German Air Force in Afghanistan and Mali: Drone operator talks on his severe trauma

For the first time, a German „Master of a Drone System“ reports heavy stress disorders and depression just from watching from the air. With the upcoming introduction of armed drones, the phenomenon is likely to get worse.

After about a decade of „drone debate“, the German Bundestag decided in April to arm drones for the Bundeswehr. Beforehand, the Ministry of Defence had invited a few critical voices to hearings, in addition to many supporters. Among other things, they warned of the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for pilots, but especially for the personnel operating the sensor technology. This was also reported by former members of US drone squadrons – but outside the official events of the German Ministry of Defence, which deliberately refrained from inviting them.

The 45 year old André Hassan Khan is the first German Armed Forces drone operator to speak out about his PTSD, which he says has taken a severe course. Since its introduction twelve years ago, he has operated the optical and radar-based cameras of the Israeli Heron 1 reconnaissance drone with the air force in Afghanistan and later in Mali. Khan is a „Tactical Operator Master of a Drone System“. That is the name of the training course at Tactical Air Force Squadron 51 „Immelmann“ in Schleswig-Holstein, which operates the Bundeswehr drones. „German Air Force in Afghanistan and Mali: Drone operator talks on his severe trauma“ weiterlesen

Exoskeletons: Race of the super soldiers

The military in the USA, China or even Germany uses motorised exoskeletons in logistics, while Russia is said to have already tested them in war.

Russian defence company Rostec is working on an armoured exoskeleton that would cover a soldier’s entire body and provide ballistic protection against fragments. Embedded in fourth-generation combat equipment, human energy consumption could also be significantly reduced in this way. With the new suit, soldiers should be able to hold loads of up to 20 kilograms in their hands for longer periods of time. With the help of the frame strapped to the body, even up to 60 kilograms can be carried. According to Rostec, the accuracy of automatic weapons is also increased.

The deputy general director of Rostec, Vladimir Artyakov, made a corresponding announcement about the motorised body armour to the state news agency RIA Novosti on the occasion of the recent Forum Army-2022. The company had already exhibited the system made of lightweight composite materials for „soldiers of the future“ at the annual sales fair in Moscow last year. „Exoskeletons: Race of the super soldiers“ weiterlesen

Vertical take-off: German military buys modernised reconnaissance drones

After more than a decade, the Bundeswehr is replacing its 145 quadrocopters with a revised model. It comes from the same company, is foldable and can mark targets. The overall system in the backpack weighs 15 kilograms.

The Armed Forces‘ branches can look forward to145 new quadrocopters for „imaging reconnaissance.“ The order was placed via the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), which is now providing information about it. The contract was awarded back in May.

The new drones will be handed over in Summer 2023, with delivery to be completed by 2024. Operator training should also be completed by then. „Vertical take-off: German military buys modernised reconnaissance drones“ 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

German Bundeswehr: Heavy drone first time flies in regular air traffic

A new EU certificate allows drones over 25 kilograms to fly beyond visual range in civil and military airspace. But there have been crashes.

The German Armed Forces Procurement Office tested a drone for the first time in military airspace beyond visual range, while regular air traffic was also taking place there. Flown was the UAV One 150 fixed-wing aircraft from the Primoco company in the Czech Republic.

The aircraft was equipped with transponders for this purpose in addition to radio communication. This allowed it to be integrated into the air traffic management system of manned aviation. The required sensors came from the German interception specialist Plath.

Plath and Primoco described the drone flights as a „milestone“ in a German military airspace. In fact, the tests could provide a breakthrough. That’s because until now, aviation law has stipulated that heavy drones can generally only fly in restricted airspace. This enormously reduces the possibilities for use in the military and civilian sectors. „German Bundeswehr: Heavy drone first time flies in regular air traffic“ weiterlesen

German Armed Forces: SARah-1 spy satellite launches with SpaceX

The German military’s Earth observation program costs around €800 million. The foreign secret service also uses it, but is getting its own spy system under the name Georg.

On Saturday, the Bundeswehr plans to bring its first new SARah series spy satellite into space. The launch, which can be watched live, will take place from Vandenberg Rocket Base in California and is targeted for 1:30 p.m. GMT+2.

The satellite, which weighs about four tons, will be transported into space on a two-stage Falcon 9 from Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. The launch vehicle is partially reusable.

The company responsible for developing the SARah satellites is OHB System in Bremen, which was commissioned to do so by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support in 2013. The SARah-1 was manufactured under a subcontract by Airbus in Friedrichshafen. „German Armed Forces: SARah-1 spy satellite launches with SpaceX“ weiterlesen

Third accident in three years: Hermes 900 becomes a crash drone

An Elbit drone has crashed in the Philippines. In Israel, the manufacturer received the world’s only permission to fly in civil airspace, despite similar incidents. Soon Switzerland will follow.

An unmanned aerial vehicle of the type Hermes 900 suffered total damage in an accident in the Philippines on Saturday. The crash landing occurred on approach to Lumbia Airport on Mindanao Island, apparently after communications with the drone were interrupted. It was reportedly on a test flight to test various functions.

No people or buildings are reported to have been harmed in the crash in forested terrain. The drone is now being recovered. The Philippine Air Force is investigating the cause of the incident. For the time being, all drones of the same type must remain on the ground. „Third accident in three years: Hermes 900 becomes a crash drone“ 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

Hensoldt: New German platform to be able to jam Russian air defense radars

The Bundeswehr is modernizing its electronic warfare capabilities. A new system is to be fitted to Eurofighters once it has been developed

Hensoldt, a German company specializing in sensor technology, has developed Kalaetron Attack, an electronic warfare system. Recent ground tests have proven its effectiveness in „current threat scenarios“, the German defense company writes in a press release. According to it, the platform is a „technology leap“ and could jam even the latest Russian radars.

Kalaetron Attack consists of various components to deceive, suppress and disrupt enemy capabilities in the air, on land and at sea. The same system is also said to be able to be used passively as a reconnaissance sensor. Thus, the platform might secure „freedom of movement“ in a contested electromagnetic environment, thereby increasing the effectiveness of friendly forces. „Hensoldt: New German platform to be able to jam Russian air defense radars“ weiterlesen