Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2019

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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56   June/July 2019 unmanned systems inside WASHINGTON VIEW by DEE ANN DIVIS Michael C. Horowitz, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Washington Post last year. "However, according to our ongoing research, about 20 countries now have armed drones. This in- cludes many countries with questionable human rights records, such as Iran, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Burma." Policy experts pointed to other considerations as well. "Withholding military technology from close allies and partners can strain security relationships. Since these partnerships are grounded in trust, shared inter- ests and common threats, partners may equate a state's unwillingness to export drones with waning loyalty and commitment to other security agreements," wrote Erik Lin-Greenberg, a political science Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, in a commentary on the site War on the Rocks. Denying exports can also degrade in- teroperability and effectiveness during coalition opera- tions. Most importantly, he wrote, "Washington loses political and military inf luence when states turn to other suppliers. When a state transfers arms, it hopes to establish inf luence in the recipient state throughout and beyond the lifecycle of the weapon system. In the short term, inf luence is established via agreements to train personnel or maintain equipment. Producer states design training curricula and can withhold future deliv- eries, parts or maintenance if a recipient takes actions that run counter to their interests." The relationships China is building have potentially broad ramifications for other parts of the American aero- space industry, according to Zaloga. China is hoping to use UAS sales to gain entry to markets for other systems, including fighter aircraft, he said. "I think you're going to see more and more effort on the part of China to help break into that specific market [UAS] as a way to enter more broadly the military aerospace market." Zaloga, who has traveled to airshows where Asian technology in particular is more fully on display, said Chinese firms are surging into the military drone sec- tor, which they see as a dynamic market with great opportunity. "The Chinese companies are extremely enthusiastic. They have been going to great lengths to field a very wide range of armed UAS and endurance [long-range] UAS to address a whole scope of requirements—from systems as small as the early versions of Predator up through Reaper-sized airframes, that sort of thing. They're offering it across the board. You name a cat- egory of military UAS, they are offering UAS—and it's not a single airframe; it's multiple, different companies, different Chinese aerospace companies, all trying to get into the market." RULES EASED Under the new U.S. policy drone sales can now to go through the direct commercial sales (DCS) process instead of the more time-consuming foreign military sales (FMS) process. Under DCS, the company nego- tiates its own deals with a potential customer and the government is not involved in the fulf illment of the contract, according to a chart prepared by consult- ing f irm LM Defense. Under FMS, the government negotiates the sale and gets involved in the deal, as- Brian Chappel, sector vice president and general manager for autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman " FRANKLY THE APPROACH WITHIN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ABOUT THE EXPORT OF THESE TYPES OF SYSTEMS IS DIFFERENT NOW. …WE'RE RECEIVING ACTIVE ENCOURAGEMENT TO BRING THESE TYPES OF SYSTEMS THROUGH A PROCESS TO GET THE APPROVAL TO RELEASE AND WORK WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, EVEN BEYOND SOME OF THE MORE TRADITIONAL ONES LIKE THE U.K., AUSTRALIA, JAPAN AND KOREA." The Firebird from Northrop Grumman is an optionally manned aircraft, one of several being offered or considered by defense firms, at least in part because of their potential to be exported more easily. „ Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

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