All posts by Dmitry Shulgin

Sėlis commissioned

On January 11, 2017, Patrol ship LNS Sėlis (P15) Lithuania had bought from Denmark was commissioned and named at a ceremony in Klaipėda. All moored Naval Flotilla ships flew signal flags and Lithuanian Navy crews paraded on the flotilla square.

Lithuanian Navy patrol ship LNS Sėlis (P15) commissioned and named at a ceremony in Klaipėda
Lithuanian Navy patrol ship LNS Sėlis (P15) commissioned and named at a ceremony in Klaipėda

Lithuanian Navy Chaplain blessed the ship and the crew according to a tradition. Representatives of Utena district council, partner LNS (Lithuanian Navy Ship) Sėlis crew since 2001 when patrol ship LNS Sėlis (P32) was commissioned, unveiled the name plaque of LNS Sėlis (P15) and signed a symbolic act of blessing.

Danish-built Flyvefisken-class patrol ship LNS Sėlis (P15) replaces technically obsolete LNS Sėlis (P32) which is planned to be written off.

From now on the Patrol Ship Squadron of the Naval Flotilla consists of four Flyvefisken-class ships of the same type: LNS Žemaitis (P11), LNS Dzūkas (P12), LNS Aukštaitis (P14), and LNS Sėlis (P15). Multifunctional and modern ships of the same type will ensure efficiency of the implementation of tasks.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, Ambassador od Denmark in Lithuania HE Dan Eddie Frederiksen, commanders of services and units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, foreign defence attachés in Lithuania, mayor of Utena district council Alvydas Katinas and a delegation.

Khanderi Launched

INS Khanderi (S51), the second of Indian Navy’s Scorpene’ class stealth submarine, was «launched» by the Hon’ble Raksha Rajya Mantri, Doctor Subhash Bhamre paving the way for her sea trials. Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff and a host of other dignitaries witnessed the launch at Mazagon Dock Shipyard Limited on 12 January, 2017.

INS Khanderi (S51), second of the six Kalvari Class submarines leaves MDL for docking and floating and will thereafter commence her sea trials
INS Khanderi (S51), second of the six Kalvari Class submarines leaves MDL for docking and floating and will thereafter commence her sea trials

The submarine is expected to be delivered to Navy by the year end. She has been christened after her illustrious predecessor, an erstwhile «Foxtrot» class submarine decommissioned in 1989, which is as per the traditions of Indian Navy. The construction of six Scorpene submarines is presently being progressed at Mazagon Dock Shipyard Limited (MDL), under Project 75 with Transfer of Technology from M/s DCNS, France as the Collaborator. The first of the class submarine, INS Kalvari (S50) is presently undergoing sea trials and likely to be commissioned into Navy by Mid-2017. These submarines, post induction, would form the core of Navy’s conventional Submarine Arm.

Speaking on the occasion Doctor Subhash Bhamre said that Project 75 Kalvari is a key milestone in self-reliance and indigenization for the country. Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff said during his address that the fact that Submarine INS Khanderi (S51) compares with the best in the world, speaks highly of the experience and expertise our shipbuilders have gained over the years. He added that as Indian Navy celebrates Golden Jubilee of the submarine arm in 2017, the induction of Project 75 submarines would mark the beginning of a new chapter in our submarine capabilities.

The launching of Khanderi also marks a critical milestone event for the Shipyard which earlier has delivered two Shishumar class submarines in the 90’s and has now strengthened its position as a submarine building yard for Indian Navy. Started as a small dry dock facility for East India Company, MDL today has established itself as a forefront Defence Public Sector Undertaking, with indigenous construction of several ships and submarines for Navy such as P 15 B Destroyers and P 17 A class stealth Frigates being the latest.

Submarine INS Khanderi (S51) launched
Submarine INS Khanderi (S51) launched

New assault rifle

Two of Europe’s most respected defence companies, Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher, have joined forces to manufacture and market the RS556 modular assault rifle. This German-Austrian cooperation project adds a key item to Rheinmetall’s growing array of infantry products.

Highly ergonomic and easy to handle, the RS556 can be readily adapted to individual equipment profiles (Photo: Rheinmetall/Steyr Mannlicher)
Highly ergonomic and easy to handle, the RS556 can be readily adapted to individual equipment profiles (Photo: Rheinmetall/Steyr Mannlicher)

The RS556 is based on the highly regarded STM556, which Steyr Mannlicher first unveiled in 2012. Outstanding modularity characterizes this easy-to-use, future-proof 5.56-mm × 45 cal. weapon.

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher are offering the RS556 assault rifle as a jointly produced product, made in Germany, with a German valued added share of 60%. Among other things, the two partners thus have their sights set on the German market. This innovative weapon is a possible candidate for the new «System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr»: the German armed forces intend to replace their standard G36 assault rifle with a more advanced system starting in 2019.

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher each have well over a century of experience in developing and manufacturing infantry weapons. The RS556 project underscores both companies’ commitment to supplying military and security services around the globe with reliable, future-proof, state-of-the-art systems and equipment.

Featuring an adjustable short-stroke gas piston system and rotating bolt, the gas-operated RS556 is based on the tried-and-tested Steyr Mannlicher AUG, or Universal Army Rifle, a design concept that has proven itself in decades of service on every continent.

With a 16″ barrel (406 mm) and a fully loaded, 30-round magazine, the RS556 weighs around 4.2 kilograms, just over 9 pounds. The adjustable-length light-weight stock clicks into seven different positions, meaning that operators can adjust the RS556 to match their individual equipment profile in optimum fashion.

In a matter of seconds and without tools, the hammer-forged barrel can be easily exchanged. This means that the RS556 can be readily modified for various missions.

A number of standard barrel lengths are available (14.5″, 16″, 18″ and 20″); however, customer-specific barrel and rifling lengths can be easily created.

The RS556 features several standard and optional NATO accessory rails with receiver systems designed in accordance with MIL-STD-1913, STANAG 2324 and STANAG 4694. This means that the weapon can be fitted with various optics and night observation devices or laser light modules. A 40mm grenade launcher can also be mounted on the new assault rifle. Moreover, the RS556 is compatible with Rheinmetall’s modular «Future Soldier – Expanded System» (IdZ-ES), and can also be connected to other soldier systems.

A special breech system with an emergency operation feature ensures that the weapon always functions reliably even in extreme operating conditions, e.g. in severely hot and cold environments.

Micro-drone swarms

In one of the most significant tests of autonomous systems under development by the Department of Defense (DoD), the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), partnering with Naval Air Systems Command, successfully demonstrated one of the world’s largest micro-drone swarms at China Lake, California. The test, conducted in October 2016 and documented on Sunday’s CBS News program «60 Minutes», consisted of 103 Perdix drones launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets. The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing.

Perdix was developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2013 based on an initial design from MIT’s AeroAstro Department
Perdix was developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2013 based on an initial design from MIT’s AeroAstro Department

«I congratulate the Strategic Capabilities Office for this successful demonstration», said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who created SCO in 2012. «This is the kind of cutting-edge innovation that will keep us a step ahead of our adversaries. This demonstration will advance our development of autonomous systems».

«Due to the complex nature of combat, 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», said SCO Director William Roper. «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».

The demonstration is one of the first examples of the Pentagon using teams of small, inexpensive, autonomous systems to perform missions once achieved only by large, expensive ones. Roper stressed the department’s conception of the future battle network is one where humans will always be in the loop. Machines and the autonomous systems being developed by the DoD, such as the micro-drones, will empower humans to make better decisions faster.

Originally designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering students, the Perdix drone was modified for military use by the scientists and engineers of MIT Lincoln Laboratory starting in 2013. Drawing inspiration from the commercial smartphone industry, Perdix software and hardware has been continually updated in successive design generations. Now in its sixth generation, October’s test confirmed the reliability of the current all-commercial-component design under potential deployment conditions – speeds of Mach 0.6, temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius, and large shocks – encountered during ejection from fighter flare dispensers.

The «60 Minutes» segment also featured other new technology from across the Department of Defense such as the U.S. Navy’s unmanned ocean-going vessel, the Sea Hunter, and the Marine Corps’ Unmanned Tactical Control and Collaboration program.

As SCO works with the military Services to transition Perdix into existing programs of record, it is also partnering with the Defense Industrial Unit-Experimental, or DIUx, to find companies capable of accurately replicating Perdix using the MIT Lincoln Laboratory design. Its goal is to produce Perdix at scale in batches of up to 1,000.

 

DETAILS

Propellers 2.6 inches/66 mm
Body 6.5 inches/165 mm
Wing span 11.8 inches/300 mm
Weight 10 oz/290 g
Endurance >20 min
Air speed >40‐60 knots/46-69 mph/74-111 km/h

 

DoD Announces Successful Perdix Micro-Drone Demonstration

 

Atlantic Resolve

Tanks, trucks and other equipment are scheduled to arrive in Europe January 6 through 9, beginning a nine-month rotation of U.S. Army forces supporting Atlantic Resolve.

M1A2 Abrams tanks and other military vehicles from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are unloaded off the ship ARC Resolve at the port in Bremerhaven, Germany, January 6, 2017. 3-4 ABCT’s arrival marks the start of back-to-back rotations of armored brigades in Europe as part of Atlantic Resolve. The vehicles and equipment, totaling more than 2,700 pieces, will be shipped to Poland for certification before deploying across Europe for use in training with partner nations. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises and defend allies and partners in the European community. U.S. forces will focus on strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through bilateral and multinational training and exercises (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Micah VanDyke, 4th ID MCE Public Affairs/Released)
M1A2 Abrams tanks and other military vehicles from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are unloaded off the ship ARC Resolve at the port in Bremerhaven, Germany, January 6, 2017. 3-4 ABCT’s arrival marks the start of back-to-back rotations of armored brigades in Europe as part of Atlantic Resolve. The vehicles and equipment, totaling more than 2,700 pieces, will be shipped to Poland for certification before deploying across Europe for use in training with partner nations. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises and defend allies and partners in the European community. U.S. forces will focus on strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through bilateral and multinational training and exercises (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Micah VanDyke, 4th ID MCE Public Affairs/Released)

Atlantic Resolve demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the security of NATO allies on air, land and at sea. To ensure its own security, NATO must have strong, committed and capable allies, which is why the United States has fought, exercised and trained with our European allies for the past 70 years. The U.S.-European strategic partnership is built on a foundation of shared values, experiences and commitment to a Europe that is stable and prosperous.

The arrival of troops and equipment from 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colorado, marks the beginning of the continuous presence of an ABCT and back-to-back rotations of U.S. troops and equipment in Europe.

After the equipment arrives at Bremerhaven, Germany, it will move by rail, commercial line haul and military convoy to Poland consolidating near Drawsko Pomorskie and Zagan training areas. The personnel and equipment will later be relocated throughout the region for training and exercises with European allies.

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) is U.S. Army in Europe’s lead organization for all sustainment activities including logistics support, transportation, combat sustainment, human resources, medical, finance, contracting and other areas in the field of sustainment. The 21st TSC also serves as the responsible headquarters for USAREUR’s Military Police and Engineer brigades, providing combat engineers and military police to partnership training and other operations in support of USAREUR, US Africa Command and US Central Command.

Headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, with units throughout the USAREUR Area of Operations, the 21st TSC is truly positioned to be USAREUR’s key enabler, where it is needed, when it is needed.

An Army M109A6 Paladin is the first military vehicle from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Carson, Colorado, to be loaded onto a railcar for shipment to Poland at the port in Bremerhaven, Germany, January 7, 2017
An Army M109A6 Paladin is the first military vehicle from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Carson, Colorado, to be loaded onto a railcar for shipment to Poland at the port in Bremerhaven, Germany, January 7, 2017

50th P-8A Poseidon

The U.S. Navy accepted its 50th P-8A Poseidon (P-8A) aircraft at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida on January 5, 2017. The Navy’s Poseidon is replacing the legacy P-3 Orion and will improve an operator’s ability to efficiently conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The P-8A program of record calls for a total requirement for 117 of the 737-based anti-submarine warfare jets.

Navy partnership hits milestone, 50th P-8A delivered
Navy partnership hits milestone, 50th P-8A delivered

«I’d like to formally thank the team, including PMA-290, Boeing and our entire P-8A industry team, as we deliver the 50th P-8A Poseidon early and under budget», said Captain Tony Rossi, the Navy’s program manager for Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft. «This milestone demonstrates outstanding work ethic, professionalism and dedication to the fleet».

«The P-8A is special», added Rossi. «This is the first time a Navy combat aircraft was built from the ground up on a commercial production line. We’ve leveraged commercial expertise and experience, and a highly reliable airframe, the 737, which has reduced production time and overall production costs». Since the initial contract award, the program has reduced P-8 costs by more than 30 percent and has saved the U.S. Navy more than $2.1 Billion.

«Together, we and our industry partners are transforming today’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force for the evolving threats and diverse mission requirements», he said. «This replacement for the P-3C builds on lessons-learned, while enhancing those capabilities with unique features, such as an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret and increased acoustic processing capability with 64 passive sonobuoys, 32 multistatic sonobuoys and concurrent passive and active processing».

The fleet’s transformation from the legacy P-3C to the P-8A is expected to be completed by Fiscal Year 2019.

As of April 2016, all six active and one fleet replacement squadron at NAS Jacksonville have completed their fleet transition training from the P-3C to the P-8A and the first west coast P-8A squadron, VP-4, has relocated its home port from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. All squadrons will complete transition training by Fiscal Year 2019.

 

Technical Specifications

Wing Span 123.6 feet/37.64 m
Height 42.1 feet/12.83 m
Length 129.5 feet/39.47 m
Propulsion 2 × CFM56-7B engines
27,000 lbs/12,237 kgf/120 kN thrust
Speed 490 knots/564 mph/908 km/h
Range 1,200 NM/1,381 miles/2,222 km with 4 hours on station
Ceiling 41,000 feet/12,496 m
Crew 9
Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight 189,200 lbs/85,820 kg

 

3-D-printed ODSUAS

In December, engineers from the Army Research Laboratory flight tested 3-D-printed unmanned aircraft created with a new on-demand system. The demonstration, which was part of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments, or AEWE, at Fort Benning, Georgia, showcased new technology designed to provide Soldiers in the field with rapid unmanned aerial vehicle support.

The 3-D printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or ODSUAS, flies at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour/88 kilometers per hour. Although the lightweight shell and propeller arms are printed using additive manufacturing, the motors and propellers will be assembled using off-the-shelf equipment (Photo Credit: Angie DePuydt)
The 3-D printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or ODSUAS, flies at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour/88 kilometers per hour. Although the lightweight shell and propeller arms are printed using additive manufacturing, the motors and propellers will be assembled using off-the-shelf equipment (Photo Credit: Angie DePuydt)

«We’ve created a process for converting Soldier mission needs into a 3-D printed On-Demand Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or ODSUAS, as we’ve been calling it», explained Eric Spero, team leader and project manager. The system allows Soldiers requiring unmanned aerial vehicle support to input their requirements into mission planning software and then receive a 3-D-printed aerial vehicle within 24 hours.

«We thought they’re not going to think that’s fast enough», Spero added. «But the timeline … fits right in line with the way they plan and execute their missions». The engineers said they felt the combination of 3-D printing and unmanned aerial vehicles made for a natural technology solution.

«Everybody knows all the great things that can be done with 3-D printers», said John Gerdes, an engineer on the project. «So, we figured let’s assemble these two new technologies and provide a solution to Soldiers that need something right now». In the days leading up to the demonstration, the team spent many hours flight testing and verifying the designs to ensure everything would work the way they expected.

«It was good that we didn’t have any mistakes on game day», observed fellow engineer Nathan Beals. «The day before we did some test flights and worked out some kinks. I think we had the quad up to 55 miles per hour/88 kilometers per hour». Based on the feedback engineers received from Army leaders, Spero said, his team plans to work on improving noise reduction, standoff distance, and agility, as well as increasing the 3-D-printed drone’s payload capacity.

Although the system has the capability of autonomous pre-planned flights, Soldiers can also fly the system manually with an off-the-shelf controller (Photo Credit: Angie DePuydt)
Although the system has the capability of autonomous pre-planned flights, Soldiers can also fly the system manually with an off-the-shelf controller (Photo Credit: Angie DePuydt)

«I’m very optimistic that most of those are achievable», Spero said. «I think the hardest one … is the heavy payload». At the event, the engineers discovered that the Soldiers were fascinated by the 3-D printing technology, Spero said.

«Before we even started the briefing, we set up the 3-D printer in the conference room and started a print job», Spero said. The researchers printed a Picatinny rail, which is a bracket used to mount accessories on a small arms weapon, such as an M4 carbine. In about two and a half hours, they had a rail that fit the Soldiers’ weapons perfectly.

They asked the group of Soldiers what other kinds of 3-D printed items they could use. In a matter of hours, the team presented a variety of functional printed parts that impressed the Soldiers.

«This isn’t just about unmanned aerial systems», Spero said. «It’s about forward-deployed, 3-D printing to help the Soldier». The Army engineers say they will continue to collaborate with partners at the Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Systems Design Lab as they refine technologies for future Soldiers.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command invited engineers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to Fort Benning, Georgia, to showcase two hot technologies in one: 3-D printing and unmanned aircraft systems

Undersea Network

DARPA’s Tactical Undersea Network Architecture (TUNA) program recently completed its initial phase, successfully developing concepts and technologies aimed at restoring connectivity for U.S. forces when traditional tactical networks are knocked offline or otherwise unavailable. The program now enters the next phase, which calls for the demonstration of a prototype of the system at sea.

Artist’s concept showing the TUNA architecture with an undersea fiber-optic backbone enabling a temporary communications network when traditional tactical data links are unavailable
Artist’s concept showing the TUNA architecture with an undersea fiber-optic backbone enabling a temporary communications network when traditional tactical data links are unavailable

TUNA seeks to develop and demonstrate novel, optical-fiber-based technology options and designs to temporarily restore radio frequency (RF) tactical data networks in a contested environment via an undersea optical fiber backbone. The concept involves deploying RF network node buoys – dropped from aircraft or ships, for example – that would be connected via thin underwater fiber-optic cables. The very-small-diameter fiber-optic cables being developed are designed to last 30 days in the rough ocean environment – long enough to provide essential connectivity until primary methods of communications are restored.

«Phase 1 of the program included successful modeling, simulation, and at-sea tests of unique fiber-cable and buoy-component technologies needed to make such an undersea architecture work», said John Kamp, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. «Teams were able to design strong, hair-thin, buoyant fiber-optic cables able to withstand the pressure, saltwater, and currents of the ocean, as well as develop novel power generation concepts».

Supplying power to floating buoy nodes on the open sea presents a particular challenge. During the first phase of the program, the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab (APL) developed a unique concept called the Wave Energy Buoy that Self-deploys (WEBS), which generates electricity from wave movement. The WEBS system is designed to fit into a cylinder that could be deployed from a ship or aircraft.

Having now entered its second and final phase, the program is advancing to design and implement an integrated end-to-end system, and to test and evaluate this system in laboratory and at-sea demonstrations. As a test case for the TUNA concept, teams are using Link 16—a common tactical data network used by U.S. and allied forces’ aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles.

DARPA wraps up first phase of program developing temporary underwater fiber-optics communications networks to ensure connectivity when tactical networks are unavailable

French Spy’Ranger

Thales’s latest-generation Spy’Ranger mini surveillance and reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been chosen by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to equip the French forces. Up to 70 mini-UAV reconnaissance systems (SMDR) will be made available from 2018. Each system consists of three mini-UAVs, a ground segment and the associated technical support.

Spy’Ranger is a latest-generation mini-UAS with the only EO/IR imaging system in the world capable of transmitting high-definition electro-optical and infrared imagery in real time
Spy’Ranger is a latest-generation mini-UAS with the only EO/IR imaging system in the world capable of transmitting high-definition electro-optical and infrared imagery in real time

Key Points:

  • Starting in 2018, Thales will provide French forces up to 210 mini reconnaissance UAVs;
  • The Spy’Ranger is the new «eye in the sky» for the combined arms tactical group, able to be operated in a standalone mode or connected to a Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Intelligence (C4I) system;
  • The Spy’Ranger is specifically tailored to the needs of the armed forces, as well as to those of essential operators.

The Armed forces require real-time access to ever more reliable imagery. Spy’Ranger will provide them with a decisive tactical advantage by offering the capacity to observe day or night, for long periods of time and at a distance of up to 30 km. Spy’Ranger is used in particular to carry out the following missions: provide support to a combined arms tactical group maneuver or to an offensive reconnaissance mission; provide a cover mechanism, support the neutralization of strong points and contribute to firing maneuvers by providing a «remote airborne eye» able to adjust shooting rounds on a target.

Developed by Thales in cooperation with French SMEs Aviation Design and Merio in under 13 months, Spy’Ranger will offer French Forces a number of innovations that provide real capability gains. Spy’Ranger will therefore markedly contribute to the gathering of frontline intelligence and to the protection of forces in operation.

Designed to operate in extreme, non-permissive environments, this new-generation system gathers and transmits accurate, operational beyond-line-of-sight image intelligence for joint battlegroup and brigade-level units
Designed to operate in extreme, non-permissive environments, this new-generation system gathers and transmits accurate, operational beyond-line-of-sight image intelligence for joint battlegroup and brigade-level units

The Spy’Ranger, developed by Thales in collaboration with several French SMEs, is a mini-UAV designed and manufactured in France. Spy’Ranger packs state-of-the-art technologies that provide much better performance:

  • Transportable in a backpack, Spy’Ranger can perform observation missions over a period of 2 hours 30 minutes, covering a range of 18.64 miles/30 km: a much larger surveillance area than those covered by systems currently in service;
  • Its gyrostabilized multi-sensor optronic payload has the highest resolution in the world for this range of platform, facilitating the positive identification of zones or objects over which it has flown;
  • Its tactical data link, protected to the highest standard, offers high speeds allowing the transmission of a high-definition image streams;
  • Its command and control software (C2) provides an effective user interface;
  • A mobile and digital support management system, based on Thales’s Smartfleet solution, that enables efficient execution and piloting of the Through Life Support’s.

Fully adapted to frontline air-land intelligence missions in battlefields in hostile environments (climate, electromagnetic, physical, etc.), the Spy’Ranger has been designed to optimize life cycle costs.

Thales Spy’Ranger: Mini-UAV system for reconnaissance roles

Pilatus for French AF

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd is delighted to announce the signing of three PC-21 fleet orders by end of December 2016, for a total of 21 PC-21s, of which 17 are for the French Air Force and two each for the Royal Jordanian Air Force and QinetiQ, a British company which operates the «Empire Test Pilots’ School». Together, these orders are worth over 300 million Swiss francs and will help to ensure jobs at Stans.

The PC-21 far surpasses all other turboprop trainers in terms of aerodynamic performance, cockpit equipment, flexibility and ease of maintenance
The PC-21 far surpasses all other turboprop trainers in terms of aerodynamic performance, cockpit equipment, flexibility and ease of maintenance

French Air Force

The French Air Force (Armée de l’air française), one of the world’s most prestigious air forces, has opted for the 21st century training system: the 17 PC-21s will be used to train future military pilots who will transfer to the Alpha Jet prior to their conversion on to the Dassault Rafale, a multi-purpose 5th generation fighter aircraft.

The contract signed on the 30th December 2016 by the French Air Force is with Babcock Mission Critical Services France (BMCSF), with Pilatus as a sub-contractor, in which role our PC-21 and other ground-based training material will contribute to completion of the overall contract.

In addition to the Swiss Air Force, France is now the second European nation to opt for the PC-21 as part of the world’s most advanced, most efficient integrated training system.

 

QinetiQ UK

Under the contract concluded with QinetiQ, a British company, Pilatus will provide two PC-21s to the «Empire Test Pilots’ School» (ETPS) based in Wiltshire, in the south of England. Operated by QinetiQ, ETPS functions as a training center for flight test engineers and test pilots, and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. The PC-21s with their modified flight instruments will be used to train test pilots and flight test engineers for customers from the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

 

Royal Jordanian Air Force

The Royal Jordanian Air Force, having placed an initial order for the PC-9 M in August 2015, re-evaluated their requirement in early 2016 due to previously unforeseen issues with their Lead in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) platform. The procurement decision was revised following a modification of the training concept, introducing the PC-21 all-through training model – currently the most advanced training system available anywhere on the market. The contract amendment was initially for eight aircraft but with an option for additional units, if required. The option was now executed for two more PC-21s’, with a total of ten PC-21s’ now providing the backbone of the nation’s future pilot training regime. The first deliveries will be undertaken mid-2017.

The use of state-of-the-art technologies increases both the efficiency and quality of training
The use of state-of-the-art technologies increases both the efficiency and quality of training

Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pilatus, comments on the contracts as follows: «I am delighted we have finally won another European air force for our PC-21. An exceptionally rigorous selection process based on the strictest of criteria provides further proof that the PC-21 is the first choice worldwide for training military pilots. I am proud that our best-selling PC-21 is now destined to fly for ‘la Grande Nation’. France is already the 8th air force to choose the PC-21: these orders included, we will soon have a total of 209 PC-21s flying successfully from bases around the world. I’m confident that other European air forces will follow France’s example»!

Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus, adds: «Pilatus is pleased to be part of the programme of modernisation at QinetiQ Test Aircrew Training. Our PC-21 will provide a training platform for the next generation of test pilots worldwide. That a global leader in the test flight sector decides to replace ageing Hawks and Alpha Jets with the PC-21 is a tribute to our product’s performance and flexibility».

Pilatus feels obligated, and will endeavour, to provide our PC-21 customers with the Swiss quality and outstanding customer service which they deserve, delivering them with the world’s most up-to-date pilot training system – the Pilatus PC-21.

Training hours flown in expensive jets can now be done entirely in the PC-21, which saves a substantial amount of life-cycle cost
Training hours flown in expensive jets can now be done entirely in the PC-21, which saves a substantial amount of life-cycle cost

 

Aircraft Data

PERFORMANCE
Take-off distance over 50 feet/15 m obstacle at sea level 2,618 feet/789 m
Landing distance over 50 feet/15 m obstacle at sea level 3,383 feet/1,031 m
Maximum rate of climb, sea level 4,091 feet/min/20.78 m/sec
Maximum operating speed (Velocity, Maximum Operating – VMO) 370 knots equivalent airspeed (KEAS)/426 mph/685 km/h
Maximum horizontal speed (Horizontal Velocity – VH) at sea level 323 knots true airspeed (KTAS)/372 mph/598 km/h
Max. horizontal speed (VH) at 10,000 feet/3,048 m 337 KTAS/388 mph/624 km/h
Stall speed
– flaps and gear up (Vs) 92 knots calibrated airspeed (KCAS)/106 mph/170 km/h
– flaps and gear down (VSO) 81 KCAS/93 mph/150 km/h
G loads
– Maximum positive 8.0 g (aerobatic category); 5.0 g (utility category)
– Maximum negative -4.0 g (aerobatic category); -2.5 g (utility category)
Maximum range 720 NM/828 miles/1,333 km
WEIGHTS
Basic empty weight (typical, dep. on configuration) 5,026 lbs/2,280 kg
Maximum take-off weight, acrobatic category 6,834 lbs/3,100 kg
DIMENSIONS & GEOMETRY
Fuselage length 36 feet 11 inches/11.233 m
Wing span 29 feet 11 inches/9.108 m
Other PC-21 attributes include significantly lower fuel consumption and noise emissions
Other PC-21 attributes include significantly lower fuel consumption and noise emissions