The World according to Shephard: Week 46
Dizzying displays in Dubai
If you have struggled to keep pace with the news coming out of Dubai this week then check out Shephard’s full coverage of the air show here.
A commercial kick for UAS
The Zephyr UAS is to enter the commercial market at the end of 2018 as part of Airbus Ariel’s commercial services offering. The platform can be used for large area image gathering as well as a communications relay for companies looking for satellite capabilities but are unable to afford launch costs.
Another long range UAS originally developed for military applications, Insitu’s ScanEagle, has burst into the commercial market after securing a seven figure contract with Shell’s QGC business in Australia. The contract requires Insitu to collect, exploit and deliver data gathered by its ScanEagle during inspections of infrastructure and hardware.
However for a market experiencing exponential growth the question of how UAVs should be regulated and who is ultimately responsible for the enforcement of laws remains unresolved. At the Commercial UAV Show representatives from small and large companies voiced concerns about the extent of illegal and unregulated activity in the commercial drone industry.
The chiefs speak their minds
Concerns of a very different nature have been voiced by former defence chiefs in the UK as the government begins its latest national security capabilities review. Air Marshal Barry North warned the UK Defence Committee that assumptions made in the 2010 and 2015 SDSRs could leave the country exposed to significant military capability gaps. The ex-chiefs also argued that UK forces are twenty years out of date and are unprepared for modern warfare.
Chinese influence abounds
The Ghana Navy has commissioned into service four Chinese made fast patrol boats that were donated by the Chinese government as part of a $7.5 million grant to equip the Ghana Armed Forces.
Meanwhile Chinese hardware has appeared in Rwanda with new photos revealing that the Army is operating Chinese-made Norinco SH3 122mm self-propelled howitzer. This makes Rwanda the first known foreign users of the SH3 which until now was not known to have been exported.
Norinco will also be delivering the first batch of 34 VN1 IFVs to the Royal Thai Army next year. The VN1 will be Thailand’s second Chinese-sourced APC after the commissioning the Type 85 in1987.
China shows no signs of slowing its search for export markets for its military systems as Chinese companies have pursued extensive research and development to hone their radar and identification, friend and foe systems.
US SOF hungry for new tech
The US Air Force is in search of technology to support future personnel recovery activities against a background of increasingly sophisticated operational environments. The requirements are focused on three major areas: locate/authenticate; support for isolated personnel and execute recovery.
Meanwhile the US DoD Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office is to hold an Advance Planning Briefing for Industry. The expected 500 attendees from government, industry and academia will be provided with a look at anticipated requirements that may be funded in FY19.