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Marines Placing Small UAVs into Ground Combat Element, As Aviators Still Refining Large UAS Requirement

While the Marine Corps is still charting its path forward for large drones, the service is moving smaller unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) into its ground combat units.

Speaking over the weekend at a panel during the Tailhook Association’s virtual symposium, Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation Lt. Gen. Mark Wise said the service still plans to have the larger Group 5 UAV capabilities housed in the aviation combat element and to send the smaller UAVs to the ground community to directly support their missions.

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These Companies Will Work on R2-D2-Like Drone Helper for Air Force Pilots

Four defense companies have been selected to begin work on the U.S. Air Force’s Skyborg program, which aims to pair artificial intelligence with a human piloting a fighter jet.

The service chose Boeing Co., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems Inc., and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. to move forward on the program; however, the companies will be competing for the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, estimated to be worth up to $400 million, according to an announcement.

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U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones Deploy to Estonia For The First Time In History

MQ-9 Reapers from 52 EOG Detachment 2, based at Miroslawiec AB, in Poland deployed to Amari Air Base on Jun. 14, 2020, marking the very first time the UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) deployed to Estonia.

The purpose of the deployment is to provide ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) missions in the Baltic region: a region where several intelligence gathering assets operate every day.

“We are specifically focusing on air, maritime, and land domain,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Hinds, Deputy Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration and the United States Air Forces in Europe and United States Air Forces Africa Air Operations Center Director. “We are gathering requirements from the U.S. European Command and our NATO allies, and then we are going to execute those taskings in coordination with the Estonian Air Force.”

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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.

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The Pentagon?s 2020 Budget Asks for Nearly 380 Aircraft, But One Buy Is Raising Eyebrows

The Trump Administration?s 2020 Budget is out, and the Pentagon is asking for 17 more aircraft than it received in 2019. A quick tally of the aircraft shows the number of fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles the services are asking for is down slightly, while the number of helicopters is up. Also, the Air Force is purchasing eight new F-15s in a deal that smells fishy, given the Acting Secretary of Defense?s work career.

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Are You Ready for Integrated Skies?

In December 2017, a McKinsey & Company study revealed that the value of drone activity in the United States had risen from $40 million in 2012 to $1 billion in 2017. The study further projects that commercial UAS will have an annual impact of $31 billion to $46 billion on the U.S. GDP by 2026. Investment into the commercial UAS industry has intensified with more and bigger players (like Lockheed-Martin, Northrup-Grumman and Boeing) joining the movement toward the full integration of commercial UAV?s into the National Airspace. The U.S. Government is doing its part as well with the FAA Reauthorization Act signed into law by President Trump on October 8th of this year, the recent launch of the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program (?IPP?) in 10 government sites across the U.S., and the FAA?s recent public statements that they are ?Open for Business? backed up with real movement in the direction of integration.

ExpoUAV.com

US Navy launches first unmanned air vehicle test squadron

The US Navy commissioned its first unmanned air vehicle test and evaluation squadron in a ceremony on 18 October.

The new unit will be called Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 24 (UX-24) and will be based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River?s Webster Outlying Field near St. Inigoes, Maryland. It will fly a mix of 23 fixed and rotary UAVs, including the Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout, AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma, Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack and Aeronautics RQ-26 Aerostar.

The ceremony marked the squadron?s official transition from what was formerly known as Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division?s UAS Test Directorate.

FlightGlobal.com