Unmanned Systems News - September 2010

Photo above: The AirMule prototype has performed 40 test hovers and accumulated 10 hours of flight time. More recently the aircraft has been undergoing a systems upgrade including the development and installation of wheeled landing gear that will facilitate ground mobility while also enabling STOVL (Short Takeoff Vertical Landing) operations which have the potential to nearly double the aircraft's payload capacity. Urban Aeronautics plans to resume flight tests of its AirMule prototype before the end of the year. Photo: Urban Aeronautics (Read More...)


Extendable Stick Turns Micro Robot into a Pole Cam

ScoutXT ReconRobotics has introduced a new, versatile add-on to the Recon Scout Micro Robot enabling the use of the robot either as a remotely controlled sensor or static, elevated ‘Pole Cam’. The novel device enables military scouts to mount the Micro Robot on the 20 inch (0.52 m) long ‘Recon Scout Search Stick’, a quipped with actuated jaws that grasp the 1.2 pound Recon Scout micro robot. (Read More...)

Vulture Solar-Powered UAV Set For Months long Mission by 2014

Yakhont The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected a concept developed by the Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) for the second phase of the Vulture long-endurance unmanned aerial system (UAS) program. The Solar eagle was selected over the Odysseus, a rival proposal submitted by Lockheed Martin and Aurora Flight Science’s. The agency awarded Boeing an $89 million contract for the development and flight demonstration of the Vulture air vehicle, a 400 ft. (122 m) wing span, quad-tail flying wing, designed for operation at very high-altitude of 90,000 – 60,000 ft, and operate continuously, unreplenished, for a period of five years. (Read More...)

Karrar - Iran's New Jet-Powered Recce and Attack Drone

Kerrar Drone Iran has this week unveiled a new type of turbojet-powered drone designated 'Karrar' (striker - in Farsi), described by Iranian officials as capable to perform long-range reconnaissance and attack missions. Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced on Sunday that the country's first home-made long-range Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) named 'Karrar' has a flight-range of 1,000km. Karrar is described as capable of operating at long range, and in 'great operational depth', at high or low altitudes. In today's analysis feature, Defense-Update speculate on several operational options available with this drone. (Read More...)

BirdEye 650LE Mini-UAV Uses Fuel Cell to Fly Six Hour Missions

Birdeye 650 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has successfully integrated hydrogen proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system extending the flight endurance of the Birdeye 650 mini UAV to 6 hours – more than doubling its endurance with lithium batteries. The fuel-cell equipped mini-UAV has been given the designation Birdeye 650 LE. (Read More...)

Elbit Systems Expands the VIPeR into a Family of Robots

Elbit Mini Viper Elbit Systems is expanding its family of man portable unmanned ground systems with the introduction of two new models. During a recent exhibition the company displayed the new robots, in addition to a wide range of advanced land and C4I solutions. The new members of the VIPeR family of intelligent and portable robots include the Mini-VIPeR and Maxi-VIPeR, which join the VIPeR robot, already operational in the Israel Defense Forces under the Hebrew name “Pazit.” (Read More...)

InSitu Selected for STUAS UAV Program, Potential Future Orders: Over $0.5 Billion 

insitu stuas The U.S. Navy Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has selected the InSitu Integratorunmanned aircraft for the Small Tactical Unmanned Air System (STUAS)/Tier II system, and awarded the system developer Insitu Inc., – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Company – a contract worth nearly $44 million for the development and fielding of the service’s next generation tactical UAS, this contract will support low-rate initial production of two systems, one each for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. (Read More...)

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Teamwork Demonstrated by Atlas Elektronik

Sea Otter Atlas Elektronik has demonstrated Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) at the company owned test site in Bincleaves, Dorset, UK. A select group of commercial customers was invited to witness the SeaWolf and SeaOtter MK II AUVs in action, demonstrating the feasibility of multiple AUVs simultaneously operating in the water, effectively surveying large areas of seabed, deployed from the convenience of sheltered facilities and harbours. (Read More...)

QinetiQ’s Zephyr solar powered unmanned aircraft soars to new world records

zephyr UAV Zephyr, the solar-powered, high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned vehicle developed by QinetiQ has been flying for the past week, smashing a number of long-standing world records. The solar powered drone mission continues above the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, as part demonstrating the solar powered drone's capability to fly a two week mission. “By being able to remain over a location for weeks or months at a time, it can usefully deliver a host of practical and more affordable solutions to both civil and military customers” said Jon Saltmarsh, Zephyr Program Director at QinetiQ. (Read More...)

FireScout MQ-8B Completes Demonstration Flights in the UAE

Firescout MQ-8B The MQ-8B Fire-Scout Vertical take-off and landing Unmanned Aerial System (VUAS) completed a series of demonstration tests in desert conditions, conducted in the UAE in a period of 10 days in early July 2010. The next phase of the program is the Navy's upcoming Operational Evaluation of the FireScout, planned for late 2010 aboard the USS Halyburton (FFG-40). (Read More...)

Boeing Rolls Out the New Phantom Eye HALE Drone

Phantom Eye Drone Four months after beginning the construction of the first Phantom Eye technology demonstrator, the company rolled out the completed aircraft from the Phantom Works workshops at St. Louis. The unmanned, high altitude, long endurance (HALE) platform powered by two liquid-hydrogen engines. The twin-engine Phantom Eye demonstrator will have a 150-foot wingspan and be capable of flying for more than four days at altitudes up to 65,000 feet while carrying a payload of up to 450 pounds. (Read More...)

TARANIS UCAV Demonstrator Vehicle Rollout

Taranis UCAV The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) unveiled today the Taranis prototype, an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) at Warton, in Lancashire, U.K. Taranis, the concept demonstrator named after the Celtic god of thunder, will take to the air next year (2011), testing autonomous, stealthy UCAV technologies. These capabilities could be utilized in the development of future autonomous, uninhibited strike platforms capable of precisely striking targets at long range, even in another continent. (Read More...)

IAI/Elta receives Two Orders Worth $35 Million for UAV Payloads

IAI HeronIAI reported today that its Elta Systems subsidiary has received two new orders from international customers, worth about US$35 million. Elta develops and produces a range of payloads for UAVs, including maritime surveillance radar (MSR) and synthetic aperture radars (SAR), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Communications Intelligence (COMINT) payloads. Elta’s sensors can be integrated on a wide range of UAVs, but their most common uses are with IAI’s UAV platforms – such sensors can be carried separately on tactical UAVs, or as part of a multi-sensor packages, installed on a single platform such as the Heron or Heron TP. (Read More...)

Sky Warrior Moves into Production to Equip the U.S. Army ER/MP Program

Sky Warrior UAVThe U.S. Army is planning to field upgraded, early production Sky Warrior unmanned systems in Afghanistan in the summer of 2010, to be equipped with improved software, hardware, new Hellfire missiles modified to better operate with unmanned systems. By the end of the year the Army plans to field the first production models of the Sky Warrior, as part of the ER/MP program. (Read More...)

Euro-Hawk Takes Off!

Euro Hawk UASThe Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation and EADS Defence & Security, successfully completed its first flight June 29. The high-flying aircraft took off at approximately 10:32 a.m. PDT from Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility and climbed to 32,000 feet over Palmdale’s desert skies before landing nearly two hours later at 12:24 p.m. PDT at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Read More...)

Global Hawk Prepares for an Aerial Refueling Demonstration

Aerial Refueling Global HawkNorthrop Grumman, National Air and Space Agency (NASA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are planning to demonstrate aerial refueling of a NASA  Global Hawk autonomous aerial vehicles by a sister ship.  The program will be designated KQ-X. (Read More...)

Thales Introduce Tactical, Multi Purpose Robots, UGVs

Thales is introducing three new unmanned systems at Eurosatory 2010 – the Spy Arrow mini-UAV, an autonomous, affordable and backpackable surveillance system comprising a delta-winded miniature aircraft; The company is also displaying the μTrooper Unmanned Ground Vehicle - a multi-role six-wheeled platform carrying a small EO payload, that can operate independently or as part of a pack. Thales is also developing a larger, electrically powered UGV called R-Trooper, equipped with a full UGV sensor suite as well as deploy smaller robots on specific missions. (Read more...)

IAI Introduces Tethered Hovering Surveillance Platform

E-topIsrael Aerospace Industries will display an innovative concept for lifting medium weight sensors employed for persistent surveillance missions. The platform, designated 'Electric Tethered Observation Platform' (ETOP) is a tethered unmanned hovering platform which can take off, hover in one place, and land without any additional landing and recovery systems. It can be deployed from a static or moving ground vehicle or station. ETOP is the pioneer of a broader line of hovering platforms being developed at IAI for military and civilian applications. (Read more... )


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