Tag Archives: drone

Israeli Hermes drone over Gaza with dorsal satellite antenna

A new image coming from Gaza shows an Israeli Hermes UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) carrying two (still unknown) pods and dorsal antenna.

Taken over Gaza City on Aug. 3 by AP’s Dusan Vranic, the photo is not only extremely beautiful because of large moon (magnified by the zoom lens) in the background: it is the first to date showing a modified Israeli Hermes 450 UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) carrying the two “new” underwing pods (possibly containing SIGINT sensors or guns) with a dorsal satellite antenna.

The Israeli source who pointed us to the image said the dorsal antenna is retractable, but we are not sure it can be extended; it could be a fixed satellite antenna used for ISTAR, SIGINT, communications relay.

Image credit: AP/Dusan Vranic


MQ-8C extended-endurance Fire Scout unmanned helicopter caught “on the road” in California

An MQ-8C Fire Scout was spotted on a trailer on I-405 Northbound at Newport Beach, California

The MQ-8C Fire Scout is a Bell 407 helicopter modified with autonomous controls from the MQ-8B drone copter.

It weighs 2.7 tons, has a 1,000 lb payload, can fly for 24 hours and can carry AGM-176 Griffin missiles, APKWS II guided 70 mm rockets, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

It first flew in October 2013 and the first two unmanned choppers currently involved in flight testing have already surpassed 100 flight hours.

The Navy plans to operate 28 MQ-8Cs for naval special operations forces. One of those (188688) was seen on a trailer moving northbound on Interstate 405 near Newport Beach, California.


MQ-8C on the road

Image credit: “Spencer”


Poland loses a drone during artillery drills and no one has a clue where it is

A mini unmmaned aerial vehicle, did not reach the desired landing zone during artillery drills. And  disappeared.

The Flyeye drone has lost contact with the ground operator on May 7, near Torun, Poland, when it was going to land and was redirected towards the alternative landing zone near Skulsk. It never reached the place eventually.

Several other UAVs and a ground search group are also looking for the lost drone but where unable to locate it due to the difficult terrain conditions.

The cause for the unmanned aircraft not reaching the landing zone is still unknown. Since the drone was flying a training sortie, representatives of the manufacturer were also present during the drill.

These ruled out the operator’s error as a possible cause for the incident that, instead, might have been caused by Software error, since the new version of code was tested during the drill.

Flyeye is manufactured by the Polish company WB Electronics, which is a part of a larger Flytronic company. Its first public appearance took place in Paris, during the Eurosatory Arms Fair in 2010. Its operational use included SAR operations in Poland and mission flown for Nil (Nile) – one of the Polish Special Operations Units. The mini-UAV has also found a wide application during the Afghan conflict.

The drone, worth 25,000 Euro, has a wingspan of 4 meters and weight of 11 kg. It can be launched by hand. Its max speed is 170 km/h and operational ceiling is 6.000 m. It can fly between 2 and 4 hours. Its main purpose is to conduct recce missions for artillery.

During a press meeting Polish Minister of National Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, stated laughing that if anyone finds the drone, they should return it to the nearest police station. He also claimed, on Twitter, that the person who finds the drone would be invited to be an observer during the Anaconda-14 drill, which is to be organized later this year.

UPDATE [May 10. 2014]: The search operation has been cancelled according to Polish MoD spokesman, Jacek Sońta. WB Electronics decided to supply a new UAV for the miliitary in order to cover the expenses.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image Credit: WB Electronics


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Stunning video of machine guns shooting at target drones shows how difficult hitting a remotely piloted aircraft can be

This video shows how difficult shooting down a small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) can be.

Along with larger UAVs, armed forces around the world also employ several types of smaller remotely piloted planes. Such drones are used for a wide variety of tactical missions, including battlefield surveillance and targeting.

When we posted the images of the bird-like drone believed to be used by the U.S. Army in Pakistan and Iraq someone argued that these small aircraft, more similar to a RC model than a standard UAV, could be an easy target for small arms fire.

This video shows that, given to skilled pilots, these tiny planes can be extremely difficult to hit, even for some trained shooters, thus explaining why they are used in combat quite often.

Filmed during a shooting event at Big Sandy range, in Arizona, the footage shows several MGs shooting at a small drone flying back and forth along a 1/4 mile firing line at day and night.

“I’m sure to those who have never shot a machine gun outside of Call of Duty, it looks like it would be easy to shoot these down,” says the uploader in the about section of the Youtube video. “The vital components of the plane like the engine, battery, receiver, fuel tank, etc. are very small. The main body of the plane is pretty tough and can take numerous hits without affecting it.”

Hence, unless you have plenty of ammo, skilled shooters and patience, such small drones flying over your position can be extremely difficult to shoot down.

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These are the first images of UK’s classified unmanned stealth “superdrone”

Although the footage was shot in August 2013, today BAE Systems released it for the first time.

Taranis“, the technological demonstrator of UK’s stealthy unmanned combat vehicle made its first flight on Aug. 10, 2013. Where the maiden sortie took place remains a secret.

The aircraft flew at the old British Nuclear test range at Woomera, Australia.

The only thing we know is that the “superdrone” flew under the command of BAE Systems’ test pilot Bob Fraser and “made a perfect take off, rotation, ‘climb out’ and landing.”

Since then, a number of other test flights have taken place in much secrecy.

“Taranis” is an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), described as “the most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers”.

It’s a semi-autonomous pilotless system that will feature an intercontinental range and will be able to carry a wide variety of weapons, including PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions) and air-to-air missiles.

The Royal Air Force already operates a fleet of Reaper drones from RAF Waddington airbase.

Image credit: BAE Systems


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