ScanEagles for Cameroon, Kenya and Pakistan

Foreign military sales fit nicely with AFRICOM shortfalls in Airborne ISR..

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Insitu has received three export contracts for its ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle that will see it deliver the system to Cameroon, Kenya and Pakistan.

Under the USA’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, Cameroon and Kenya will receive one ScanEagle system each by September 2016, through deals worth $9.39 million and $9.86 million respectively, the US Department of Defense announced on 29 September.

The acquisitions for Cameroon and Kenya will include 50% of the work on each contract being carried out in-country, and will see the delivery of analogue medium wave infra-red ScanEagle UAVs, launch and recovery equipment, ground control stations, Insitu video exploitation systems and ground support equipment for the governments, says the contract notice

GA-ASI building training school for drone operators

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GRAND FORKS, N.D., Sept. 23 (UPI) — General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. says it is to open a training academy on Grand Forks Air Base in North Dakota for operators of its remotely piloted aircraft.

A 10-year lease for its site has been signed and ground breaking is expected soon, with operations beginning next year.

“The mission of the GA-ASI Training Academy is to increase the overall capacity for flight crew training on our aircraft systems,” said Linden P. Blue, GA-ASI chief executive officer. “The Training Academy will complement our customers’ organic training capabilities and fill the growing need across our RPA enterprise to address the pilot shortage.”

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Taranis stealth drone may see final test flights later this year

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Britain’s top secret stealth drone will complete its third and possibly final round of test flights later this year, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The £200 million Taranis programme, making the most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers, will have achieved all its objectives if this year’s trials go well, officials said. No decision has been made on further tests.

The remotely-piloted drone, constructed by BAE Systems, is a “combat vehicle demonstrator” to test and develop technology for future generations of fighters and unmanned vehicles.

Though unarmed it is expected to provide the basis for future fleets of supersonic stealth drone bombers that can attack deep into enemy territory, while evading sophisticated defences.

Tests on the unmanned aircraft named after the Celtic god of thunder have included “simulated weapon release”.

Taranis has already completed two sets of test flights and officials have released film of it flying from but an unnamed location, believed to have been in Woomera, Australia.

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Vision for global Predator training centers opportunities revealed

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CAE’s defence lead has revealed plans to replicate the unmanned air vehicle training that it offers to the US Air Force to more operators of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems family of Predator UAVs.

The company currently provides pilot training for the MQ-1 and MQ-9 UAVs to the USAF at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, but with more sales of the type – particularly in Europe – Gene Colabatistto, group president of defence and security, is hoping that more “centres of excellence” can be established worldwide.

“The strategy is that we want to be aligned with the Predator,” Colabatistto said during a media briefing at Holloman AFB, adding that there is an opportunity in every region – plus more in the USA – and that CAE has locations for these in mind.

Italy is the first operator nation to acquire its own simulator for its Predator fleet, suggesting that Rome could be pursuing an intention to establish itself as a centre for training in Europe.

France, Italy and the UK all carry out their pilot training at Holloman, while Dutch personnel are due to begin training next year.

“If we create a greater capability in Italy, for example, that’s less training here [at Holloman],” Colabatistto says. “If I could do more, I’d do more with Predator – I haven’t saturated this market yet.

“We anticipated growth, established an agreement with General Atomics, and developed a product line.”

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Italian Air Force showcases Hammerhead UAS at Rivolto airshow

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The P.1HH HammerHead UAS (Unmanned Aerial System), that the ItAF has already procured (three UAS systems, consisting of six aircraft and three ground stations and complete with ISR configuration, that will be delivered early next year), was also in static display sporting the markings and code of 28° Gruppo (Squadron) belonging to 32° Stormo from Amendola, the ItAF’s UAV unit.

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