Daily Archives: January 11, 2017

A 100-Drone Swarm, Dropped from Jets, Plans Its Own Moves

Once launched, the swarm can decide for itself how best to execute a mission.

by Jamie Condliffe  January 10, 2017

What’s small, fast, and is launched from the bottom of a fighter jet? Not missiles, but a swarm of drones.

U.S. military officials have announced that they’ve carried out their largest ever test of a drone swarm released from fighter jets in flight. In the trials, three F/A-18 Super Hornets released 103 Perdix drones, which then communicated with each other and went about performing a series of formation flying exercises that mimic a surveillance mission.

But the swarm doesn’t know how, exactly, it will perform the task before it’s released. As William Roper of the Department of Defense explained in a statement:

Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature. Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.

Releasing drones from a fast-moving jet isn’t straightforward, as high speeds and turbulence buffet them, causing them damage. But the Perdix drone, originally developed by MIT researchers and named after a Greek mythical character who was turned into a partridge, is now in its sixth iteration and able to withstand speeds of Mach 0.6 and temperatures of -10 °C during release.

A Washington Post report last year explained that they had been developed as part of a $20 million Pentagon program to augment the current fleet of military drones. It’s hoped that the small aircraft, which weigh around a pound each and are relatively inexpensive because they’re made from off-the-shelf components, could be dropped by jets to perform missions that would usually require much larger drones, like the Reaper.

Clearly, they’re well on the way to being that useful. Now the Pentagon is working with its own Silicon Valley-style innovation organization, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, to build fleets of the micro-drones.

(Read more: The Washington Post, “The Pentagon’s Innovation Experiment”)

Original post technologyreview.com

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minidrones-releasedImage: theaviationist.com

Related post:

The swarm drone “Perdix” deployed from F-16

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Russia’s Aerospace Forces to receive PAKFAs later this year

Russia’s PAKFAs to be transferred to Aerospace Forces later this year

10 January 2017

The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) has announced that it will take delivery of its first five Sukhoi T-50 PAKFA fifth-generation fighters later this year.

Although the VKS did not specify in its announcement on 6 January when in 2017 the transfer will take place, the move will mark the end of the company trials programme for the aircraft, and the beginning of the two-stage state-joint trials programme.

In the first stage, the industry pilots that have been flying the T-50 thus far will train a cadre of military pilots on the aircraft, with the second stage of test programme flights being conducted entirely by these VKS pilots.

Current flight testing by Sukhoi of the initial T-50 aircraft has been conducted at the Gromov Flight Research Institute (LII) in Zhukovskiy. According to Russian specialists familiar with the process, these five T-50s will now be transferred to the Chkalov VKS State Flight Test Centre base No. 929 at Akhtubinsk for the joint-state trials programme.

Transfer to the VKS is also a marker for the next stage of the contract for the T-50 and the process of moving to series production of the aircraft.

Original post janes.com

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Related post: 

India wants firm commitment whether the agreement will allow commercial production and exports of FGFA Project

Russia to Test PAK FA Fighters With Operational Engines in Late 2017

Russia hopes to ink Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft deal with India by end of 2016

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Russia Defense Ministry Unveils First Video of Amazing Next Gen T-50 Fighter Jet

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Sukhoi Pak Fa T-50 (Su-50): Details

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New strike capabilities of H-6K bombers

China’s H-6K bomber shows new strike capabilities

09 January 2017

Images posted in Chinese online forums in late December 2016 show for the first time a Xian Aircraft Corporation (XAC) H-6K bomber carrying what appear to be six 250 kg bombs on each of its six under-wing pylons for a total of 36 bombs: a new demonstration of the aircraft’s strike capabilities.

First revealed in 2007, the Aviadvigatel D-30KP turbofan-powered H-6K was developed to primarily carry under its wings six nuclear/non-nuclear CJ-10A (KD-20) land-attack cruise missiles, each of which has a maximum range of 2,200 km, according to IHS Jane’s Weapons: Air-Launched.

Although it is not clear whether the bombs shown in the recently published images are precision guided, IHS Jane’s understands that the H-6K’s optical targeting system could support such weapons.

Moreover, video footage broadcast on 28 December on China Central Television (CCTV) showed for the first time an H-6K firing the 7.36 m-long, electro-optically-guided KD-63 land-attack cruise missile, which has a maximum range of 200 km, according to IHS Jane’s Weapons: Air-Launched.

The footage also showed an H-6K carrying the guidance pod associated with Hongdu Aviation Industry Group’s KD-88 TV or imagining infrared-guided missile.

This turbojet-powered air-to-surface anti-ship missile was marketed for export as the TL-7A at the Singapore Airshow 2016.

A Chinese air force H-6K bomber carrying what appear to be six bombs on each of its six under-wing pylons. (Via Weibo)A Chinese air force H-6K bomber carrying what appear to be six bombs on each of its six under-wing pylons. (Via Weibo)

Original post janes.com

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H-6K bomber: Details

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