$26M Pentagon Drone Contract: Draper's Latest Toy for Big Boys- Drone Dispatch

Today's UMT Drone Dispatch: Pentagon's $26M Draper contract, jet-powered drones in Ukraine, SkyDrive's India partnership, and more UAV innovations.

5 months ago   •   6 min read

By Alex
Table of contents

Hello, aerial enthusiasts and UAV aficionados! Welcome to today's edition of the UMT Drone Dispatch, where we soar high to bring you the latest and greatest from the buzzing world of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Whether you're a drone hobbyist, a professional pilot, or just a tech lover with your head in the clouds, we've got something for you. So, buckle up and prepare for takeoff as we dive into today's high-flying stories.

Draper Secures $26M DOD Deal to Enhance Autonomous CBRN Reconnaissance

Draper's UAS Vision Icon

Draper has bagged a $26 million contract to boost its UAS software for CBRN reconnaissance, benefitting U.S. defense capabilities.

  • Draper is set to further develop its UAS software under the DOD contract, enabling autonomous CBRN reconnaissance missions in teams and challenging environments.
  • The software will be integrated with the U.S. Army's NBCRV Stryker platform and TAK platform for enhanced situational awareness and real-time data communication to human operators.
  • The contract will allow Draper to deliver mature prototypes for government testing by 2026, with a focus on extending its air-ground teaming architecture and developing a mesh network for various autonomous vehicles.

This advancement is crucial for maintaining tactical superiority and safety of warfighters by enabling remote detection and team-based autonomous decision-making in hazardous CBRN environments.

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Speedy Demise: Jet-Powered Shahed Drone Allegedly Shot Down in Ukraine

Shahed-238 Drone

A new jet-powered Shahed drone, purportedly faster than its predecessors, has been reportedly shot down in Ukraine, although official confirmation is pending.

  • The Shahed-238 drone, recently unveiled by Iran and equipped with a Chinese engine, is said to travel at speeds exceeding 500 kph.
  • Ukrainian Air Force has not confirmed the downing of the drone, with a spokesperson describing it as a "mini cruise missile."
  • The incident raises concerns about the effectiveness of Western sanctions, as the majority of the components used in Shahed and Geran drones are foreign-made.

Why you should care: The deployment and potential downing of a new, faster kamikaze drone suggest escalating threats in Ukrainian airspace and challenges to existing air defense systems.

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SkyDrive and Gujarat Government Partner to Propel eVTOL in India

SkyDrive Inc. has signed a strategic partnership with the Government of Gujarat to advance eVTOL technology in India by 2027.

  • The partnership aims to establish an ecosystem for eVTOL aircraft operations in Gujarat, including feasibility studies for new eVTOL-related business ventures.
  • SkyDrive and the Department of Science and Technology will collaborate on the social implementation of eVTOLs to address mobility emissions and urban congestion.
  • SkyDrive, known for its pioneering crewed eVTOL flight in Japan, is set to begin production of its "SKYDRIVE" vehicles in 2024, with plans for a global reach.

This strategic move could significantly impact India's urban mobility landscape, offering a cleaner, more efficient transportation alternative.

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Mitsubishi Electric Unveils AnyMile for Enhanced Drone Logistics

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Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. launches the AnyMile™ drone logistics platform for improved shipment and fleet management.

  • AnyMile offers a full suite of logistics and operations management tools for drone operators and companies, aiming to streamline operations and reduce carbon emissions.
  • The platform supports all drone types, integrates with a traffic management system for safe operations, and includes a Manufacturer Portal for drone makers to connect with buyers.
  • Mitsubishi Electric's AnyMile aligns with the company's mission for a sustainable smart society and caters to the booming drone industry, expected to hit $52.32 billion by 2031.

Discover how AnyMile can revolutionize drone-based logistics and contribute to a sustainable future.

Read the full article on Mitsubishi Electric's AnyMile launch

UAVs Gear Up for Smarter Electrical Line Inspection


A novel drone system has been developed for more efficient electrical transmission line inspection.

  • The new UAV platform features sensors for line characterization, a Hough transform-based line identification system, and a heading correction module to counter magnetic interference.
  • The system also includes a waypoint correction mechanism to tackle GNSS receiver inaccuracies and an auxiliary controller to combat unpredictable disturbances like strong winds.
  • While the UAV has successfully been tested on a 10 kV energized line, the research team sees potential for further improvements with advanced control algorithms for better wind resistance.

For drone aficionados and electrical infrastructure mavens, this development promises safer, more precise, and cost-effective monitoring of transmission lines.

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Nokia Expands Drones-as-a-Service in North America

Nokia extends its Drones-as-a-Service offering through partnerships, aiming to revolutionize enterprise drone use in North America.

  • Nokia collaborates with private wireless partners to bring comprehensive drone solutions to various industries, offering options to buy, lease, or hire drones with full-service packages.
  • The program includes flight scheduling, regulatory approval assistance, data analytics management, and maintenance, all tailored to enterprise needs, with the recent FCC certification enhancing its credibility.
  • Enterprises leveraging Nokia Drone Networks can expect robust connectivity via 4G/LTE and 5G, as well as real-time data processing for innovative use cases, potentially accelerating ROI.

Why you should care: This initiative represents a significant leap in the practical deployment of drone technology, offering businesses a flexible and integrated approach to incorporating drones into their operations, which could lead to enhanced efficiency, safety, and new revenue opportunities.

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PteroDynamics' Transwing UAS Impresses at U.S. Navy Sea Trials

Transwing UAS on USNS Burlington

PteroDynamics' Transwing UAS successfully demonstrated its unique VTOL capabilities aboard the USNS Burlington.

  • The Transwing UAS from PteroDynamics showcased its vertical takeoff and landing prowess during the U.S. Navy's Hybrid Fleet Campaign Event, impressing military and international observers.
  • Combining the advantages of quadcopter handling and fixed-wing efficiency, the Transwing is poised to revolutionize maritime resupply and logistics, with potential for commercial use in offshore industries.
  • Real-world sea trials have accelerated technology development, with collaborative partnerships playing a crucial role in PteroDynamics' ability to innovate rapidly in the competitive aerospace industry.

Discover why the Transwing UAS could be a game-changer for naval operations and beyond.

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Galaxy Unmanned Systems LLC Lights Up AIAA SciTech Forum 2024

Cargo-carrying quads

Galaxy Unmanned Systems LLC (GUS) showcases innovative drone technologies at the AIAA SciTech Forum.

  • Jason White, Managing Partner at GUS, presents the Constellation Concept involving an integrated network of drone swarms for urban air mobility (UAM).
  • Dr. Uluhan C. Kaya, a Guidance and Navigation scientist at GUS, discusses the challenges of aerial manipulation of cable-suspended payloads.
  • The AIAA SciTech Forum is the world's largest event for aerospace innovation, hosting over 1,500 students and professionals from 43 countries.

Stay ahead in the drone industry by understanding the latest advancements in UAM systems and aerial manipulation techniques.

Read more about the Galaxy Unmanned Systems LLC at AIAA SciTech Forum 2024.

Pivotal Soars Ahead with eVTOL Flight Instructor Role

Pivotal Helix eVTOL

Pivotal, a leading eVTOL aircraft company, is searching for an innovative Flight Instructor to join their team.

  • Pivotal, known for the pioneering BlackFly eVTOL, is expanding its team with a new Flight Instructor position to support the training for its next-generation aircraft, the Helix.
  • The role involves a range of responsibilities from flight instruction to contributing to flight safety discussions, requiring an FAA Certified Flight Instructor with strong communication skills and a customer service mindset.
  • This opportunity is ideal for aviation enthusiasts with a passion for cutting-edge technology and an interest in shaping the future of urban mobility.

Discover your potential in the eVTOL space and contribute to the future of flight with Pivotal.

Apply for the Pivotal eVTOL Flight Instructor Position

Todays Tidbit

In the world of drone warfare, it's not just about the machines, but also about those who track them. Enter Serhiy Beskrestnov, operating under the call sign "Flash." Now, with a name like that, you'd expect him to be quick on his feet, but it seems he's also quick on the draw when it comes to spotting high-speed drones. Beskrestnov reported the downing of a new jet-powered Shahed drone, which was traveling at a zippy 500 kph, a speed that would make even The Flash raise an eyebrow. The drone, an exhibition piece just a while ago, is now part of an aerial chase narrative, proving once again that in the drone world, today's showpiece is tomorrow's target.

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