Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Army To Equip 6 Units With Mini-UAV

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Army To Equip 6 Units With Mini-UAV
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources MoD Ministry of Defence Singapore Dt. Nov. 29, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada / SINGAPORE - November 30, 2010: By end-2010, six Army units will get the Skyblade III mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system which improves situational awareness and the flow of information during operations. Designed to be lightweight and portable, it will provide the units with enhanced reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities.

"With the Skyblade III mini-UAV, scout teams can now better assist commanders in decision-making by providing more timely information.For example, they can report terrain conditions and the presence of opposition forces in real-time," said Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Ong Chee Boon, Deputy Group Head, General Staff, on 25 Nov at the Murai Urban Training Facility.

The system comprises a Mini Operating Console (MOC) and the mini-UAV itself, which are packed into two backpacks. These packs - which weigh roughly 20kg each - will be carried by two soldiers into the field. Requiring only 20 minutes to set up and launch, each mini-UAV sortie can last up to an hour, after which it will require fresh batteries.

While carrying the packs is hardly a walk in the park, the operational advantages the Skyblade III brings to the table far out-strips its heft. Equipped with cameras for day and night use, the Skyblade III streams the visual data it collects instantly to its controller on the ground. This information is then analysed by the operators before it is reported to higher headquarters (see infographic).

With its operating range of 8km, having the Skyblade III also means a higher chance of survival for the scout teams that operate them. "In the past, we had to get very close to opposing forces in order to gather information. With the Skyblade III, my team can be further away from hostile territory, yet still give accurate reports to my commanders," said 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Quek Jian Liang, a Scout Team Commander in the 3rd Singapore Infantry Regiment (3 SIR).

Elaborating on the Skyblade III's edge, LTC Willy Lock, Commanding Officer 3 SIR, said: "The advantages are twofold: During an assault, we are able to see much further afield, and in defence, we are able to plan counter-manoeuvres much earlier because the scout teams are able to detect the presence of opposing forces much earlier." When cyberpioneer spoke to LTC Lock, his unit was in the midst of conducting defensive operations as part of a larger training exercise.

Apart from operational advantages, the Skyblade III's developers - researchers from DSO National Laboratories - were also mindful about usability. The result: an easy to control mini-UAV with a virtually foolproof launching system.

The Skyblade III can be launched either by hand or through bungee-assistance. The latter launch technique has the mini-UAV sitting on launching rails while connected to a slingshot-like rig. Once triggered, the rig powers the mini-UAV into the air and mechanically disconnects when the Skyblade III is safely airborne. To land, the mini-UAV performs a deep stall and an airbag is deployed from its belly which cushions the impact from landing.

According to SLTC Ong, the bungee launch technique has a stellar track record, with an unblemished success rate.

Developed in collaboration with DSO and made by ST Aerospace, the Skyblade III was developed indigenously and is a product of the cooperation between the Army and its defence industry partners.

The mini-UAV project was initiated in 2002 with the first prototype - the Skyblade I - being tested in Exercise Thunder Warrior (New Zealand) and Exercise Wallaby (Australia) a year later. While the Skyblade was still being developed, commercially available mini-UAVs such as the Birdeye 410 and Skylark were used to shape the tactics and procedures for the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operations. This is why the SAF was able to bring the mini-UAV capability to units within a short time frame, said SLTC Ong. The six army units which will receive the SB III operational capability are: the 40th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (40 SAR), 41 SAR, 2 SIR, 3 SIR, 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade, and the 4th Singapore Armoured Brigade. Work to bring the Skyblade III advanced capabilities to the battalion scouts and Brigade Reconnaissance Surveillance Targeting Acquisition Teams within these units started in 2009. By end-2010, they are expected to be operationalised on the system. To date, 44 Skyblade III operators have been trained.

*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: dtnnews@ymail.com

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DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: South Korea, U.S. To Hold Maritime Interdiction, Aerial Interception Drills

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: South Korea, U.S. To Hold Maritime Interdiction, Aerial Interception Drills
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Yonhap News
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - November 30, 2010: South Korea and the United States plan to stage maritime interdiction and aerial interception drills Tuesday on the third day of major naval exercises in the Yellow Sea aimed at warning North Korea against any future provocations, military officials here said.
About 10 warships, including a nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier, scores of aircraft and 7,300 military personnel, launched the four-day maneuvers Sunday in response to North Korea's bombardment on a South Korean island near the tense Yellow Sea border, killing two marines and as many civilians. "Today, we plan to hold maritime interdiction and defensive counter air drills as a key part of the third-day exercises," said an official at the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). A mock aerial interception of warplanes will be conducted using radar systems from Aegis destroyers and aircraft from the allies, the JCS official said on the condition of anonymity. "In particular, the maritime interdiction drill will be carried out, based on a scenario that North Korean patrol ships violated the Yellow Sea border," the JCS official said. Military tensions on the Korean Peninsula have spiked since the North attacked Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23, marking the first attack that targeted civilians on land since the 1950-53 Korean War. At least 18 people, mostly marines, were injured in the attack that set scores of homes and military facilities ablaze. One day after the North's attack, South Korea and the U.S. announced the drills, which were planned as a warning after North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March. Forty-six sailors were killed by the torpedo attack near the Yellow Sea border. North Korea justified its artillery strike on Yeonpyeong as a "self-defensive measure" against a South Korean military exercise near the island, the usual logic its regime has used as an excuse for past shellings into the waters across the maritime border. In the joint naval drills, the 97,000-ton USS George Washington, which carries more than 6,000 sailors and 75 fighter jets, is supported by a number of U.S. warships, including the 9,600-ton USS Cowpens, the USS Lassen, the USS Stethem and the USS Fitzgerald. South Korea has deployed a 7,600-ton guided-missile Aegis destroyer, the Sejong the Great, along with two 4,500-ton destroyers, frigates and anti-submarine aircraft, according to JCS officials. Also taking part in the drills are eight F-16C Fighting Falcons, four A-10C Thunderbolt II, four F-15Ks and four KF-16s.
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