Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Army To Equip 6 Units With Mini-UAV

Defense News: DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Army To Equip 6 Units With Mini-UAV
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources MoD Ministry of Defence Singapore Dt. Nov. 29, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada / SINGAPORE - November 30, 2010: By end-2010, six Army units will get the Skyblade III mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system which improves situational awareness and the flow of information during operations. Designed to be lightweight and portable, it will provide the units with enhanced reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities.

"With the Skyblade III mini-UAV, scout teams can now better assist commanders in decision-making by providing more timely information.For example, they can report terrain conditions and the presence of opposition forces in real-time," said Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Ong Chee Boon, Deputy Group Head, General Staff, on 25 Nov at the Murai Urban Training Facility.

The system comprises a Mini Operating Console (MOC) and the mini-UAV itself, which are packed into two backpacks. These packs - which weigh roughly 20kg each - will be carried by two soldiers into the field. Requiring only 20 minutes to set up and launch, each mini-UAV sortie can last up to an hour, after which it will require fresh batteries.

While carrying the packs is hardly a walk in the park, the operational advantages the Skyblade III brings to the table far out-strips its heft. Equipped with cameras for day and night use, the Skyblade III streams the visual data it collects instantly to its controller on the ground. This information is then analysed by the operators before it is reported to higher headquarters (see infographic).

With its operating range of 8km, having the Skyblade III also means a higher chance of survival for the scout teams that operate them. "In the past, we had to get very close to opposing forces in order to gather information. With the Skyblade III, my team can be further away from hostile territory, yet still give accurate reports to my commanders," said 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Quek Jian Liang, a Scout Team Commander in the 3rd Singapore Infantry Regiment (3 SIR).

Elaborating on the Skyblade III's edge, LTC Willy Lock, Commanding Officer 3 SIR, said: "The advantages are twofold: During an assault, we are able to see much further afield, and in defence, we are able to plan counter-manoeuvres much earlier because the scout teams are able to detect the presence of opposing forces much earlier." When cyberpioneer spoke to LTC Lock, his unit was in the midst of conducting defensive operations as part of a larger training exercise.

Apart from operational advantages, the Skyblade III's developers - researchers from DSO National Laboratories - were also mindful about usability. The result: an easy to control mini-UAV with a virtually foolproof launching system.

The Skyblade III can be launched either by hand or through bungee-assistance. The latter launch technique has the mini-UAV sitting on launching rails while connected to a slingshot-like rig. Once triggered, the rig powers the mini-UAV into the air and mechanically disconnects when the Skyblade III is safely airborne. To land, the mini-UAV performs a deep stall and an airbag is deployed from its belly which cushions the impact from landing.

According to SLTC Ong, the bungee launch technique has a stellar track record, with an unblemished success rate.

Developed in collaboration with DSO and made by ST Aerospace, the Skyblade III was developed indigenously and is a product of the cooperation between the Army and its defence industry partners.

The mini-UAV project was initiated in 2002 with the first prototype - the Skyblade I - being tested in Exercise Thunder Warrior (New Zealand) and Exercise Wallaby (Australia) a year later. While the Skyblade was still being developed, commercially available mini-UAVs such as the Birdeye 410 and Skylark were used to shape the tactics and procedures for the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operations. This is why the SAF was able to bring the mini-UAV capability to units within a short time frame, said SLTC Ong.
The six army units which will receive the SB III operational capability are: the 40th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (40 SAR), 41 SAR, 2 SIR, 3 SIR, 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade, and the 4th Singapore Armoured Brigade.

Work to bring the Skyblade III advanced capabilities to the battalion scouts and Brigade Reconnaissance Surveillance Targeting Acquisition Teams within these units started in 2009. By end-2010, they are expected to be operationalised on the system. To date, 44 Skyblade III operators have been trained.

*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: dtnnews@ymail.com

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DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Final AW159 Lynx Wildcat Test Aircraft Makes Its Maiden Flight

Defense News: DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Final AW159 Lynx Wildcat Test Aircraft Makes Its Maiden Flight
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources AgustaWestland
(NSI News Source Info) YEOVIL, UK /VERGIATE, Italy - November 30, 2010: AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the third and final AW159 test aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight on November 19th at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in the UK. During its maiden flight a range of general handling checks were completed and it performed as expected.

The aircraft, designated TI3, is the third of three test aircraft that will complete a 600 hour integrated flight test programme. This first flight comes just a few weeks after the second AW159, designated TI2, first flew in mid October. All the three aircraft flew together for the first time on the same day.

Graham Cole, Managing Director, AgustaWestland, said after the flight “I am delighted that the final test aircraft has performed its maiden flight completing on time a critical part of the AW159 development. This programme will deliver unprecedented levels of capability and cost/effectiveness to the services once the operational readiness is achieved.” Aircraft TI1 continues to perform air vehicle and flight envelope testing while TI2 is undertaking the flight testing of the aircraft’s core and mission avionics systems, the systems and software having already been developed and tested on AgustaWestland’s Full Systems Integration Rig (FSIR). TI3’s main task includes undertaking load survey trials and naval development, including ship helicopter operating limit trials. AgustaWestland has now also established a new AW159 production facility at its Yeovil plant that introduces a pulse line production system to bring significant efficiencies to the final assembly process. The first production airframe was delivered to AgustaWestland by GKN Aerospace on schedule in July 2010.

The first flight of the third AW159, known as Lynx Wildcat in UK military service, marks another major milestone in the development of this new six-ton multi-role military helicopter, 62 of which have been ordered by the UK Ministry of Defence. The first aircraft will be delivered at the end of 2011 with the aircraft becoming fully operational with the Army in 2014 and the Royal Navy in 2015. The British Army’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat will perform a wide range of tasks on the battlefield including reconnaissance, command and control, transportation of troops and materiel, and the provision of force protection. The Royal Navy variant will provide an agile maritime capability providing anti-surface warfare capability and force protection and will operate in support of amphibious operations and be an important element in defending ships against surface threats. There will be a high degree of commonality between the Army and Royal Navy helicopters that will mean that an aircraft can switch roles easily, principally through the changing of role equipment. The AW159 programme for the UK MoD continues to be on time and on budget and was the first major project to be awarded under the Strategic Partnering Arrangement signed by the UK Ministry of Defence and AgustaWestland in June 2006. AgustaWestland has also signed partnering agreements with a number of key suppliers on the AW159 programme including Selex Galileo, a Finmeccanica company; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC – a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation.

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DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Saudi Arabia National Guard To Launch Air Wing With $25 Billion Helicopter Purchase

Defense News: DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Saudi Arabia National Guard To Launch Air Wing With $25 Billion Helicopter Purchase
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Arabian Aerospace
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - November 30, 2010: Saudi Arabia's National Guard (SANG) is to be a key beneficiary of the mega arms deal with the USA and will directly lead to the creation of a new air arm.

Arabian Aerospace has learned that Riyadh will spent $25.6bn on setting up the SANG Aviation Command through the purchase of 156 helicopters including Apache and Little Bird AH6 models..

Saudi has previously confirmed a requirement for 190 helicopters but it had previously been expected that these would be for the RSAF.

The National Guard heads the internal security within the Kingdom and is directly descended from King Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s Ikhwan (Brotherhood), or White Army as it was sometimes called. This was the King’s instrument for subduing and unifying the various disparate tribes of the Arabian Peninsula to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Once organized along tribal lines, and commanded by tribal sheiks today’s SANG continues to draw heavily for its members from select Bedouin tribes which have a record of unquestioning loyalty to the Crown. As a result of this history, the SANG has a long tradition of loyalty to both the nation and its ruling family.

SANG saw an Aviation Command added to its portfolio in 2006 but until now, had no aircraft to its name,

The 156 aircraft include 72 armed helicopters, which will be used for the defense of vital installations, including borders and oil infrastructure, and for supporting ground forces tasked with protecting such installations.

Unsurprisingly, the SANG aviation regiment will receive the 36 Boeing AH-6i Little Bird light attack helicopters included in the new arms deal. Unsurprisingly, as the light and simple AH-6i is a natural fit for a new air arm. These will carry Wescam MX-15Di (AN/AAQ-35) undernose turrets, containing EO targeting systems. The aircraft will be armed with GAU-19/A .50 caliber gun pods and will be supplied with launchers that will allow them to use the AGM-114R Hellfire II Anti-Tank Guided Missile.

More surprisingly, 36 of the 70 highly sophisticated Boeing AH-64D Block III Apaches likely to be supplied to Saudi Arabia will go to the Saudi Arabian National Guard (with 24 going to the Royal Saudi Land Forces and ten to the Royal Guard Regiment). Up to 20 of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Apaches will be equipped with the mast-mounted AN/APG-78 Longbow Fire Control Radar.

The US DoD has notified Congress of its intention to supply some 2,592 AGM-114R Hellfire II missile

*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: dtnnews@ymail.com

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