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.


GAO: USAF Doesn’t Have Enough RPA Pilots, Sensor Operators for New Squadron

The Air Force may not have enough remotely piloted aircraft pilots and sensor operators to stand up a new wing in 2024, as it struggles to retain personnel and increase the size of its instructor pilot cadre, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report.

The service is planning to open a new RPA wing so it can have enough dwell time within the RPA community to take a squadron off combat operations to focus on training. The GAO, in the June 25 report, states “the Air Force does not have enough pilots and sensor operators to meet its staffing targets for its unmanned aircraft.” The organization bases this claim on years of staffing data, along with 14 focus group meetings at three operational bases.


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.


Unmanned aircraft could provide low-cost boost for Air Force?s future aircraft inventory, new study says

WASHINGTON ? As the U.S. Air Force looks to increase the size and capability of its aircraft inventory, the service should assess the possibility of using drones as a low-cost and highly available alternative to manned airplanes, posits a new study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The CSIS report, which was obtained by Defense News and other news outlets ahead of its Oct. 29 release, compares three recent congressionally mandated studies on the Air Force?s future force structure by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank, the federally funded research organization MITRE Corp. and the service itself.


6 new capabilities powering the unmanned revolution

In July 2018, a remotely piloted aircraft ? the MQ-9B SkyGuardian ? flew from the United States to the United Kingdom, landing after a 24-hour trans-Atlantic flight using the same routes as manned aircraft. It was a first in the world of medium-altitude, long-endurance RPA. But it also foreshadows how ongoing and future MALE RPA concepts of operations will evolve.The unmanned aircraft revolution is inexorably underway thanks to six new capabilities.


The Second Drone Age

Finding oneself in the crosshairs of a military drone is, for most people, not the most comforting situation. Yet at an air show last fall, tens of thousands of people had a different reaction. A military drone took off from a runway, and moments later it began transmitting its view to a giant screen on stage. The video from the drone was clear enough to pick out your own face among the crowd. It was exactly what the drone?s pilot, seated in a trailer not far from the stage, was seeing. The crowd was in the crosshairs, and you could see the data about the aircraft?s pitch, roll, and altitude. In the bottom right corner of the screen, the words ?Bore Invalid? indicated the drone was currently unarmed.