US Army Field Tests Latest RQ–7B Shadow Drone

The US Army has wrapped up its operational testing of the RQ–7B Shadow Block III system, the latest in the Shadow series of the tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS).

The testing included 94 missions and over 400 flight hours under realistic battlefield conditions, the US army said in a statement.

A team of analysts will now provide relevant inputs from the tests to the army evaluators to assess the capability of the Block III system.


New, Low-Cost Air Force ISR Drone Prototype Flies 2.5 Days

WASHINGTON: While other commercial and military drones have flown longer, the two and a half day flight of the Air Force?s latest unmanned aircraft prototype this week does represent a kind of breakthrough for the US military: proving that commercial technology can be adapted to build affordable long-endurance and highly capable surveillance drones.

And the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio is convinced that the new, autonomous Ultra-Long Endurance Aircraft Platform (Ultra LEAP) will be able to stay in the sky for longer in future flight tests.


Shot Down? The USAF Now Wants To Air-Drop An Air Taxi To Fly You Out To Safety

In the midst of a future conflict, an American fighter jet is shot down while operating over hostile territory. The terrain is too complicated and risks are too great to send in a traditional combat search and rescue team, so U.S. commanders turn to a novel option: air-drop a small, ultra-quiet autonomous air vehicle with short or vertical take-off and landing capabilities near the crash site so the downed aviator can fly to safety.

Though it may sound like a scene straight out of a sci-fi war movie set in the near future, this is a concept the U.S. Air Force wants to actively explore. The Air Force Research Laboratory first posted the request for proposals for what they blandly described as a “Personnel Recovery / Transport Vehicle” on the U.S. military’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program website on May 2, 2019.


This Drone ‘Breathes’ Air To Propel Itself and Has Unlimited Range

With the rapid rate that drone technology is advancing, we shouldn’t be surprised when increasingly complex UAVs hit the scene with fanfare. But the Phoenix, a new drone out of the United Kingdom, is a marvel?and could have major military implications. At 49 feet long and 34 feet wide, the Phoenix looks like a small flying bomb with (relatively) tiny wings covered by solar panels, which makes it plenty imposing on the outside. But it also uses a ?variable-buoyancy propulsion system? to move through the air.


The Marines? Plywood Supply Drone Is Undergoing Flight Tests

A wooden aircraft is flying the California skies, but this is no spruce goose. LG-1K, developed by Logistic Gliders Inc under contract with DARPA and the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, is meant to be a very low-cost drone capable of being released from fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter. The plywood and aluminum drone is 10.4 feet long with a 23-foot wingspan. The LG-1K can carry up to 700 lb.s of supplies. It’s now flown twelve missions demonstrating its ability to glide?in some cases autonomously?to a landing zone with GPS precision.


Will drone bases in the near future be staffed by robots?

If there is a poster child for light-footprint counterinsurgency, it?s the MQ-9 Reaper. Flying over vast swaths of territory and launching missiles at small bands of suspected fighters, Reapers require relatively little on-the-ground support compared to what that same coverage would have required decades ago. Little support is not no support, however, and even drone bases take hundreds of people to run, support, and maintain. It?s likely impossible to reduce the human presence at an airbase to zero, but a pair of technologies suggest a way that drone bases could drastically shrink their labor needs.