Weekly Roundup 9/30/19

September 23, 2019 – September 29, 2019

At the Center

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Dan Gettinger discusses his new report, The Drone Databook, and explains that drone technology is proliferating beyond just technologically-advanced militaries. 

The Drone Databook is a comprehensive guide to the drone inventories, units and training programs, bases and test sites, and research and development programs of more than 100 militaries around the globe. Read the Databook here

Top Stories

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer dismissed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s alleged inclusion of a U.S. citizen on a classified “kill list,” after the Trump administration invoked the state secrets privilege. In the suit, freelance journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem alleged that he had been mistaken for an Islamist militant and wrongfully marked for targeting. The rarely invoked state secrets authority is designed to allow the government to withhold information that has implications for national security. (The Washington Post

Yemen’s Houthi group announced that it would cease drone attacks on Saudi Arabia. Mahdi al-Mashat, the head of the Houthi’s supreme political council, said that it expects Saudi Arabia to likewise cease its attacks in Yemeni territory. The Houthi group has taken responsibility for multiple attacks on Saudi infrastructure over the past several years. (Al Jazeera) 

Know Your Drone

Korea Aerospace Industries completed the successful first flight of the Night Intruder-600 Vertical Take-Off and Landing, a helicopter drone designed for surveillance and cargo missions. (TheDefensePost)

In a flight test, the Russian Defence Ministry operated its developmental S-70 Okhotnik-B flying-wing combat drone in tandem with an Su-57 fighter jet. (The Drive) 

Turkish defense firm Baykar Makina formally unveiled the Akinci, a large, armed fixed-wing drone. (Jane’s) 

The Australian Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre and aerospace firm Boeing are partnering to develop artificial intelligence technologies to enable more autonomous unmanned vehicle operations. (AJOT)

U.S. firm UAV Turbines successfully tested its Monarch 5 micro-turbine engine aboard a TigerShark fixed-wing drone. (FlightGlobal) 

Chinese drone maker MMC UAV unveiled the Griflion H VTOL, a hydrogen-powered vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing drone. (New Atlas) 

European firms Safran, ZF Luftfahrttechnik, and MT-Propeller are developing a new turboprop engine for large drones. (AIN Online)

U.S. sensing systems maker FLIR unveiled the MUVE C360, a chemical-sensing payload mounted on a DJI multirotor drone. (C4ISRNET) 

A team from the University of California Berkeley has developed a system by which a drone can be charged in mid-air by another drone carrying a charging station. (IEEE Spectrum)

Chinese drone maker DJI unveiled two new drones: the P4 Multispectral, a multirotor drone for multispectral imaging, and the Agras T16, a multirotor crop-spraying drone. (TechCrunch)

Drones at Work

U.S. federal prosecutors have charged a Pennsylvania man for allegedly using a drone to deliver explosives to his ex-girlfriend’s home. (Gizmodo)

The Sussex Police in the U.K. said that they had failed to identify the culprits of the drone incursions at Gatwick Airport last December. (Associated Press) 

The Colombian Army announced that it retrieved two small drones packed with explosives that it says belong to the Frente Oliver Sinisterra in the southwest of the country. (InSight Crime)

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said that Russian forces at Khmeimim air base in Syria have shot down 58 drones launched against the facility this year alone. (The Washington Post

The U.S. Postal Service issued a request for information to explore the feasibility of using drones for a variety of delivery operations. (Aviation Week)

Dubai International Airport suspended flights for 15 minutes after suspected drone activity was detected in the area. (CNBC) 

Two Texas photojournalists filed a lawsuit alleging that a state law restricting the use of drones for aerial image collection violates their First Amendment rights. (Courthouse News Service)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Louisville Metro Police officer for allegedly flying his personal drone near a high-rise apartment building while off-duty. (WDRB)

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutions Office in Ohio released footage of an inmate in a prison yard who appears to be receiving a package of contraband delivered by drone. (CNN) 

Industry Intel

The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency awarded Northrop Grumman a five-year $375.8 million contract for radar systems for the MQ-4C Triton surveillance drone. (DoD) 

The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon Missile Systems a $16.3 million contract to conduct field assessments of the Phaser high power microwave counter-drone system at an undisclosed location outside the U.S. (DoD) 

The U.S. Air Force awarded Target Arm a $750,000 research contract for work on a drone launch and recovery system. (Aviation Week) 

The U.S. Navy awarded Dunmar Group a $510,431 contract to construct a counter unmanned aerial systems tower at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia. (FBO)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Zachary Lee Neal a $22,759 contract for a DJI Matrice 210 and associated parts. (FBO) 

The U.S. Army awarded BirdsEyeView Aerobotics a $37,771 contract for two FireFly6 PRO drones for the Army Corps of Engineers. (FBO)

The Australian Department of Defence awarded XTEK a three-year, AU$10.6 million contract for drone repair, maintenance, and support services for WASP AE drones. (ZDNet) 

D-Fend, an Israeli counter-drone start-up, raised $28 million in a funding round led by Claridge Israel. (Globes) 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency awarded Citadel Defense a $1 million contract for counter-drone equipment. (Aviation Week) 

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

The Associated Press looks at the ways in which the Israeli defense industry is developing new technologies to counter drones

At FlightGlobal, Mike Rajkumar writes that India’s loss of a demonstrator drone in a recent test flight is a setback for the development program. 

At OilPrice.com, Leilah Schubert writes that the drone strike on Saudi energy facilities highlighted new risks for the global economy

At Defense News, David B. Larter explains how Britain’s Royal Navy plans to start introducing small unmanned surface vehicles