Weekly Roundup 4/17/17

Iran unveiled the Mohajer 6 drone last week, the latest in the Mohajer family. Credit: Tasnim News

April 10, 2017 – April 16, 2017

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A drone strike in the Sinai reportedly killed one person. According to al-Jazeera, the strike targeted a house in Rafah, a town that borders the Gaza Strip. Hours before the strike, an ISIS affiliate in the Sinai launched a rocket attack into Israel. (The Times of Israel)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At TechCrunch, Lora Kolodny examines why Flybrix, a startup drone manufacturer, decided to avoid a crowdfunding campaign.

At Recode, April Glaser writes that hobby drone maker DJI is “running away with the drone market.”

In a video at IEEE Spectrum, Allison Ferguson discusses how PrecisionHawk is experimenting with beyond line-of-sight drone operations.

At USNI News, Megan Eckstein looks at how a recent contract for two unmanned surface vehicles will shape the Navy’s acquisition decisions in 2018.

At AIN Online, Bill Carey writes that Northrop Grumman is nearing delivery of the MQ-4C Triton high-altitude surveillance drone.

At DefenseNews, Jen Judson surveys the technology driving the next generation of U.S. Army unmanned ground vehicles.

At IHS Jane’s 360, Gareth Jennings describes the role that U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers are playing in the counter-ISIS campaign.

At Air & Space Magazine, Ed Darack looks at how tethered drones can, in some urban situations, be more useful than free-flying drones.

At Deseret News, Jarek Buss argues that deploying more drones on the U.S. border with Mexico would be more effective than building a border wall.

Meanwhile, at Aviation Week & Space Technology, James Drew examines whether an updated Aurora Orion long-endurance surveillance drone could be used for maritime border security.

In a podcast at the Modern War Institute, Maj. Jen Snow and Dr. James Canton discuss the future military applications of robots, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

At Yale Books Unbound, Christopher Fuller looks at why the Trump administration decided to expand the drone strike authority of the CIA.

Meanwhile, at the Cipher Brief, Rachel Stohl argues that the Trump administration could undo President Obama’s improvements to transparency and accountability surrounding drone strikes.

At the New York Times, Ben C. Solomon reports on an ISIS drone attack on Iraqi forces in Mosul.  

At the Associated Press, Dave Kolpack writes that job opportunities for drone mechanics are on the rise.

Know Your Drone

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has developed an unmanned version of the Russian T-72 Tank, which will be used by the U.S. Army as a target for training. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

European utility E.ON is investing in a tethered drone system that can be used to generate offshore wind energy. (CleanTechnica)

Researchers at St. Petersburg Marine Technical University have unveiled a new unmanned undersea glider. (Mil.Today)

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is preparing to test its Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft (CICADA) swarming drones. (TechCrunch)

The U.S. Navy conducted the first test flight of its MQ-8C Fire Scout from a Littoral Combat Ship. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

In a live test, defense firm Lockheed Martin demonstrated autonomous systems for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Loyal Wingman program. (Aviation Week)

Drone maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems successfully conducted a test flight of its MQ-9 Reaper equipped with a Raytheon radar system. (AUVSI)

Aviation firm Textron is planning to demonstrate its Aerosonde vertical take-off and landing drone from a Navy vessel later this year. (Sea Power Magazine)

Researchers at the University of Manchester tested what happens when consumer quadcopter drones are struck by lightning. (Gizmodo)

Azerbaijan’s Defense Industry Ministry has announced that it will begin production of its Zarba-KH surveillance and reconnaissance drone this year. (Azernews)

In a simulated test, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command demonstrated the mission control system for its developmental MQ-25 Stingray drone. (Press Release)

In a statement, the U.K. Minister of Defence Harriet Baldwin called for proposals for autonomous systems to deliver supplies to troops in the field. (MoD)

Drones at Work

The U.S Air Force is planning to deploy five of its RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude reconnaissance drones to Yokota Air Base in Japan in May. (IHS Jane’s 360)

The City of San Diego in California has passed an ordinance regulating private drone use in the area. (The San Diego Union TribuneFor more on local drone laws, click here.

Meanwhile, drones have been banned from all public parks in Sacramento County, California. (KCRA)

And the town of Toms River in New Jersey is considering an ordinance that would ban drone use below 400 feet. (NJ.com)

The Middleton Police Department in Wisconsin used a drone to aid in the search for the fugitive Joseph Jakubowski. (Channel 3000)

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office in California dropped charges against a man who flew a drone near a wildfire in July of last year. (KCRA)

The Lebanon Police Department in Indiana has acquired a drone for operations. (The Lebanon Reporter)

The Clare County Council is considering the possibility of using drones to track illegal dumping. (The Clare Champion)

The Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District in California is preparing to use drones to search for mosquitoes in support of an upcoming eradication effort. (Fox 40)

This year’s Coachella music festival featured a drone swarm light show. (The Los Angeles Times)

A hobby drone flying over Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica struck a pelican and crashed into the beach. (UPI)

Industry Intel

A report by the NPD Group found that consumer drone sales doubled in the past year. (Press Release)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Boeing a $7.6 million contract for Hydra Phase 2, a program intended to develop networks of unmanned undersea vehicles. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems $24.8 million, Boeing $19.2 million, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics $18.9 million, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems $18.7 million contract modifications for additional risk reduction activities in support of the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned refueler. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems a $12.7 million contract for MQ-8 Fire Scout engineering and maintenance support. (FBO)

The U.S. Army awarded Unit a $33.1 million contract for an unmanned aircraft systems hangar at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. (DoD)

Ocean Infinity awarded 4D Nav a contract for mission planning software for autonomous underwater vehicles. (OE Digital)

Australia’s EPE purchased the Department 13 MESMER counter-drone system on behalf of an unnamed end customer. (iTWire)

Two Swiss prisons awarded Rheinmetall AG contracts for the Radshield drone detection system. (Press Release)

Please note: The Department of Defense has issued a correction for a contract for URS Federal Services that was included in last week’s Roundup. According to the correction, the contract is for a range of support services and not for remotely piloted aircraft.

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