Weekly Roundup 9/18/17

A team from Johns Hopkins University set a flight record for blood delivery by drone. A Latitude Engineering HQ-40 drone flew 161 miles across Arizona. Credit: Latitude Engineering

September 11, 2017 – September 17, 2017

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A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan reportedly killed three people. According to a local official who spoke with Reuters, the strike took place near the border with Afghanistan.

A suspected U.S. drone strike in Yemen reportedly killed three people. According to a local security official who spoke with Reuters, the three men were members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Three U.S. drone strikes in Somalia reportedly killed six members of al-Shabaab. In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said that the strikes occurred 160 miles south of Mogadishu. (Associated Press)

The U.S. has deployed an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone to the Philippines to support operations against the Islamic State. In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said that the unarmed drone, which is operated by the U.S. Army, will provide surveillance support to the Philippines military. The Gray Eagle is an upgraded variant of the MQ-1 Predator. (Wall Street Journal)  

The CIA is reportedly seeking authority to carry out drone strikes in active war zones, including in Afghanistan. According to the New York Times, the intelligence agency is pushing to loosen Obama-era constraints governing where it can conduct strikes. Under policies established by the Obama administration, strikes outside of active war zones are subject to much stricter rules.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense confirmed that two British Army Watchkeeper drones crashed off the coast of Wales earlier this year, leading to a temporary pause on operations. Aberporth Airport, a base for training Watchkeeper pilots, resumed drone flights in July. (BBC)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In a joint statement, 19 civil society organizations expressed concerns regarding the U.S.-led initiative to create global standards for drone exports. (Just Security)

The U.K. Ministry of Defense has released a report on the terminology, tasking, and employment of unmanned aircraft systems. (Gov.uk)

At the Modern War Institute, Rick Montcalm considers what happens when an unmanned partner turns into a liability on the battlefield.

At DefenseTech, Hope Hodge Seck looks at how the U.S. Marine Corps is eyeing robots that will accompany and assist infantry.

At Aviation Week, Lara Seligman speaks with the U.S. Air Force pilot who shot down an Iranian drone over Syria.

At Drone 360, Carl Engelking looks at the challenges and opportunities in using drones for wildlife research.

At Bloomberg, Justin Bachman imagines a future transport chain staffed entirely by robots and drones.

At China Money Network, Pan Yue writes that Chinese companies and scientists are rapidly filing artificial intelligence patents.

At Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton looks at how 3D-printed drones developed by the U.S. Marine Corps could become commonplace on the battlefield.

An article in the U.S. Army’s Aviation Digest looks at how to improve counter-drone capabilities and doctrine.

In an interview at Discover Magazine, stormchaser Brian Emfinger recounts his experience flying a drone into Hurricane Irma.

At the Wall Street Journal, Andy Pasztor writes that drone industry leaders are pushing for more regulation in order to enable more types of operations.  

Banksy installed an art piece about drones in an anti-war art show outside the British Defense and Security Equipment International 2017 arms fair. (Reuters)

Know Your Drone

Defense firm Lockheed Martin unveiled the Outrider, a small surveillance drone that can be launched from submarines, helicopters, and troops on the ground. (Jane’s)

Maritime drone maker Liquid Robotics has developed an updated version of its Wave Glider unmanned surface vehicle, which can withstand arctic conditions. (Defense News)

A team at the University of Colorado and the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is developing a drone swarming system that allows a single operator to control multiple search and rescue drones simultaneously. (Denver Post)

Aviation Industry Corp of China unveiled the AV500W, an unmanned intelligence and attack helicopter capable of carrying 120 kg of payload. (People’s Daily)

Defense firm BAE Systems has unveiled a concept for a future battle tank that is protected by a perimeter of autonomous unmanned ground vehicles and aerial drones. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Researchers at EPFL in Switzerland have developed a delivery drone with a collapsible cage that protects its package during flight. (IEEE Spectrum)

Rolls-Royce is designing a 60 meter-long unmanned naval ship for surveillance, mine detection, and fleet screening. (TechCrunch)

Turkish defense firm Baykar Makina announced that it is planning to develop a large jet-powered military drone. (Daily Sabah)

Open Works Engineering released new details about its SkyWall 300 turret-mounted automatic counter-drone system, which will have an effective range of 250 meters. (Jane’s)

Meanwhile, a consortium of U.K. firms has developed a new version of the AUDS counter-drone system optimized for countering swarm attacks. (UPI)

Researchers at Virginia Tech have concluded that the risk of a catastrophic head injury to a person in an impact with a 1.2 kilogram drone is less than 5 percent. (Bloomberg)

U.S. startup FlightWave Aerospace unveiled the Jupiter-H2, a fuel cell-powered multirotor drone. (UAS Magazine)

U.S. firms Heath Consultants and Physical Sciences have demonstrated how drones can be used to detect gas leaks following natural disasters like hurricanes. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

Leonardo Helicopters has begun the second phase of development of a rotary-wing drone for the U.K. Ministry of Defense. (FlightGlobal)

Israeli firm APG unveiled the Peres, a vertical take-off and landing drone with an endurance of 12 hours. (FlightGlobal)

Drones at Work

U.S. drone maker Boeing Insitu launched ScanEagle drones to survey a forest fire near the company’s headquarters. (KUOW)

A Chicago man has been charged with three misdemeanors after reportedly flying a drone outside the 42nd floor of an apartment building. (CBS Chicago)

The Bargersville Community Fire Department in Indiana used a drone with an infrared camera to find a woman who had gone missing. (WISH)

In a test, a team from Johns Hopkins University set a new record for a medical sample drone delivery, flying a blood sample 259 km across the Arizona desert. (New Atlas)

The Estonian Border Guard is conducting an operational trial of the Eli Airborne Solutions Drone Nest, a forward-deployed base station for surveillance drones. (Jane’s)

U.S. telecom firms AT&T and Verizon are using drones in their efforts to rebuild networks in areas affected by Hurricane Irma. (NPR)

Meanwhile, drones are being used to aid first responders working in St. Maarten in the wake of Irma. (The Record)

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is conducting operational tests of a range of small drones for border surveillance. (Press Release)

Industry Intel

The Missile Defense Agency awarded General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems a $30.4 million contract to use MQ-9 Reapers in a Ballistic Missile Defense System test. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu a $9.8 million contract for ScanEagle reconnaissance drones. (DoD)  

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu a $1.2 million contract for spares for the Marine Corps’ RQ-21A program. (DoD)

The British Army awarded Harris Corporation a contract valued up to $73 million for 56 T7 bomb disposal robots. (Defense News)

The Royal Canadian Navy awarded QinetiQ Target Systems a $3.9 million contract for over 40 unmanned surface vehicle targets and payloads. (Naval-Technology)

ECA Group has delivered expendable unmanned undersea vehicles for mine countermeasures to an unnamed navy in Asia. (Marine Technology News)

JetLease, a Florida-based aircraft leasing firm, will begin leasing the UMS Skeldar rotary UAV. (24/7 Wall St.)

The British Royal Navy will take delivery of the ATLAS Remote Combined Influence Minesweeping System, a countermine unmanned surface vehicle, this winter. (Defense News)  

Honeywell Aerospace and Intel have partnered to offer an industrial drone inspection service. (Business Journal)

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