Designed for cruise at a speed of 240 knots,
the High Speed Lifter will transition between forward and vertical
flight modes without complex in-flight conversion. In hovering,
the propellers will be clutched off facilitating stable low
speed flight qualities. The aircraft maintain helicopter-like
attributes in hover efficiency, maneuverability and agility,
nap of the earth flying capability and safe descent through
autorotation, low speed stability and high speed without transition.
The aircraft will be built to survive combat damage, with ballistic
tolerant design, use of advanced multi-spectral survivability
BAE Systems introduced a new family of helmet-mounted
display and cueing systems called Q-Sight. Weighing less than
4 ounces, the miniature display clips to any helmet, allowing
the pilot "plug-and-play" ease of use. The new technology
features a daylight readable display with large "exit pupil"
for pilot viewing, and seamless transitions between day and
night to increase pilot situational
awareness and mission capability. The increased visibility and
lightweight design minimizes eye and neck strain, common problems
for pilots managing the demands of longer missions and increasingly
complex rules of engagement. Additionally, the decreased size
and weight of the display allows the pilot complete freedom
of movement within the cockpit.
A common denominator between several new systems
unveiled here at AUSA 07 was the transformation of the robotic
platform from a hunter into a killer. Almost all systems were
presented with weapon's mounting options, some as a modification
and others, as their main capability. Here are few examples.
Developed under DARPA's Hummingbird Vertical
Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program,
the Boeing A160T is currently
in production for DARPA testing and for the US Special Operations
Command. The original piston engine powered Hummingbird flew
for the first time in 2002. Currently 11 A160Ts are in production
at Boeing for DARPA. The latest version, A160T (Turbine Hummingbird)
offers dramatic improvement in endurance and performance over
the baseline vehicle. It is designed for autonomous operations
at a range of 2,250 nautical miles and mission endurance extending
more than 20 hours. Its cruising speed is 140 knots and operational
ceiling is 25,000 to 30,000 ft. The aircraft will be able to
hover at an altitude of up to 15,000 ft.
Key to the Hummingbird's endurance and station-keeping
performance is the proprietary optimum speed rotor technology,
designed to improve the engine's efficiency by adjusting the
rotation speed of the rotor according to the changing flight
conditions, such as altitudes, gross weight and cruise speed.
Operational A160Ts will be capable of persistent intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance; target acquisition; direct
action; communication relay and precision re-supply missions.
In October 2007, A160T completed a 12 hour test flight carrying
a 500 pound payload at an altitude of 5,000 feet simulating
multi-sensor operational mission. The flight used less than
60 percent of the aircraft's maximum fuel, demonstrating the
advantages of the A160's design, including its unique optimum
speed rotor. The 12-hour flight followed an eight-hour flight
on Sept. 27 during which the Hummingbird carried a 1,000-pound
payload module. Ultimately, Boeing plans to fly the aircraft
consecutive hours with a 300-pound payload. At AUSA Boeing displayed
a model of an armed version of the A160T, loaded with an EO
payload and eight Hellfire type missiles. The vehicle has a
length of 35 feet and a 36-foot rotor diameter.
Foster-Miller, Inc. (QinetiQ North America subsidiary)
introduced at AUSA the Modular
Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS), representing the
company's mature concept for operational, weaponized combat
robot. MAARS is powerful and agile system designed specifically
for the military and first responders. Compared with the company's
current SWORD and TALON robot, MAARS packs a more powerful platform,
designed to carry heavier loads including the fully functional
Small Caliber UltraLight
(SCUL) remote weapon system from Precision Remote, mounting
a 7.62 M240B machine gun or a 0.5 Cal Barret high power anti-material
sniper rifle. MAARS also introduces significantly improved Digital
Control Unit offering improved situational awareness, command
and control. The controller provides improved weapon control
functions, better aneuverability, mobility, lethality and safety.
The complete MAARS system weighs about 350 pounds.
The chassis is constructed as a uni-body frame fitted with easier
battery and electronics accessibility. Other features include
a larger payload bay, higher torque, creating faster ground
improved braking. An EOD MAARS will be equipped with a new manipulator
arm having a nominal 100 lb lift capability. The arm can quickly
replace the turret mounted M240B weapon, literally transforming
from a remote weapons platform to an Improvised Explosive Device
SAIC subsidiary AMTI developed the Seeker family
of small robots, designed for detection and defeat of IED threats.
SAIC offers two Seeker series robots – the R500E, and
R421. This UGV is covered in more details in the Counter IED
section of this review.
Elbit Systems unveiled the latest version of
the VIPeR – a versatile, very lightweight portable robot
first displayed this year at the AUSA Winter convention. VIPeR
is capable of carrying out a variety of missions in potentially
hostile areas. The small robot weighs less than 12 k and is
portable in a standard backpack. Its high maneuverability and
payload capacity make it suitable for a wide range of combat
missions, equipped with add-on sensors, modules and task specific
payloads. The intelligent, small-signature system consists of
a remote operator control harness, robotic platform with video,
communication and weapons capability.
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