• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

RN Trialling UAVs for Royal Marines Future Commando Force

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
Royal Marines conducting trials with an Autonomous VTOL UAV capable of meeting some of the CQSM's requirements
Video marines having their rucks delivered to them in a tactical situation by a Malloy T150


The base line product is an electrically powered Malloy Aeronautics T150 (capable of lifting up to 140 lb (68 kg) with a maximum range of 70 km and a maximum endurance of 36 mins).

Malloy is lead but is working with SURVICE Engineering and is employing Planck navigation systems.

Planck is the most fascinating part of the puzzle IMO - Autonomous visual navigation with no GPS.

Planck Aero is developing a visual compass for sUAS in environments where existing commercial offerings may suffer degraded performance. Planck Aero is leveraging existing products and expertise in vision-based navigation to help the sUAS operate safely and reliably without relying solely on GPS or other expensive and heavy installed hardware.

“Planck has always focused on developing and deploying technologies necessary for unmanned systems to operate in areas that have previously been inaccessible,” said Josh Wells, Planck Aero’s CEO. “Our technology enables drones to operate from moving vehicles and vessels on land or at sea for commercial and defense customers. This project is a natural extension of that technology.”

Development continues towards a T400 capable of 400 lb RAS for the RN

Video of T150 Taking off and Landing on a trailer being towed across a field by a van







 

Blackadder1916

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
202
Points
680
Royal Marines conducting trials with an Autonomous VTOL UAV capable of meeting some of the CQSM's requirements
Video marines having their rucks delivered to them in a tactical situation by a Malloy T150


Could have at least dropped the rucks behind the structure (or even better right into the roofless building) so that the two bootnecks didn't have to break cover to retrieve.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
465
Points
880
Question though, can it operate in a hostile EW environment and if it's transmitting video, can that imagery be protected from interception and intelligence gathering by hostiles?
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
Good question about the location of the drop. Given that the UAV is shown conforming to a moving trailer and landing on it I think it is reasonable to suggest that more accuracy is possible. (Also both rucks were dropped within a couple of meters of each other).

As to the EW environment, and whether there is a need to transmit video: that is why I find Planck's contribution to the effort the most intriguing bit. Mechanically VTOL UAVs are a dime a dozen. Piloting them is the fun bit. These ones apparently just operate with a tap on a map on a touchscreen to log in co-ordinates then hit SEND. The UAV then lifts off, navigates to its destination autonomously and "visually" and recovers to its launch site. All, apparently without GPS or INS but apparently using visual cues and something called a "visual compass".

Perhaps the reason for the drop site location is just "Fat Finger Syndrome". More precision with a larger screen and a stylus to designate the "target"?


Some years back (ca 2000) the Yanks were playing with something called the DAMASK seeker.

an accuracy-enhancement kit for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) ... the Direct Attack Munitions Affordable Seeker (DAMASK) ... will take the form of a seeker of the lowest possible cost that will improve JDAM accuracy to three-meter circular error probability (CEP).

DAMASK includes a very low-cost sensor mounted to the front of a JDAM and an off-the-shelf signal processor mounted in the existing JDAM tail kit. During the final stages of weapon flight, DAMASK's unique guidance system will image the target area, locate a mission-planned aimpoint and update the JDAM target location so that the JDAM can steer to within three meters CEP of it.


This Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored, high-risk, $15 million project focuses on seeker cost from a system standpoint. To dramatically reduce the cost of traditional seeker systems, all moving parts were removed, resulting in a fully strapped-down seeker. To further reduce the cost, the DAMASK seeker is enclosed in a glass-filled, injection-molded, composite housing. It uses an uncooled imaging-infrared focal plane array (UIIFPA) sensor and low-cost optics, both developed for the consumer automobile market. An off-the-shelf, commercially available signal processor is the final component of the accuracy upgrade kit, estimated to cost less than $12.7 thousand per seeker in quantity.

The fully strapped-down seeker requires a unique guidance strategy. First, a desired impact point is specified during JDAM mission planning by simply clicking on it in an image of the target area. This mission-planning image can come from satellite, uninhabited air vehicles or reconnaissance aircraft. A template is then automatically produced from the mission-planning image and loaded on board the aircraft with the baseline JDAM mission plan. Organic targeting is possible because the target area can be imaged with onboard synthetic aperture radar (SAR) or forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, and the pilot can then select the desired impact point using a heads-down display.

The JDAM is then flown into the launch acceptability region and delivered. DAMASK turns on when the weapon is in its final seconds of flight. DAMASK images the target area and compares the image with the template produced during mission planning to locate the desired impact point. An aimpoint estimator uses the information from the signal processor to calculate seeker-to-inertial-measurement unit (IMU) alignment to one tenth of a milliradian and, at the same time, to estimate the desired impact point to 2.6 meters. Calculation of seeker alignment is required, because DAMASK uses the baseline JDAM IMU mounted in the tail, and complex alignment procedures during weapon buildup are undesirable. After the impact point is estimated, the information is fed back to the JDAM guidance computer. JDAM then steers to the new position.

Do I know if this is the basis of the technology? No. But it appears to me as a possible candidate - with 20-25 years of development behind it.

This technology, like long range Fiber Optic Guided Missiles that were concurrently developed to defeat mass tanks with precision long range strikes, have been interesting me since their development.

Along with the enduring question of: if they were effective, and cheap, $12,700 a copy in 2000 dollars, and didn't require the GPS infrastructure, then why so much focus on GPS systems with terminal laser guidance and MMW radars etc.?



The first EO seeker demonstrated on a JDAM was the DAMASK (Direct Attack Munitions Affordable Seeker), sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under a USD 15M contract. The aim of the DAMASK project was to demonstrate a very cheap yet highly accurate low cost EO seeker, with no moving parts.The DAMASK program demonstrated the viability of an uncooled autonomous thermal imaging seeker on the baseline GBU-31 JDAM.

The DAMASK would take a snapshot of the target scene, and pattern match the image against a stored image of the target area to refine its position estimate. The result is accuracy of the order of several feet, and trials drops as good as 2 ft from the intended aimpoint. The HART program will see this technology incorporated into a production weapon (US Navy).


Used to have a video of a China Lake test but I can't find it now. Ca 2007-2009 it was one of the few DOD projects that Congress was recommending funding.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
465
Points
880
DJI developed visual mapping for interior use without GPS in their Phantom 4, never got around to using that feature in the one we had at work. In a near peer or in our case where we are the "near peer" reducing your electronic and visual signature will be key to survival.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
Curiously, from the era of the DAMASK funding recommendation by Congress, we also find a 2007 article about a "visual compass" that sounds similar to that described by Planck.


...an algorithm to estimate the orientation of a robot relative to an orientation specified at the beginning of the process. This is done by computing the rotation of the robot between successive panoramic images, grabbed on the robot while it moves, using a subsymbolic method to match the images. The context of the work is Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) in unstructured and unmodified environments. As such, very few assumptions are made about the environment and the robot's displacement.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
DJI developed visual mapping for interior use without GPS in their Phantom 4, never got around to using that feature in the one we had at work. In a near peer or in our case where we are the "near peer" reducing your electronic and visual signature will be key to survival.

That's another reason why the DAMASK/visual technology has so intrigued - along with the lack of interest in its adoption.

Alternatives to GPS? Swarm of nodes with LOS comms amongst each other and inherent "visual compasses" in the Swarm to establish position and comms without having to launch satellites?
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
Before going any further with this

Could some of the staff be convinced to merge the various historical comments on the Royal Marines and the Future Commando Force into one Mega thread?

It appears that the Royal Navy is taking to heart the dictum that a soldier is just another round for the Navy to launch.

Every hull that the RN is putting in the water is equipped with Royal Marines and various connectors, even if they are only RIBs. And everything larger than a River Class Batch 1 has at least a Merlin capable flight deck.

3x River Class OPVs Batch 1 - 25 Marines
5x River Class OPVs Batch 2 - 50 Marines
5x Type 32 Frigates - ?? Marines
5x Type 31 Frigates - 75 Marines
8x Type 26 Frigates - 72 Marines
6x Type 45 Destroyers - 60 Marines
2x Queen Elizabeth Carriers - 250 Marines
6x Multi-Role Support Ships (Littoral Strike Ships) - 150 Marines

The MRSS is likely to replace both the 2x Albion LPDs and the 5x Bay LSD(A)s. One of the Bays is to be kitted out as an interim MRSS and posted to the Gulf at Oman along with HMS Montrose.

Montrose has been trialling rotating crews. Both Montrose and the OPVs stationed overseas will be replaced in the near term by the 5 new Type 31s.

All of the hulls can carry additional troops. The carriers can carry up to 900 each. Any hull with a Mission Bay can add troop accommodation with Sea Cans. And the MRSS ships are likely to be able to carry a battalion each in extremis.

That equates to 32 floating bases from which the UK government can launch Marines. 33 if HMY Duke of Edinburgh becomes a reality.

I wonder how many will be equipped with Drums and Bands?
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
1,200
Points
910
Before going any further with this

Could some of the staff be convinced to merge the various historical comments on the Royal Marines and the Future Commando Force into one Mega thread?

It appears that the Royal Navy is taking to heart the dictum that a soldier is just another round for the Navy to launch.

Every hull that the RN is putting in the water is equipped with Royal Marines and various connectors, even if they are only RIBs. And everything larger than a River Class Batch 1 has at least a Merlin capable flight deck.

3x River Class OPVs Batch 1 - 25 Marines
5x River Class OPVs Batch 2 - 50 Marines
5x Type 32 Frigates - ?? Marines
5x Type 31 Frigates - 75 Marines
8x Type 26 Frigates - 72 Marines
6x Type 45 Destroyers - 60 Marines
2x Queen Elizabeth Carriers - 250 Marines
6x Multi-Role Support Ships (Littoral Strike Ships) - 150 Marines

The MRSS is likely to replace both the 2x Albion LPDs and the 5x Bay LSD(A)s. One of the Bays is to be kitted out as an interim MRSS and posted to the Gulf at Oman along with HMS Montrose.

Montrose has been trialling rotating crews. Both Montrose and the OPVs stationed overseas will be replaced in the near term by the 5 new Type 31s.

All of the hulls can carry additional troops. The carriers can carry up to 900 each. Any hull with a Mission Bay can add troop accommodation with Sea Cans. And the MRSS ships are likely to be able to carry a battalion each in extremis.

That equates to 32 floating bases from which the UK government can launch Marines. 33 if HMY Duke of Edinburgh becomes a reality.

I wonder how many will be equipped with Drums and Bands?

In other news, tough times seem to help Navy recruiting... some things never change :)

INTEREST IN ROYAL NAVY SURGES BY ONE THIRD DURING PANDEMIC​

24 November 2020
Interest in joining the Royal Navy has surged during the pandemic – prompting a third naval base to begin turning civilians into sailors.

Applications to join the Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary are up by around one third on 2019 figures – 34 per cent for officers and 28 per cent who want to become ratings or join the ranks of the commandos.

To meet the growing demand, from January an additional 500 men and women will be turned from civilians into sailors at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, where they will complete their initial naval training package.

This is in addition to Britannia Royal Naval College, the spiritual home of the Officer Corps in Dartmouth, which has just taken a second intake of junior ratings on the ten-week initial course after already successfully delivering one entry.

It’s a task traditionally performed at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint but, even though it’s ramped up capacity by taking on an additional 330 raw recruits – delivering more than 3,000 fresh sailors in the next 12 months – more are needed.

It’s turned to Collingwood, the Navy’s Warfare and Weapon engineering school – and its largest training establishment – to assist, while further intakes are also planned to go to Dartmouth as well.

“We’ve clearly seen an increase in interest in people wanting to join the Royal Navy – and that’s across the board: the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary. A 30 per cent rise in applications is really healthy,” said Captain Pete Viney, the Service’s head of recruiting.

In all over the past 12 months 5,944 people have applied to become officers across the Royal Navy – one in nine wanting to become an F-35 or helicopter pilot, although the figure would have been higher as recruiters expected a spike when Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel was released… only for it to be delayed by Covid.

And applications to become a rating or join the Royal Marines ranks have risen from 14,757 to 18,872.

 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
Recognizing that Canada in buying 15 of the Type 26 ships that the Brits are intending to station 72 Royal Marine Commandos aboard is it unreasonable to propose that Canada plan on stationing 72 CSOR/JTF2 types on board every deployed ship?

And that the JSS will have the expected complement of troops of some 210 over and above the anticipated crew of 216-249?


And how about a permanent cadre on each deployed AOPS?
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
1,200
Points
910
Recognizing that Canada in buying 15 of the Type 26 ships that the Brits are intending to station 72 Royal Marine Commandos aboard is it unreasonable to propose that Canada plan on stationing 72 CSOR/JTF2 types on board every deployed ship?

And that the JSS will have the expected complement of troops of some 210 over and above the anticipated crew of 216-249?


And how about a permanent cadre on each deployed AOPS?

I know from first hand experience how much Royal hates being a 'Ship's Marine'.

There is some justification for assigning embarked marines to ships primarily tasked with sovereignty missions, like we saw in Falklands War when NLP 8901 (HMS Endurance) opposed the Argie invasion. However, it's a tremendous commitment of time and resources for people who have literally nothing to do for 99% of any trip. Skill fade is huge, the Navy doesn't like you underfoot, and it's a morale killer for the booties. I have had to run a company training program for embarked Marines, for a couple of weeks at a time, and it's a total PITA.

Talk to any US Marine who has had to go 'on float' and it will have you dreaming about self-harming pretty fast.

What is more effective is to keep Royal up to speed with what is takes to operate successfully from warships, mainly in home waters, during regular exercises, and then deploy them (probably by air) to get picked up by Jack - from a friendly port - as required based on specific mission requirements.

Of course, if tensions get ratcheted up, you can then jam them in as many of them as you need into all the grots you can muster below decks, near the bilge, heads and ammo lockers :)
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
So, one and a half crews per hull, keep the hulls on station and leaven with Commandos as necessary?
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
And in the trialling mood...



 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
Last month, the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), a UK-based charity that provides helicopter emergency services, began testing jet suits from Gravity Industries to see if they might allow paramedics to fly directly up to hard-to-reach locations where hikers and mountain climbers find themselves injured.

hqdefault.jpg


As GNAAS pointed out, “The undulating peaks and valleys can often mean the helicopter is unable to safely land close to the casualty, forcing travel by vehicle or foot.” That’s not optimal for emergency situations and could potentially even put rescue workers in danger. That’s where these jet packs could come in.

“In a jet pack, what might have taken up to an hour to reach the patient may only take a few minutes, and that could mean the difference between life and death,” GNAAS director of operations Andy Mawson explained.


 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
In other news, tough times seem to help Navy recruiting... some things never change :)

INTEREST IN ROYAL NAVY SURGES BY ONE THIRD DURING PANDEMIC​

24 November 2020
Interest in joining the Royal Navy has surged during the pandemic – prompting a third naval base to begin turning civilians into sailors.

Applications to join the Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary are up by around one third on 2019 figures – 34 per cent for officers and 28 per cent who want to become ratings or join the ranks of the commandos.

To meet the growing demand, from January an additional 500 men and women will be turned from civilians into sailors at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, where they will complete their initial naval training package.

This is in addition to Britannia Royal Naval College, the spiritual home of the Officer Corps in Dartmouth, which has just taken a second intake of junior ratings on the ten-week initial course after already successfully delivering one entry.

It’s a task traditionally performed at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint but, even though it’s ramped up capacity by taking on an additional 330 raw recruits – delivering more than 3,000 fresh sailors in the next 12 months – more are needed.

It’s turned to Collingwood, the Navy’s Warfare and Weapon engineering school – and its largest training establishment – to assist, while further intakes are also planned to go to Dartmouth as well.

“We’ve clearly seen an increase in interest in people wanting to join the Royal Navy – and that’s across the board: the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary. A 30 per cent rise in applications is really healthy,” said Captain Pete Viney, the Service’s head of recruiting.

In all over the past 12 months 5,944 people have applied to become officers across the Royal Navy – one in nine wanting to become an F-35 or helicopter pilot, although the figure would have been higher as recruiters expected a spike when Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel was released… only for it to be delayed by Covid.

And applications to become a rating or join the Royal Marines ranks have risen from 14,757 to 18,872.



In addition to the draws of the pandemic is it possible that the RN's "traditional" lead in technology in British society is both reasserting itself and attractive.

New hulls. New F35s. Relatively modern helos. Everybody gets to play with "drones" - UAVs/USVs/UUVs for the Fleet and the Marines. Loads of Electronics and Cyber (the RN led the original Cyber (Edit - Error Cypher) schools pre WWI), tickets to the SBS and MI6 - and now "Jet Suits". If you want to play James Bond follow Ian Fleming into the Navy.

Not to mention "going to strange places and meeting strange people" - quite the draw after being locked at home with the parents for a year and being denied the pub.

And the Army is locked down in garrison in Britain with AS90s (25 years old), Challengers (30 years old), Warrior (35 years old), Scimitar (50 years old) and FV432 (60 years old).
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
1,200
Points
910
In addition to the draws of the pandemic is it possible that the RN's "traditional" lead in technology in British society is both reasserting itself and attractive.

New hulls. New F35s. Relatively modern helos. Everybody gets to play with "drones" - UAVs/USVs/UUVs for the Fleet and the Marines. Loads of Electronics and Cyber (the RN led the original Cyber (Edit - Error Cypher) schools pre WWI), tickets to the SBS and MI6 - and now "Jet Suits". If you want to play James Bond follow Ian Fleming into the Navy.

Not to mention "going to strange places and meeting strange people" - quite the draw after being locked at home with the parents for a year and being denied the pub.

And the Army is locked down in garrison in Britain with AS90s (25 years old), Challengers (30 years old), Warrior (35 years old), Scimitar (50 years old) and FV432 (60 years old).

That makes sense if you're a 'Brexit' country on the road to rebuilding pre-WW2 imperial/international commercial ties.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
I think it is arguable that British fortunes declined with the post-WW2 strategy on international relations. Just as they had in the 1776 - 1792 era.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
I was wondering how the Boarding Party would cover their approach with their fists full of controls and four turbo-jets.

Maybe they could rely on armed drones from the mothership?


On the other hand

 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
99
Points
530
I was wondering how the Boarding Party would cover their approach with their fists full of controls and four turbo-jets.

Maybe they could rely on armed drones from the mothership?


On the other hand



Or maybe the each member of the Boarding Party gets a Loyal Wingman armed drone slaved to his helmet? Dan Dare, Buck Rogers and Dick Tracy.
 
Top