US military test flight: Zephyr solar glider crashed

Airbus‘ high-flying drone has crashed in the desert just hours before setting a record for the longest flight ever recorded by an aircraft.

The Zephyr solar-powered drone has crashed over the Arizona desert after a long-distance flight of 64 days. On tracking websites, the glider’s route suddenly became invisible on Friday 19 August and did not reappear as it usually does. According to the US magazine Simple Flying, the data shows a vertical rate of descent increasing rapidly and racing to the ground at speeds of up to 83 kilometres per hour.

An Airbus Defense representative reportedly confirmed the loss to Simple Flying, but did not speak of a crash. According to the statement, there were „circumstances that ended its current flight“. No persons were harmed. „US military test flight: Zephyr solar glider crashed“ weiterlesen

PackBot: German Army receives 127 new robots

The Bundeswehr is being equipped with small ground robots for reconnaissance and bomb disposal. Rheinmetall, meanwhile, is showing off an armed drone tank.

The German Army will receive 127 PackBot 525 ground robots, U.S. manufacturer Teledyne FLIR Defense announced last week at the Eurosatory military trade show in Paris. The tablet-controlled devices will be delivered to the Army before the end of July.

The German partner European Logistic Partners (ELP) from Wuppertal is responsible for this. The company has already supplied the Army with the predecessor PackBot 510. There, the device trades as „manipulator vehicle EOD small“. According to the Bundeswehr, it can be carried by one person. „PackBot: German Army receives 127 new robots“ weiterlesen

Ukraine war: Russia allegedly uses laser weapons against drones

Russian high-energy lasers are also said to blind satellites. US land forces mount smaller systems on tanks, German Rheinmetall still working on it.

Russian forces say they are using laser weapons in the war against Ukraine to take out defenders‘ drones. This was stated by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov at a conference in Moscow on Wednesday last week. Presumably, the weapons are so-called High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon systems.

Borissov did not explain the size of the drone attacked. However, it was destroyed „within five seconds“. There is no evidence for this claim even on relevant websites of military analysts.

Borissov oversees the Russian defence sector. It is the first time that the senior civilian official has confirmed the use of a new weapon in Ukraine, writes the military portal Defense News. The system is now being mass-produced, it adds. „Ukraine war: Russia allegedly uses laser weapons against drones“ weiterlesen

German Bundeswehr: The Army does not want to be intercepted

In order to communicate securely, land forces in NATO missions allegedly stop their tanks and arrange to talk „tower to tower“.

The German Armed Forces also want to communicate in a tap-proof manner and use encrypted connections for this purpose. This is a problem especially for the Army, which is still not equipped with digital devices across the board. This has dangerous implications for the armed forces‘ ability to command in the field.

Today, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, Chief of Staff of the German Army, once again pointed this out in an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). According to Mais, the basic ability to „transmit data and voice in a protected manner“ is lacking. Therefore, secure communication is the „most important task in the modernisation of the Bundeswehr“. „German Bundeswehr: The Army does not want to be intercepted“ weiterlesen

Takeover of German manufacturer: Rheinmetall re-enters the drone business

Equipping the German Army’s reconnaissance force with new LUNA drones seems to be secured, so a sale of the insolvent German manufacturer EMT to Israel is off the table. The Bundeswehr has also commissioned a study for kamikaze drones, such a system is also offered by Rheinmetall.

Defence contractor Rheinmetall is taking over major parts of insolvent drone manufacturer EMT from Penzberg in Bavaria. This was announced by the company’s Düsseldorf headquarters in a press release this week. The company, founded in 1978 by Hartmut Euer, a graduate engineer, built the LUNA tactical drone for the German armed forces. Originally, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems from Israel was supposed to buy up the company’s bankruptcy assets. This option is now off the table.

Rheinmetall intends to retain the four EMT sites in Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein and integrate them and their 200 employees into the group structure. The group is thus returning to the drone business. Rheinmetall had developed the KZO („Kleinfluggerät Zielortung“) in the 1990s and sold 61 of these systems to the Army. In 2010, the company also won the contract to fly the Israeli HERON 1 for the Air Force, but gave this contract to EADS-Cassidian two years later. The jointly formed business was merged into the restructured Airbus Group in 2014. „Takeover of German manufacturer: Rheinmetall re-enters the drone business“ weiterlesen

Unmanned supersaturation attacks

After the German Armed Forces, the EU also wants to research drone swarms that are dropped from a mother ship

The European Union could invest more funds in the development of drone swarms in the future. This is according to documents published by the British non-governmental organisation Statewatch on the next round of funding for the Permanent Structured Cooperation. The initiative, shortened to PESCO after its English name, promotes military cooperation between 25 EU member states. The focus is on the financing and implementation of joint armament projects. A „European Defence Union“ envisaged in this way is also to make greater use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Among the proposals is the development of a vertically launching large drone with „large number“ of small unmanned rotorcraft inside. These could then be dropped over combat zones. After their mission, they would fly back to the platform autonomously. The project is called „Rotorcraft Docking Station for Drones“ and the leading member state would be Italy with France as another member. The Bundeswehr wants to participate in the project as an observer. Whether the project is actually financed is decided by all member states in the Council of the European Union. „Unmanned supersaturation attacks“ weiterlesen

Reconnaissance and attack: German Bundeswehr is working on drone swarms

In various projects, the military and the defence industry are investigating the networking of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. For the Air Force, they could in small numbers support air combat; for the Army, they can detect and destroy nearby targets in large swarms.

In various projects, the Army and Air Force are researching the „Manned-Unmanned-Teaming“ (MUM-T) of drones that, for example, support fighter jets or helicopters in reconnaissance or attack ground targets in advance flight. The number of accompanying drones is theoretically unlimited and is primarily determined by the computing power of the military control system on the ground.

From 2022, the European Defence Agency wants to fund corresponding research. This is what the German Ministry of Defence writes in its answer to a parlamentarian question. The planned project is called „Autonomous, Reconfigurable Swarms of Unmanned Vehicles for Defense Applications“ (ACHILLES); the unmanned aerial vehicles are to carry out surveillance tasks. The projectalso includes the possible integration of the networked drones into the airspace controlled by civilian air traffic controllers. „Reconnaissance and attack: German Bundeswehr is working on drone swarms“ weiterlesen