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UAV NEWS
Tough drone market forces layoffs at French maker Parrot
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Jan 10, 2017


Insitu contracted for additional Blackjack aircraft
Washington (UPI) Jan 10, 2017 - Insitu has received a $70 million contract modification to deliver six additional Lot I RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft systems to the U.S. Navy.

The order includes three Blackjack systems for the Navy and three more for the U.S. Marine Corps. Each system is comprised of unmanned aircraft, ground control stations, multi-mission plug-and-play payloads, and additional supporting equipment.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the work will be performed at Insitu's facilities in Bingen, Wash. and Hood River, Ore., and is expected to be complete by February 2018.

Insitu received all funding for the modification at the time of the award. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md. is listed as the contracting activity.

The RQ-21A Blackjack is a twin-engine unmanned aircraft used to support maritime and land operations. The vehicle, a larger follow-up to the Scan Eagle, is fitted to perform reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions.

The aircraft are able to fly at a range of 50 nautical miles and reach speeds around 80 knots. Standard payloads include electro-optical and infrared cameras for full-motion video, laser rangefinders, communication relays, and Automatic Identification System receives.

Shares in French drone manufacturer Parrot crashed more than 17 percent on Tuesday after the group announced mass job cuts, signalling an end to years of expansion in the new technology market.

The Paris-based company said Monday it would make 290 out of 840 workers redundant in its drone division because fierce competition and falling prices deepened its losses.

As well as facing competition from other toy drone makers such as market leading China-based DJI and US-based GoPro, Parrot has seen the market flooded by rivals looking to undercut the big names on price.

"Parrot has taken on board the changes in market for consumer drones," it said in a statement to announce the cutbacks.

The group lost 26.3 million euros ($27.8 million) in the third quarter of last year, adding to the 67.7 million euros it lost in the first six months of 2016.

Its separate but smaller businesses in wireless entertainment products for cars and commercial drones remain on track, the company said.

Its shares were down 17.6 percent in afternoon trading on the Paris stock exchange at 9.05 euros.

Textron continues logistical support for tactical drones
Hunt Valley, Md. (UPI) Jan 10, 2017 -The U.S. military is to receive continued contractor logistical support for Shadow tactical unmanned aerial systems from Textron Systems Support Solutions.

The contract from the U.S. Army is worth $206 million and covers the period from November through 2018.

"Support Solutions has been the chosen CLS contractor for the U.S. Army's CLS contract since 2005, and we are proud to continue supporting their Shadow systems throughout this past decade," said Textron Support Solutions Senior Vice President and General Manager Ryan Hazlett.

"This contract also supports the U.S. Army's Shadow v2 block upgrade program, under which Textron Systems acts as an end-to-end solution provider."

Textron said services covered under the contract include systems sustainment management, engineering support, contractor logistics support management, field service operations, depot material repair and management and post productions software support.

The Shadow is used by the Army and Marine Corps for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and battle damage assessment. It is also used by Australian and Swedish military forces.

The U.S. Army is teaming the Shadow v2 system with its Apache helicopter fleet for scouting missions within its combat aviation brigades.

Textron has provided logistical support for the Shadow since 2005.


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Paris (UPI) Jan 5, 2017
More than 200 small unmanned aerial vehicles are being supplied to the French military by Thales for reconnaissance missions. The Spy'Ranger drones, which can be launched within minutes by a two-person team, are capable of transmitting high-resolution video in real time and will replace frontline reconnaissance UAVs currently in service with the French army. "Developed by Thales ... read more


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