Sunday, August 31, 2014

Remote controlled Black Hawks - reviving aircraft as unmanned systems

Unmanned aerial systems are commonplace for many air forces around the world, but the technology can often be expensive and bespoke systems can take years to build. Now aerospace manufacturers are looking at ways they can bring down the costs of these aircraft by equipping tried-and-tested legacy systems like the F-16 and Black Hawk with optionally manned capabilities. 
"Sikorsky selected the optionally manned route rather than full autonomy to support its aims of improving safety across its entire military and civilian product range."

A medevac helicopter lands near the site of an attack of an armoured patrol and its crew members carry injured personnel on board before taking off for the nearest trauma centre. In flight, the condition of an injured combatant deteriorates and all hands are needed - including the medically-trained pilot. The pilot flicks a switch and the helicopter automatically takes over navigation to its designation and lands safely on arrival, avoiding hazards en route.

This is the vision for a new generation of unmanned and optionally manned aircraft evolved from current and legacy manned systems that could not only save cash-strapped militaries money and time but also offer new mission capabilities. Three new programmes are demonstrating just how far this exciting new technological development could take military aircraft.

Sikorsky Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) programme

In March, Sikorsky carried out the first demonstration of optionally piloted flight using a Black Hawk helicopter. Then, in May, the company announced it had developed the first product to feature Matrix Technology -- hardware and software that replace traditional mechanical control systems -- by converting a retired UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter into an optionally piloted variant capable of a wide spectrum of missions.

"The aim of the programme is to show we can insert autonomous technology into the Black Hawk platform to enhance its mission flexibility, improve its safety of operation and enable it to operate with greatly reduced pilot workload," says Chris van Buiten, vice president of Sikorsky Innovations.

"It's not just making an autonomous platform; it's making it more capable and functional when it's carrying people as people. That creates a whole new set of requirements and raises the bar in terms of the integrity of the autonomy system."

Sikorsky selected the optionally manned route rather than full autonomy to support its aims of improving safety across its entire military and civilian product range, incorporating technology from manned platforms, starting with fly-by-wire then adding high-level augmentation and pilot assistance.

"You can call it autonomy except that the operator is sitting inside the aircraft," explains Igor Cherepinsky, Sikorsky's chief engineer for autonomy. "We will eventually see piloting this vehicle becoming very mission-oriented, where pilots become mission managers, and their actual location is mission-dependent. There are plenty of missions where you still want human eyes there at the event, but you don't necessarily want the human being to be doing all the control of the aircraft. Our optionally piloted vehicle allows them to be there, in the cockpit of the aircraft, or in the back of the aircraft."

To achieve this, the converted UH-60A will first operate using a fly-by-wire kit before demonstrating full unmanned capabilities with perception-system-in-the-loop using a variety of sensors installed on board. These, integrated with normal airfield data, will enable the helicopter to perform a fully autonomous mission where it can take off, fly avoiding obstacles, find its own landing zone and land.

While Sikorsky is also developing a purely unmanned full-size platform through its X2 programme with Boeing, using existing platforms to develop an optionally manned system the size of a Black Hawk from scratch would be a billion-dollar plus.

"This isn't a little quad-rotor that you make in your basement in a month; these are very large sophisticated systems," says van Buiten. "We're leveraging the existing design, its global support network, and, in the case of both those aircraft, millions of hours of safety record and improvement really create a great foundation."

Crew safety is equally important, and Sikorsky wants its technology to reduce the incidence of 'controlled flight into terrain', the leading cause of fatalities in military and civilian rotorcraft.

"A good helicopter with a flight crew that is confused, disorientated, overloaded, experiencing very high workload can result in the loss of the aircraft," says van Buiten. "We see this technology that makes the aircraft safer and easier to fly as giving the aircraft 'virtual bumpers' to avoid controlled flight into terrain."

However, the new technology is likely to drip-feed into new models of aircraft rather than being delivered as a fully-fledged final product.

"It's not just a big bang of all of a sudden you get the entire kit to convert the Black Hawk into a fully-autonomous platform," says van Buiten. "There's functionality that can be added along the way to improve the existing platform and its handling qualities before inserting fly-by-wire technologies that will enable new levels of autonomy. We've seen an example of that in the commercial world; we offer automated offshore oil rig approach software that has been very popular with the commercial customer, which falls short of full autonomy, but takes one of the highest workload tasks and automating it."

Sikorsky is working with a number of specialist partners on the MURAL programme. Think-A-Move has contributed the speech recognition engine, Kutta Technologies supplies the portable back-pack ground station, and the company is in discussions with Advanced Optical Systems to use its sensors to identify loads on the ground.

The company sees the demonstration as a step towards a future where all Sikorsky military and civilian products will be offered as optionally piloted models where the operator skill set required fundamentally changes from a traditional pilot to a mission manager.

"In the MURAL demonstration, we saw the first glimpse of a minimally-trained operator," says van Buiten. "We took a young flight-test engineer who did not know how to fly a Black Hawk and gave him the Kutta ground control system and let him mission-manage a Black Hawk in flight. It was really the first glimpse of what this future is going to look like."

Source: Airforce-Technology

La-250 Anakonda: A Forgotten Interceptor

The Lavochkin La-250A "Anakonda" was a twin-engine, two-seat delta-wing interceptor designed to fly long-range missions at high altitude, armed with two large missiles.
Four of these aircraft were built between 1956 and 1958 in a competition with the Tu-28, which the later won. 

UAE Military Orders TCG’s Ground Tactical Data Link System

Tactical Communications Group (TCG) has been awarded a contract to supply its ground tactical data link systems (GTS) hardware and software components to the UAE armed forces. Representing the first direct commercial sale between the UAE armed forces and the company, the contract also covers the provision of engineering and operational TDL services, and training and system maintenance.

 TCG Tactical Data Link System (GTS)
TCG president and chief executive officer Michael Hiney said: "We are looking forward to supporting our Emirati allies as they employ their TDL-equipped capabilities and platforms." TCG Operations vice-president Kevin Mawn added: "This order is a significant step forward for TCG's growing worldwide presence, especially within the Arab states of the Gulf."
The GTS is a transportable tactical training and simulation system, designed to create live operational Link 11, Link 16, situational awareness data link (SADL) and tactical targeting network technology (TTNT) networks from the ground to prepare military air operations/flight squadrons for real-time combat missions. Built upon TCG's battlefield operations support system (BOSS), the system can generate and edit training scenarios while receiving live data link traffic from the network, and will offer a quick recording analysis tool to support live air-to-air combat training, thereby improving live ops and de-brief mission analysis.
The system is also expected to offer a 'multi-MIDS' capability that would enable the UAE military to deploy centralised and overlapping Link 16 coverage across a wide area of responsibility. In addition, the system's joint range extension applications protocol (JREAP) provides the user with an additional ability to extend the coverage and share TDL information. Additional contract details, including the value and delivery schedule remain undisclosed.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Victory Day, Turkey!

The August 30 Victory Day, the anniversary of Turkish victory over Greek forces in the war of independence 92 years ago, symbolizes the power of the Turkish nation in overcoming obstacles with the spirit of brotherhood, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 
 Happy Victory Day
Emphasizing August 30 was the day on which the Turkish lands were entirely cleared from the enemies, President Erdogan said in his Victory Day message on Friday: "Our mighty nation did not stray from its path and did not allow any harm to its existence.
Turkish President Muhammed Recep Tayyip Erdogan

"Thanks to the fact that our nation still shows the same determination, we now have the pride of living in a country that has broken all types of tutelages," he added.

30th August, Victory Day, is also the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) Day!
Erdogan's election is the first by popular vote in Turkish history. On Thursday, he wrote in the notebook of Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: "After your passing, the bonds between the republic and the president's office have weakened." The victory on August 30, 1922, over the Greek military was the last big engagement between the two armies.
Thousands of Atatürk fans are gathered at Anıtkabir, the site of Atatürk's mausoleum in Ankara.

Monument of Dumlupınar Battle mausoleum
The war began with the Greek invasion of Izmir in May 1919 after the end of World War I with tacit support from the allies. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also welcomed the day, saying: "With the inspiration we took from our ancestors, we set a goal to live in peace without any discrimination between our citizens and to establish peace and justice in our region."

 "I believe that our determination on that path will be an assurance for a bright and peaceful future which will rise from this blessed victory," Davutoglu added.

Decorated Pakistani Bus in Istanbul, Turkey

Whos gonna counter your rockets, artillery and mortars in the sky

AI3 is designed to protect warfighters by intercepting rockets and other threats in flight.
AI3 will enhance protection of warfighters from rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
An AI3 interceptor missile is fired from an Avenger-based launcher in a recent test.
Raytheon designed the AI3 system to meet cost requirements to provide an affordable solution to the warfighter.

Experiments of Raytheon AI3 missile interception system successfully intercepts first cruise missile target

Raytheon Company and the U.S. Army achieved the first intercept of a cruise missile by the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative missile. An AI3 missile also destroyed an unmanned aerial system (UAS). Both intercepts occurred during the recent Black Dart demonstration - a U.S. military exercise held July 29 - August 11. 
Raytheon Company Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative missile/AI3 missile for U. S. Army

Fired from the Avenger launcher, AI3 missiles intercepted both targets at low altitude over water and in a high-clutter marine environment - capabilities made possible by upgrades to the missile's semi-active seeker and radar. The ability to defeat UAS and cruise missile threats is the key requirement of the U.S. Army's Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) Block 1. IFPC is a mobile, ground-based weapon system designed to acquire, track, engage and defeat UAS, cruise missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars.

"Raytheon's AI3 missile is breaking new ground with its destruction of these challenging targets that are real threats to today's warfighter," said Dr. Thomas R. Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. "We've developed a missile that integrates easily into the Army's existing systems. It's affordable, the risk is low and we can get it in the field soon."

Earlier this year, in preparation for the Black Dart event, AI3 missiles destroyed a 240 mm rocket and a UAS at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

"Black Dart was the ideal venue for us to demonstrate AI3's expanded capabilities and to showcase the missile as a low-cost, complimentary interceptor for IFPC Block 1," added Bussing.

About AI3 In 2012-13, Raytheon developed and successfully tested a system, also called AI3, to counter rockets, artillery and mortars (C-RAM). The system included the AI3 missile as its centerpiece, plus fire control radar, command and control node and launcher. In Sept. 2013, the AI3 system destroyed 22 of 24 threats, including 107mm rocket targets at various quadrant elevations, as well as mortars, an unmanned aircraft system and improvised rocket-assisted mortars. Raytheon developed the AI3 system in just over 18 months to meet a Department of Defense urgent need, and demonstrated that it also meets IFPC Block 2 requirements for C-RAM.

About Raytheon Company, with 2013 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 92 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.

Raytheon Company Missile Systems Tucson, Ariz.
Source: Online Portal

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pakistan-Made Drones Successfully Fight Taliban, A VOR Report

Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) has suffered a terrible blow from the Pakistan-made drones this Tuesday, US military experts and foreign delegates impressed by the achievements of the country’s military technologies. TTP targets in Tirah and Mir Ali have been recently eliminated, a terrible blow to the umbrella organization that provokes unrest in the region. Taliban were astounded by the efficiency of the strikes, judging from the enemy’s radio intelligence after the attack, Islamabad sources state. The CIA chief Brennen has recently been to Rawalpindi, and naturally it made a lot of people wonder if Pakistan Army received intelligence help from the US. But a senior security official explained it was a courtesy and insisted that Pakistan had used its own ‘parindahs’ (birds) to deal with the Islamists.
Pakistani Made Shahpar Drone
This statements are tough to deny, since back in November 2013 Washington cared to speak on the matter in detail, going far as to grant Pakistan the most flattering approval one could imagine. “After years of preparation, the Strategically Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were formally announced by Gen Ashfaq Kayani, chief of Pakistan’s military. The drones, called ‘Burraq and Shahpar’, will not be armed and are to be used only for surveillance, military officials said.” “It is a landmark and a historic event, wherein a very effective force multiplier has been added to the inventory of the armed forces,” the Pakistani military said, noting that the accurate data by the Pakistani drones was the lion’s share of the success. Brig Muhammad Saad, a former senior officer in the Pakistani military confessed the Pakistani already had a certain type of drones before 2012, but they were not as advanced as the new ones are.

Skeptics insist that Pakistan still has a lot to learn if the country’s army wants to explore the full potential of the drone technology. Still, some of them reluctantly note that even the current type of drones can be equipped with unsophisticated weaponry that will help the Pakistani forces to outmaneuver their Islamist enemies. The foreign delegates from the allied countries were impressed by Pakistani achievements when last shown the results of the work, the official at the four-day International Defense Exhibition and Seminar said. “They were briefed about a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that can be armed and has the capability to carry a weapon payload.” The official said Pakistan wanted to prove that he can protect himself from acts of aggression and terrorism, especially to his allies like Turkey and the Gulf, and is likely to continue the development of the drone technology in the future.

A Glympse of WZ -19 Light Attack Helicopter at China International Helicopter Exposition

New Chinese Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter

Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) has developed Chinese Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter for People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter is based on Z-18 transport helicopter which was designed to replace production line of old Z-8/French SA-321 Super Frelon. 
Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter

Chinese Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter is equipped with arge surface search radar under its nose for 360 degree coverage. It also carries FLIR/TV turret was relocated to the starboard side. Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter will also carry sonobuoys and 324mm torpedos. Z-18 transport helicopter is military version of AC313 design which featured new redesigned lower fuselage and improved engines.

Turkey again extends bidding deadline for LORAMIDS tender

The Turkish Government has asked companies competing for the country's long-range air and missile defence systems (LORAMIDS) contract to extend the validity of their bids. The Turkish Undersecretary for Defence Industry (SSM) was cited by Reuters as saying in a statement that the companies have been directed to extend their proposals until the end of 2015.
HQ-9 (FD-2000 for export version) TEL with Engagement-Radars-1S
Turkey originally selected China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp's (CPMIEC) FD-2000 missile defence system for the tender in September 2013, rejecting proposals from Russian Rosoboronexport, US Raytheon and Eurosam Consortium. Raytheon had offered its Patriot surface-to-air (SAM) missile, while Rosoboronexport and Eurosam proposed the S-400, and Aster 30 sol-air moyenne portée terrestre (SAMP/T) missile system, respectively.

While the contract was initially set as $4bn, the value was reportedly reduced as CPMIEC lowered its proposal to around $3.4bn. CPMIEC also offered to collaborate with Turkish prime and subcontractors to coproduce the system that comprises radar, launcher and intercept missiles, and is expected to enable Turkey to counter both enemy aircraft and missiles.

Despite provisionally awarding the contract to CPMIEC, Turkey later asked the competitors to 'reconsider' their bids in wake of strong pressure from the international community, including Nato and the US. CPMIEC is under US sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-Proliferation Act since February 2013, according to the news agency. A member of the Nato military alliance, Turkey long hoped to produce its own air-defence system to prevent any influx of the violence in Syria, and has been relying on Nato's Patriot system for the same since 2012.

CIWS of the Korean People's Army Naval Force's Warships (North Korean Navy)

Though these photos are hazy an foggy, still there, could one get some idea for the CIWS of the ships:

From Russia With Love (Titanium) !!!

To get the titanium needed for the SR-71, the CIA built fake companies to buy it from the biggest supplier, the USSR

RIMPAC 2014 group photos, this time PLAN was there!

Can you spot the PLAN boats in those photos?