know Your Drone
Turkey’s defense procurement agency released photographs of what appears to be a new variant of the Turkish Aerospace Industries Anka-A medium-altitude long-endurance drone optimized for signals intelligence collection. (Aviation Week)
The U.S. Defense Innovation Unit Experimental issued a solicitation for solution briefs for an underwater-launched airborne drone. (DIUx)
After a series of land-based tests, the Royal Australian Navy has cleared a heavy fuel variant of the Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100 helicopter drone for a shipboard deployment to carry out additional trials. (Jane’s)
U.S. firm Riptide Autonomous Solutions unveiled the MK II, a micro unmanned undersea vehicle with up to 40 hours of endurance. (Subsea World News)
In a demonstration for the U.S. Army, Raytheon tested a microwave-based counter-drone weapon capable of disabling up to three drones simultaneously. (C4ISRNET)
Drone Delivery Canada unveiled the Condor, a cargo drone capable of carrying up to 400 lbs. (Press Release)
NASA and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems announced that they have completed Level 3 testing for NASA’s Unmanned Traffic Management program. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
Chinese drone maker DJI unveiled two new sensors for its M200 multirotor drone: an electro-optical/thermal camera developed with FLIR and an agricultural sensor developed with Slantrange. (Popular Science)
U.S. firm Trailer Valet began shipping the RVR, a small unmanned ground vehicle capable of towing loads of several thousand pounds. (The Verge)
Dubai-based URS Laboratories has demonstrated an unmanned cargo buggy for the United Nations World Food Programme. (Army Recognition)
Drones at Work
Police in Shenzhen arrested more than two dozen suspects accused of smuggling thousands of iPhones from Hong Kong along cables that the group installed with drones. (CNBC)
Researchers from the Santa Fe Institute and the University of Glasgow have released the results of a study in which they used drones to track the herding habits of migrating caribou. (New York Times)
An armed Israeli Hermes 450 drone crashed in southern Lebanon. According to the Israel Defense Forces, the cause was a technical malfunction. (Haaretz)
Meanwhile, a woman in western Galilee found a drone belonging to the Israel Defense Forces that had been lost over a year ago. (Haaretz)
A police officer in Queensland, Australia used a counter-drone jamming rifle to bring down a drone near a venue for the Commonwealth Games. (myGC.com.au)
Meanwhile, the Oceanside Police Department in California has acquired a counter-drone system for airspace enforcement. (NBC San Diego
A team from the University of Washington and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has successfully deployed three unmanned undersea vehicles in an effort to study the impact of climate change on Antarctic ice sheets. (GeekWire)
Law enforcement authorities in California have confirmed that they are planning to deploy surveillance drones during the Coachella music festival. (The Drive)
The Southwest Research Institute and the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania are developing an unmanned aircraft that will be used to inspect the interior of the Fukushima Daiichi power station. (AUVSI)
Japan’s government has announced that it will rescind a requirement for operators to maintain a visual line-of-sight with their drone under certain limited circumstances. (Japan Times)
The Arizona Public Service is planning to use drones to inspect power lines in the lead-up to the summer. (KTAR News)
A celebration in the United Arab Emirates commemorating the Year of Zayed featured a 500-drone light show. (Al Arabiya)
A Russian hobbyist flew a home-built multirotor drone to an altitude of 33,000 feet. (Gizmodo)
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine announced that it has resumed long-range drone flights after a one year pause in operations. (The Ukrainian Weekly)
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority has fined a man $1,050 for flying a drone over an Ed Sheeran concert. (Drone DJ)
The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $47 million foreign military sales contract for eight ScanEagle systems for the government of Afghanistan. (DoD)
The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $11.4 million foreign military sales contract modification for one RQ-21A Blackjack system for the government of Poland. (DoD)
The U.S. Army awarded AeroVironment a $1.96 million foreign military sales contract for two RQ-20A Puma II systems for the government of Latvia. (FBO)
The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $80.9 million foreign military sales contract for work on the MQ-9B Protector program for the government of the United Kingdom. (DoD)
The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $295.7 million contract for MQ-9 Reaper production. (DoD)
The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a $27 million contract modification for work on counter-drone technologies in the Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar air defense system (DoD)
The U.S. Army awarded Endeavor Robotics and QinetiQ a shared $429.1 million contract for the Common Robotic System individual bomb disposal robots. (DoD)
The U.S. Air Force awarded SRC a $57.5 million contract for counter-drone surveillance. (FBO)
The U.S. Navy increased the contract ceiling for the BAE Systems crew workstation for the MQ-4C Triton from $7.9 million to $25 million.
The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Drone Aviation Holding Corp. a $1.7 million contract for the Winch Aerostat Small Platform. (C4ISR.net)
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Raytheon a contract to develop software controls for drone swarms. (FlightGlobal)
Delivery of the U.K.’s General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Protector, a planned replacement of the MQ-9 Reaper, has been delayed to 2024. (Jane’s)
Ireland’s Maynooth University has raised $7.76 million to develop a drone traffic management system. (Silicon Republic)
EnerJex, a San Antonio-based oil and natural gas firm, has acquired AgEagle, a Kansas-based drone imagery and analytics company. (Unmanned Aerial)
French aerospace firm Thales is collaborating with NASA on the development of a drone traffic management system. (FlightGlobal)
Starr Companies is partnering with SkyWatch to offer insurance for drone operators. (Insurance Business Magazine)
Commentary, Analysis, and Art
At the Intercept, Shuaib Almosawa and Maryam Saleh investigate a suspected U.S. drone strike that reportedly resulted in the death of Yemeni civilians, including a 13-year-old boy.
At Just Security, Abdillahi Sheikh Abukar writes that the families of civilians killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in Somalia are demanding accountability.
At Foreign Policy, Dan de Luce and Sean D. Naylor write that the Trump administration is targeting the Taliban in Pakistan with drones.
At the New York Times, Eric Schmitt writes that a U.S. drone strike in Libya earlier in the month killed Musa Abu Dawud, a top recruiter for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory released a video showing numerous cutting-edge systems, including swarms of drones that could accompany manned fighter jets in the near future. (Defense News)
At War on the Rocks, David Pinion argues that the U.S. military is unprepared for enemy drone swarms.
At the Times Record, John Lovett looks at how one Arkansas Air National Guard unit made the transition from flying manned aircraft to drones.
At Warrior Maven, Kris Osborn looks at the growing number of unmanned systems that will be deployed on Littoral Combat Ships.
At Popular Science, David Nield offers a beginner’s guide to flying a drone without crashing.
At CountryGuide, Ralph Pearce looks at how Transport Canada is exploring ways of making it easier to navigate Canada’s drone regulations.
At 9News, Harry Clarke visits a beach in New South Wales, Australia to see how drones can help rescue swimmers in distress.
At Fast Company, Daniel Terdiman writes that DJI’s new sensor package is part of a play for the commercial drone market.
Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky relied on drones to obtain many of the shots in the forthcoming National Geographic series One Strange Rock. (The Drive)
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