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Unmanned Systems News December 2010

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Phantom RayPhantom Ray Delivered to Edwards Prior to First Test Flight

Fire-XFire-X Helicopter Accomplishes First Autonomous Flight

Elbit Skylark
Horizon Fuel Cell Tested on Elbit Systems’ Skylark I-LE Mini UAV

Lockheed Martin Awarded $45.8 Million for Unmanned KMAX

A160 sling
Boeing Awarded $30 Million for A160T Transport UAVs to Support U.S. Marines in Afghanistan

X-37B Unmanned Space Plane Lands at Vandenberg AFB After 220 Days in Space

Unmanned Systems report
X-37B Landing

Defense Update Unmanned Systems Channel - December 2010

Photo above: NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, carries Boeing's Phantom Ray during a test flight on Dec. 13 in St. Louis. Photo: NASA (Read More...)

PHANTOM RAYPhantom Ray Delivered to Edwards Prior to First Test Flight

The Phantom Ray unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) is a fighter-sized technology demonstrator designed as a flying test bed for advanced technologies. Under the Phantom Ray technology demonstration program the unmanned aircraft will conduct 10 flights over a period of approximately six months, supporting missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, suppression of enemy air defenses, electronic attack, hunter/killer, and autonomous aerial refueling.(Read More...)

Fire-XFire-X Helicopter Accomplishes First Autonomous Flight

Fire-X, a vertical unmanned air system (VUAS) developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Bell Helicopter, a Textron company (NYSE:TXT), completed its first fully autonomous flight Dec. 10, 2010 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. The experimental aircraft was developed as a low-risk, fast-track solution demonstrating that unmanned helicopters can be safely flown using the proven Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout’s unmanned systems autonomous flight architecture. (Read More...)

KmaxLockheed Martin Awarded $45.8 Million for Unmanned KMAX

The U.S. Navy decided to split the cargo unmanned aircraft (Cargo-UAV) between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, splitting $75.7 million between the two teams. Lockheed Martin received $45.8 million while the Boeing/Frontier team received $29.9 million. The contracts provide funding for the development and fielding of two Cargo UAS systems and option for six months of cargo delivery services in support of Marine Corps forces in Afghanistan. (Read More...)

Elbit SkylarkHorizon Fuel Cell Tested on Elbit Systems’ Skylark I-LE Mini UAV

Elbit Systems has tested the Aeropak fuel cell system with a Skylark I-LE mini-UAV. The suitability of the fuel cell as a power supply for UAVs was evaluated in the recent test was conducted in Israel, using an operationally configured system carrying full mission payload (comprising of a stabilized EO payload, avionics and communications datalink). According to Singapore based Horizon, the fuel-cell powered Skylark I-LE is expected to double the current endurance (around 3 hours), delivering 900Wh net usable energy per liter of fuel. (Read More...)

X-37B LandingX-37B Unmanned Space Plane Lands at Vandenberg AFB After 220 Days in Space

After spending 220 days in space the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base just after midnight (1:16am pacific time) December 3, 2010. X-37B designated the ‘First Orbital Test Vehicle’ (OTV-1), was built by Boeing [NYSE: BA] to experiment rapid deployment of space assets under the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO). The X-37B program is demonstrating a reliable, reusable unmanned space test platform for the Air Force, providing developmental risk reduction for such program.  (Read More...)

A160 cargoBoeing Awarded $30 Million for A160T Transport UAVs to Support U.S. Marines in Afghanistan

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Boeing [NYSE: BA] a contract worth close to $30 million for the delivery of unmanned cargo aerial vehicle services supporting U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. (Read More...)

Robotic UGV competitionU.S. Teams Grab All Prizes at Magic 2010 – Australian Robotic UGV Competition

With a squad of 14 robots that worked together autonomously in a complicated mapping exercise, a team from the University of Michigan has won the inaugural Multi Autonomous Ground-robotic International Challenge (MAGIC 2010) in Australia. MAGIC 2010 featured some of the world’s most ground-breaking robotics technologies as the teams deployed a total of 43 robots to navigate a 250,000 square-meter indoor and outdoor course over three-and-a-half hours. (Read More...)

sanke robotsSmaller, More Powerful Snake Robot Demonstrated by Technion Lab

Researchers at the BioRobotics and BioMechanics Labortory (BRML) or Israel Technion are working on an improved, more robust and agile snake robot that will enhance the performance already demonstrated by an earlier BRML ‘robotic snake’ in 2009. Unlike the previous robot, that used a centralized processor to control the individual elements, the new model employs independent links built as common elements, each packing the logic and control processors, inertial sensors, servo actuators, power source, communications and sensors. (Read More...)


Imlite CenterThe German Air Force Deploys an Israeli MultiInt System Fusing Manned, Unmanned ISR Sources

The German Air Force became the first international customer for Rafael’s new ImiLite multi-intelligenceIntelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) processing system. The Luftwaffe will be using the system to process and fuse real-time video and imagery obtained from Rafael’s Reccelite pods, flown on Tornado recce planes and Infra-red/video provided by the new IAI Heron UAVs recently deployed to Afghanistan. Until the introduction of ImiLite, ISR sensors operated as ‘stovepipes’, each monitored and controlled by its own control system, feeding processed feeds to central ISR facility, a process that typically accumulates significant delays. (Read More...)

U.S. Army to Demonstrate Full Manned-Unmanned Operations Next Year 

The U.S. Army is planning to test a combined operation of manned and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), as part of the demonstration of advanced capabilities enabled with current and future systems and technologies. (Read More...)

ATK guided weaponsATK Offers Miniature Precision Guided Weapon for Unmanned Aerial Systems

The U.S. Navy is expecting proposals from industry for groundbreaking operational support services, employing unmanned helicopters as ‘Cargo-Unmanned Aerial Sy ATK is developing a lightweight precision guided munition, compact and light enough to be carried by the dozens or even hundreds by unmanned aerial aircraft. The new glide weapon is packed into a conformal container launcher carried under the wing of the Shadow, fitted on top of the strut root. Upon release the weapon’s fins are extracted and three airfoils pop into place, as the weapon glides on its path to the ground. (Read More...)