Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NATO Invests in More Bandwidth for New Data-Hungry Drones – Charles D’Alberto

A NATO Global Hawk surveillance drone on display at the alliance’s summit meeting 
in Warsaw last July. Deploying a fleet of the aircraft has increased the alliance’s
 need for greater satellite communications bandwidth.  P
hoto:  Eric Lalmand/Zuma Press 

BRUSSELS—The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is preparing to expand its satellite communications capability with contracts worth about $1.85 billion later this year as it prepares to field a new fleet of drones.

The alliance’s demand for satellite bandwidth has increased as its operational tempo has stepped up in recent years with the deployment of forces to its eastern flank and the development of a new system of surveillance drones.

The NATO Communications and Information Agency, which operates and defends the alliance’s computer networks and the missile defense command and control system, is slated to announce more than $3 billion in upcoming projects for defense contractors to bid on at a conference in Ottawa, Canada at the end of April.

The alliance is dedicating the biggest chunk of that money to expanding satellite-communication bandwidth for deployed forces and its headquarters.

NATO is acquiring five Global Hawk surveillance drones to be based at Signonella, Italy as part of the Alliance Ground Surveillance system. The first drone is due to be deployed to Europe later this year and will begin operations later this year or 2018.

A senior NATO official said those drones will create a huge demand for satellite data.
“The AGS drone is a huge collector of data, it is a vacuum cleaner of data,” said a NATO official. “Bandwidth is a problem for NATO, for most of the nations.”

In addition to the satellite contracts, NATO is set to move forward with contracts for cyberdefenses, the command and control of its missile defense systems and advanced software.

It can take up to three years from the announcement of a project to a contract to be bid and awarded, NATO officials said. Business consortia have been preparing to bid on the satellite contract, and the alliance is expecting to be able to move forward to receive bids on the project in late 2017.

The alliance provided no details of what companies might bid on the satellite contract. Typically companies put together consortia of firms from multiple alliance countries to bid on NATO contracts.

#NATO #Satellite #Telecommunications #Bandwidth #Drones #Perla_Group #Charles_Dalberto

Posted By Charles D'Alberto



Monday, March 27, 2017

Helicopter regularly flown by Prince William escapes drone crash - Charles D'Alberto

Duke of Cambridge was not on board at time of incident, but investigators say mid-air collision was only avoided by luck
Prince William in the cockpit of the EC145 helicopter. Photograph: Olivia Howitt/Courtesy of BBC/Reuters

An air ambulance regularly piloted by the Duke of Cambridge “narrowly avoided” a collision with a remote-controlled drone, according to an official report.
The helicopter avoided a potentially deadly mid-air crash with the drone by “chance”, 580 metres (1,900ft) above north London at 7.45pm on 26 August.
Investigators found there had been a high risk of the two aircrafts coming into contact, “endangering the EC145 and its crew” over a busy area.
A report by the UK Airprox Board, which probes such incidents to improve air safety, suggested the drone was flying above its permitted altitude.
The Eurocopter 145, which is used by the East Anglian air ambulance (EAAA), has been flown regularly by the duke during his work for the service.
An EAAA spokeswoman said: “The Duke of Cambridge was not on shift when the drone incident took place.”

In its findings, which concluded the incident was in the highest category of risk, Airprox said: “Members agreed that the drone was apparently being operated over a built-up area without CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) permission, was above the altitude where it could be considered in direct unaided line of sight and, if using FPV (first-person view), was above the 1000ft allowed by regulation.
“They therefore agreed that this could be considered as endangering the EC145 and its crew in that the drone had been flown into conflict.
“Notwithstanding the difficulty of visual assessment of range without visual cues, when allied to the pilot’s overall account of the incident the board considered that the reported range was such that this was a situation where a collision had only been narrowly avoided and chance had played a major part.
“They therefore determined the risk to be category A.”

The ambulance control room was contacted by the worried pilot, telling them to inform the police, it added.
A spokeswoman for EAAA said: “We can confirm that, in accordance with aviation regulations and procedures, a pilot reported a drone in his proximity on 26 August 2016.
“The Duke of Cambridge was not on shift when the drone incident took place.
“There are strict rules that drone operators must follow and it is important they are aware of their responsibilities for safe operations at all times.”
The drone pilot was never found, the report said.
#Drones #Helicopter #EC145 #Charles_Dalberto #Aviation

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Floating Helicopter – How It Was Shot – Charles D’Alberto

You may have seen a viral video clip doing the rounds on social media recently of a helicopter taking off with its rotors seemingly still. The result is a visual spectacle that we could never see with our own eyes. But how was the floating helicopter video shot?

In the helicopter video above – published by Munich-based cameraman Chris Fay who was on a world trip when he shot this video – the frame rate and shutter speed would have been synced perfectly to capture the ‘freeze frame’ effect of the propellers, with the shutter speed set much faster than the conventional 180-degree shutter speed, possibly 1/640 or even 1/1250 depending on how fast the propellers rotate per second.

Posted By Charles D'Alberto