Pakistan to Receive Shadow 200 UAVs

The United States plans to provide Pakistan 12 units of RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles to support their fight on extremists. In addition to the drones themselves, the United States also will provide training and other capabilities required to coordinate the unmanned platforms with the Pakistani forces supporting operations against Taliban extremists along the NorthWest Frontier and border with Afghanistan. Funding for the new program would come from congressionally appropriated counter-insurgency funds supporting the Pentagon's equipment or training assistance to Pakistan. The United States has been working with the Pakistani military for more than a year to enhance its own ISR capabilities.

Russian Security Forces Negotiate for Israeli UAVs

After the Russian military has ordered Israeli drones last year, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is negotiating with Israel for the sale of another short-range UAV system - the Orbiter electrically powered miniUAV. The systems are produced by Aeronautics Defense Systems and are currently operated with a number of military forces, including the Polish, Irish, Serbian and Azerbaijan armies and the Mexican police. The value of the current program has not been published. The UAVs are required to enhance the control and security along the Russian the southern border in the Caucasus. The Orbiter, designed as a 'flying wing', uses the STAMP stabilized electro-optical payload. It can stay on a mission for 2-3 hours. Orbiter is offered in three configurations, ranging from a smaller version carrying the STAMP day or night payload for short missions to the Orbiter Mk 3 designed for longer missions and heavier payloads. The Russian newspaper Kommersant mentioned that in 2009 Russia has signed with Israel Aerospace Industries an order for three different unmanned systems – including the Searcher II, BirdEye 400 and iView 150, for a total package valued $53 million.

BAE Systems, NOAA Test Flight the Coyote Maritime UAV

BAE Systems, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has completed the first successful test flight of a small, electric-powered Coyote unmanned aircraft system. The system deployed in midair from a 3-foot-long sonobuoy dropped from a P-3 aircraft. The flight, which lasted 49 minutes, marks a significant milestone in the development of the Coyote for military uses and scientific research. (Read more...)

Sky Warrior Evaluation Unit Deploys to Iraq

The U.S. Army has begun operating the Sky Warrior MQ-1C drone in Iraq. The aircraft are operating as part of a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) unit established by the training battalion at Ft. Huachuca, Az. Operating as a divisional asset, under the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, (1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division – Center), the QRC assists in developing and testing the concept of operation (CONOPS) of future divisional UAVs for the U.S. Army. The aircraft deployed to Camp Taji, Baghdad are the Phase 0 developmental aircraft, used for the test and evaluation of the MQ-1C. The Army is expecting to field production aircraft to the first divisions next year (2011) (Read more...).

Japan Tests an Air-Launched Multi-Purpose Stealth UAV

Japans air force has tested last month the latest version of air-launched UAV, designated 'TACOM'. The drone was launched from a Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-15 and after a short autonomous flight landed at the Iwo-Jima air base in Southern Japan. TACOM is a unique, indigenously developed unmanned system is designed as a multi-purpose unmanned platform that can be tailored for a multitude of missions, including reconnaissance, assault, electronic warfare/decoy and air strike. TACOM weighs about 700 kg, measures 5.2 meters in length, 1.62 mw high and has a wing span of 2.5 meters. Powered by a single turbofan engine developing 1,100 lbs of thrust TACOM can cruise at transonic speed and reach an operational range of up to 1,000 km.

Aerosonde 4.7 Demonstrates Operations At Sea

The Aerosonde Mark 4.7 small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) has completed a week flight operations aboard the M-80 Stiletto, a maritime demonstration test bed. The successful test involved multiple launches and recoveries aboard the vessel. The Stiletto shipboard trials involved testing Aerosonde integrated launch and recovery system, proposed by Textron Systems/AAI for the Navy/Marine Corps STUAS program. (Read more...)

Army Axes Two Robotic Systems - Terminates Class IV UAV and MULE

The U.S. Army decided to terminate two more robotic programs previously associated with the Future Combat Systems (FCS) – the service is suspending its version of the Northrop Grumman FireScout (Class IV UAV), and the Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) robotic vehicle developed by Lockheed Martin. Both programs were managed as part of the Army FCS by Lead System Integrators Boeing and SAIC. (read more...)

South Korea Offers UVS, Missile Technology to the UAE

Following its successful bid to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at a cost of US$20 billion, South Korea is tightening its defense cooperation with the Middle East nation, announcing plans to transfer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to the UAE. Among the systems in discussion are three indigenously developed programs – the corps level Night Intruder-300 (RQ-101) developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the Hyunmoo II ballistic missile and Hyunmoo III (Eagle) cruise missile recently fielded with the Korean military in 2009. Technology transfer is believed to have been part of the requirements demanded by the UAE. (read more...)

Australians Began Operation of Leased Herons in Afghanistan

Less than a month after receiving the first Heron Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV leased from Israel, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has begun operating the in support of Australian and ISAF coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Heron is leased for a period of twelve months, with options to extend its service for additional two years. The UAV is operated by the Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA) that also support the Canadian forces in the country. A small RAAF detachment has been training with the Canadian Heron detachment at Kandahar airfield, drawing on the Canadians’ operational knowledge, experience and facilities. According to the Australian Ministry of Denence, the Heron uses leading edge technology to boost force protection by providing ground commanders with ongoing, real time situational awareness. Its long endurance characteristic enhances the other operational ISR capabilities operated by the Australians in Afghanistan, which currently include RAAF AP-3C Orions and Army’s Scan Eagle tactical UAV. (read more...)

France Considers Expanding its MALE UAV Fleet

France has exercised the option to acquire a fourth Heron type Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV under the Système Intérimaire de Drone (SIDM). The acquisition will also include a third ground control station planned under the SDIM program. The contract worth €33.7 million is awarded by the French Ministry of Defense to EADS, with IAI a subcontractor. IAI will deliver the Heron by the summer of 2010. The system will operate with the Adour squadron, assigned as the training unit for UAV operators. Three SDIM drones already operational with the French Air Force are stationed in Afghanistan since February 2009, where they have logged more than 1,400 flying hours supporting NATO forces deployed in this theater. The French Government is considering expanding the fleet of MALE UAVs with the acquisition of additional systems.

MQ-5B to Operate Tactical Common Data Link in Afghanistan

Preparing the MQ-5B Hunter Short Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for operational surge in Afghanistan, Northrop Grumman Corporation has installed the Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL), thus increasing data transfer rates, doubling communications range on the MQ-5B, and enabling additional payload capabilities. TCDL is essential for interoperability among different U.S. Department of Defense air vehicles and ground stations and supports the encryption of data and video links. The TCDL also serves as a foundation of establishing interoperability. The new datalink also allows for smoother integration of present and future Hunter payloads that exchange digital data using airborne ground computers. (read more...)

AirMule Completes First Phase of Flight Testing

Urban Aeronautics, Ltd, has successfully completed the first phase of its flight testing of the AirMule Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The flight test phase has consisted of autonomous hovers, with the vehicle maintaining stabilized in height and attitude position, with on-board Fly-By-Wire system controlling the three rotational axes of the vehicle (Pitch, Roll and Yaw). The next series of tests will examine the vehicle's position keeping abilities, as the vehicle is expected to fly tetherless for the first time. (read more...)

Airborne Communications Relay Could Become Primary Mission for Tactical UAVs

Unlike the costly electro-optical sensor package, often exceeding the cost of the aerial platform itself, an airborne relay payload can be produced at a low cost, resulting in a reasonably priced mission platform, that can be operated by signals units of Army or Marine brigades. Such a capability could dramatically expand communications links, primarily over rugged, mountainous or urban terrain.


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