August 26, 2019 – September 1, 2019
If you would like to receive the Weekly Roundup in your inbox, please subscribe at the bottom of the page.
At the Center
In a review of The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law by Jameel Jaffer, Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Arthur Holland Michel charts the long, complex history of the U.S. targeted killing program and argues that this new form of warfare, which revealed itself thanks to the legal advocacy efforts of Jaffer and his peers, can be thought of as a thoroughly postmodern enterprise. (Postmodern Culture)
The U.S. Department of Defense launched an initiative to boost the domestic production of small drones by matching manufacturers with funding opportunities. According to Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the program is intended to challenge Chinese firm DJI’s dominance in the quadcopter market. (Foreign Policy)
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice to drone operators warning that it is illegal to equip drones with dangerous weapons capable of causing death or serious injury. In the notice, the agency explained that “operating a drone with such an item may result in significant harm to a person and to your bank account.” (Gizmodo)
Know Your Drone
U.S. firm ZSQUARED Engineering unveiled the NEREUSV, a prototype for a long-range unmanned surface vessel. (Jane’s)
The Iran Aviation Industries Organization unveiled a mockup of a stealthy jet-powered drone, the Mobin, that can be equipped with a variety of payloads. (Jane’s)
Aerospace firm Bell completed the first flight of the APT 70, a multirotor delivery drone capable of carrying up to 70 lbs. (Engadget)
Meanwhile, U.S. startup Elroy Air has begun flight testing of the Chaparral, a large cargo drone. (Aviation Week)
A Chinese firm identified as CCKW unveiled a stealthy, jet-powered target drone that it claims could also be used for loyal wingman operations. (Aviation Week)
U.S. firm Dynamite Global Strategies unveiled the AIRDEFENSE 6.0, a counter-drone system. (Press Release)
Meanwhile, OpenWorks Engineering unveiled the SkyWall Auto Response, a vehicle-mounted counter-drone net cannon. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
Chinese drone maker HEISHA unveiled the D.NEST S300, a vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing surveillance drone capable of autonomous charging. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
U.S. startup Lucid has unveiled a drone equipped with a spray hose for cleaning the exterior of buildings. (TechCrunch)
Drones at Work
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced that it is seeking to implement measures to ease restrictions on drone flights in the vicinity of certain federal facilities that currently ban all drone operations. (Press Release)
The Libyan Address Journal published footage that appears to confirm that Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2s are operating from Libya’s Mitiga airport in Tripoli. (Jane’s)
The Lebanese army announced that it fired at multiple Israeli drones that it says entered its airspace. (Al Jazeera)
The U.S. Air Force’s classified X-37B orbital drone has surpassed its previous record for the longest mission in orbit around the Earth, having spent 719 days circling the planet. (Gizmodo)
An investigation by the U.K. Airprox Board revealed that an Airbus A320 passenger jet on final approach to London Gatwick Airport on April 28 was forced to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a drone in its flight path. (FlightGlobal)
Environmental activist group Heathrow Pause announced that it will fly drones in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport in London on September 13 to ground flights. (The Guardian)
U.S. drone maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has been issued a waiver to conduct beyond visual line-of-sight drone operations in civilian airspace without a chase plane. (Unmanned Systems Technology)
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office in California has acquired a new unmanned ground vehicle for explosive ordnance disposal missions. (Lodi News-Sentinel) For more on police robots, click here.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority is investigating a man who allegedly suspended himself from a drone in order to go fishing over a lake. (Sydney Morning Herald)
The U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems a $44.6 million contract modification for low-rate initial production of the Knifefish unmanned undersea vehicle. (DoD)
The U.S. Special Forces Command awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $78 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for modifications to the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle. (DoD)
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded FLIR Systems a $210,500 contract for SkyRaider and Black Hornet surveillance drones. (FBO)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded Planck Aerosystems a $200,000 contract to begin testing its autonomous drone in operational settings. (DHS)
Meanwhile, the U.S. DoD awarded Planck Aerosystems a contract valued at over $2 million for mobile tethered drones for the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office. (Press Release)
Starship Technologies announced that it has raised $40 million in a Series A funding round and that it intends to use the funds to expand its autonomous delivery service to universities. (AUVSI)
The U.S. Air Force extended an agreement with Dedrone to use counter-drone equipment at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. (Press release)
Commentary, Analysis, and Art
At Bloomberg, Jack Pitcher chronicles the decline of the drone venture capital boom.
At Breaking Defense, Theresa Hitchens reports that the U.S. and India are working on a plan to acquire a version of the General Atomics Predator B that could be used by each of India’s three armed service branches. (Breaking Defense)
At Robotics Business Review, Ray Linsenmayer looks at a few of the lessons learned from DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge.
At FlightGlobal, Garrett Reim writes that a model of Russia’s Sukhoi S-70 displayed at a recent arms show suggests that the futuristic drone may be equipped with a stealthy exhaust outlet.
At The Times, Richard Spencer writes that the target of a recent Israeli drone operation in Lebanon appears to have been an Iranian-Hezbollah missile facility outside Beirut.
At Middle East Eye, Arnaud Delalande looks at how Libya has turned into a proxy war for Emirati and Turkish drone operations.
At Inside Unmanned Systems, Danielle Parsons writes that government agencies requests to the FAA for special drone flight authorizations are set to nearly double this year.