US Army to deploy Interceptor Drone Developed in cooperation with Israel MoD

The U.S. Department of Defense decided to launch an operational pilot program for the testing and validating of the Sparrowhawk drone system’s capabilities in the defense of U.S. Special Forces. As part of the pilot program, several dozen Sparrowhawk systems will be employed by U.S. troops.

The system has been developed during the last year in cooperation between the Directorate of Defense Research and Development in the Israel Ministry of Defense, the drone developer, XTEND, and the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Using an AR device and single-handed controller, a military operator may employ the Sparrowhawk system to control the drone and perform complex tasks remotely. Its interface enables the operator to immerse themselves or “step into” a remote reality and engage targets effectively yet safely. The system’s capabilities have been demonstrated in Israel. It is a combat proven solution with more than 2,500 confirmed interceptions of incendiary devices flown over the Gaza border by terrorist organizations.

Aviv Shapira, XTEND CEO, said that Sparrowhawk is one of the world’s most advanced C-UAS Hard Kill solution. The system is based on the company’s Skylord platform, which consists of sensors on board the drone, camera, intuitive remote control unit, dedicates SoC, and XTEND’s own Drone Operating System (now in patent application process). Founded in 2018, the people behind XTEND are founders and veterans of Replay Technologies, acquired by Intel in 2016 and is now the corner stone of Intel Sports Group.

Skylord system under tests in the US Army
Skylord system under tests in the US Army

Brazil approved a pilot of Fast food Deliveries Drone

Above: Brazilian Aviation inspectors inspect Speedbird’s drone and the Para-Zero’s parachute

The Brazilian Speedbird Aero has received approval from the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil to operate delivery drones in two experimental routes in Sao Paulo. Speedbird’s drones are equipped with the safety system of the Israel based Para-Zero, which includes a parachute and a control system that ensure a safe landing of the drone in cases of loss of control, malfunction or collision. As part of the approval process, the Brazilian Aviation Authority conducted tests designed to ensure the safety of operating Speedbird drones in crowded urban areas.

The pilot is expected to begin in December 2020. One of the routes is about a mile long and the drones will fly in it beyond the operator’s line of sight. Lately, Para-Zero’s customers have been granted flight permits by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly autonomous, remotely controlled drones beyond the operator’s line of sight. In addition, Hensel Phelps, one of the largest construction companies in the United States, received a permit to fly drones over crowds of people, as part of its employment of drones over construction sites during working hours.

Para-Zero’s system includes two main components: An autonomous control system that can detect emergencies in which the drone loses control, whether due to a malfunction, collision, or weather conditions, as well as due to deviating from the area allowed for flight. In such cases, the system takes control of the drone and shuts down the motor in order to prevent dangerous damage to power cables or people. Following this, the system activates the parachute, which allows for a slow and controlled landing on the ground.

Para-Zero was founded in 2012 by Brigadier General (Res.) Eden Atias, a former pilot and squadron commander in the Israeli Air Force; Amir Tsaliah, who serves as the company’s chief science officer; and Oren Aviram, who serves as the company’s VP of marketing. The company says its system can ensure the safe landing of both a drone hovering at low altitudes of 6.5 feet, as well as  heavyweight drones, that weigh up to 730 lbs and hover at an altitude of over 30 feet.

Duke Robotics has become a publicly-traded company in the US

Duke Robotics was merged into the UAS Drone Corp. (OTC: USDR), and is now a publicly-traded company. UAS Drone hasn’t been active, but constitutes a “public shell” that allows Duke Robotics to become an American public company. Duke Robotics was established by veterans of Israeli special forces units, and has developed a light weapons-carrying drone for infantry combat missions in urban areas.

Duke Robotics stated that the goal of the move is to promote the marketing of its combat drone, TIKAD. UAS Drone is traded on the Pink Market, an over-the-counter (OTC) market where penny stocks, low-value shares that trade for less than one dollar per share, are traded. It is subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is required to submit periodic reports and report on any cardinal events. Being a public company, Duke will be able to raise capital from investors through the sale of its shares.

A Flying Fighting Robot

Established in 2014, Duke Robotics has developed a flying octocopter (with 8 rotors) combat robot, capable of carrying up to 9kg of light weapons that can be operated remotely via a tablet. The robot is integrated with Six Degrees of Freedom (can move in all three axes of the three-dimensional space) enabling it to perform complex and precise combat missions. According to the company, it meets the challenge of counter terrorism activity in urban areas.

In June 2016, the company’s robot received the 1st place prize at the Counter terrorism Technologies Conference, organized by the American Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), the Israeli Directorate of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D) and the MIT Enterprise Forum. In 2017 the company reported that it was working closely with the IDF and expected orders from the Ministry of Defense.