Tag Archives: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Poland establishes a UAV-dedicated airbase

Poland’s Ministry of Defense, in the light of the wide scope of UAV procurement programmes, decided to create a dedicated airbase for the unmanned systems. A base currently used by the Polish Air Force Su-22 jets.

Mirosławiec airfield, a base currently hosting Polish Su-22 Fitter attack planes, has been chosen to became a UAV base.

The airbase, which is going to be referred to as the 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Base, will begin its operations, starting from January 2016.

The Polish Army has six UAV procurement programs, the aim of which is to bridge the capability gap detected during the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, conducted throughout the first decade of the 21st Century.

So far, the Polish UAV arsenal has been quite modest, since it only features some mini-class tactical systems utilized by the Nil Special forces units. During the Afghan deployment, Polish Army also rented the ScanEagle systems from the Americans.

Polish UAV programs aim at procurement of the following systems:

• Zefir – MALE UCAV, with high level of autonomy – 12 vehicles are going to be acquired within the scope of this program;
• Gryf – Tactical MALE recce UAV – 12 examples to be acquired;
• Orlik – tactical short range UAV – 12 packages with 3 to 5 platforms in each are going to be procured;
• Wizjer – mini-UAV, similar to the WB Electronics FlyEye – 15 packages with 4-5 UAVs in each package are going to be purchased;
• Ważka – VTOL mini UAV program – need of acquiring 15 UAVs of this type has been expressed;
• Micro-UAV – the smallest VTOL UAV which is going to be used by the special forces’ assault teams in order to increase their situational awareness.

Mirosławiec base is going to be equipped with the above-mentioned Gryf, Orlik and Zefir UAVs.

According to the reports published by a variety of the Polish defense media outlets, the facility will be reconstructed to receive new infrastructure needed to store the UAV systems and the armament.

When it comes to the UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) systems, British, Israeli and US offers have been submitted. 60 UCAVs are going to be stationed at the facility – 48 tactical ones and 12 heavy Zefir UCAVs.

According to the information released by tvn24 at the end of June, the tender is going to be won by the contractor who is going to provide Poland with a relevant transfer of technology.

Image Credit: Google Maps

Watch this: fantastic footage of F-16 firing AIM-9X and AIM-120 missiles, downing drone

Royal Danish Air Force F-16s involved in a LIVEX (Live Firing Exercise).

Last week some RDAF F-16 pilots were involved in a LIVEX over the North Sea.

During the Live Firing Exercise, the Danish pilots had the opportunity to fire AIM-9L and AIM-9X Sidewinder IR-guided air-to-air missiles against burning flares as well as AIM-120 AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles).

And, fortunately, they also filmed the live firing activity with both GoPro cameras as well as the aircraft’s targeting pod (you will probably remember the epic selfie shot during a Livex last year by a RDAF pilot).

The RDAF video clearly shows the Danish pilots wearing the JHMCS (joint helmet-mounted cueing system) a multi-role system that enhances pilot situational awareness and provides head-out control of aircraft targeting systems and sensors.

The helmet can be used in an air-to-air role: in this case it was used in combination with the AIM-9X missile, as High-Off-BoreSight (HOBS) system, that enables pilots to cue onboard weapons against enemy aircraft merely by pointing their heads at the targets to guide the weapons.

 

Satellite caught a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone on the ground at Creech AFB

One of our readers has spotted something interesting in a satellite image

Although Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) have operated from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, for a long time, and some blurred videos and images are available on the Internet, you don’t easily find a satellite photo showing one of these stealthy drones, anywhere on the web.

That’s why the sat image we are talking about is particularly interesting.

Available on Terraserver website, it shows a “Beast of Kandahar” (as the RQ-170 was dubbed after being spotted for the first time at the U.S. airbase in Afghanistan) parked just in front of a shelter at Creech (click here for the sat image).

The date of the imagery is: Feb. 2, 2012.

The drone sits close to a Reaper drone and the proximity helps comparing the size of the two unmanned aircraft.

The RQ-170 is one of the most famous U.S. Air Force (and CIA) UAS.

Last year, Iran unveiled a copy of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) drone allegedly manufactured by reverse-engineering of U.S. Sentinel drone captured in December 2011 while remotely operated from Creech AFB.

The Iranian version of the Sentinel drone was displayed next to the one that crash landed in northeastern Iran about three years ago. Suspicious footage allegedly showing the copycat Sentinel flying in Iran can be found here.

Image credit: Terraserver

H/T to Joshua Nyhus for the heads up.

 

A U.S. Air Force Intel team turned a comment on social media into an airstrike on ISIS building

A comment on a social media can attract three JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions).

It looks like the imprudent use of social media cost ISIS an air strike and three JDAMs dropped by U.S. attack planes on one of their buildings.

According to Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, airmen belonging to the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, at Hurlburt Field, Florida, were able to geo-locate an ISIS headquarters building thanks to a comment posted on social media by a militant.

As Carlisle explained to Defense Tech:

“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”

Although the U.S. Air Force did not release any further information about the location of the headquarters or the aircraft that carried out the attack, the story is quite interesting as it proves that not only are social media used by ISIS for propaganda and recruiting purposes, they are also used by U.S. intel team to identify ground targets, supplementing ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) activities conducted with the “usual” platforms, like satellites, spyplanes and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

U.S. and NATO soldiers are always made aware of the risk of using social media and, generally speaking, digital technologies which embed information that can be exploited by the adversaries in various ways. Still OPSEC (Operations Security) breaches occur.

In 2007 four Apache helicopters were lost in Iraq because of smartphone geotagging: insurgents were able to determine the exact location of the AH-64s and successfully attack them because some soldiers had taken pictures on the flightline and uploaded them (including geotagging data) to the Internet.

Now even IS militants have experienced how dangerous an incautious use of social media can be.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

You won’t believe this is NOT an F-117 Nighthawk stealth jet!

From a certain angle, the nEUROn drone is  an F-117 look-alike.

The image in this post was taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Roberto Zanda on Apr. 21. It shows the first example of the nEUROn UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), the full-scale technology demonstrator developed by France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, returning to Decimomannu airbase, Italy, at the end of test mission.

The European drone is involved in operational testing over the Perdasdefogu range, in Sardinia, before moving to Visdel, Sweden, for weapons trials.

We have often highlighted the loose resemblance of the new stealth combat drone to the American Northrop Grumman X-47B but this photo seems to prove the UCAV design was also inspired by the legendary Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk stealth jet.

Image credit: Roberto Zanda