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Two leading manufacturers of remotely piloted aircraft systems are nearing the goal of certifying unmanned aerial systems (UAV) for operation in the same airspace with manned aircraft, thus removing a major barrier to entry for drones that restricted the operation of large drones over the populated areas in Europe, Canada, and the USA. Elbit Systems of Israel and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. are the two forerunners in this field, followed by IAI and Northrop Grumman.
The Heron I RPAS has been operating over the Mediterranean Sea and Southern Europe under this authorization as part an experiment run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX, evaluating the use of air patrols to spot illegal immigrants from North Africa.
To achieve airworthiness that meets NATO STANAG 4671 GA-ASI redesigned the MQ-9 platform from scratch, to enable the new ‘SkyGuardian’ to meet fully the UK Military Type Certificate for the time when Protector RG MK1 enters service by the mid-2020s. The RAF just announced its plan to assign the RPAS to 31 Squadron, that will phase out the Tornado GR4 by next year.
The remote detection and tracking of submerged contacts, such as submarines, was demonstrated using an MQ-9 Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) during a...
This post continues our discussion on Future Drones Although unmanned aircraft do not require a pilot to fly, they do need significant human control and...
Scaled Composites announced the first flight of its newly developed, experimental aircraft Model 401. The company produced two such aircraft for an undisclosed customer, to demonstrate advanced, low-cost manufacturing techniques and research flight services for the United States government. This successful first flight is the beginning of the flight test phase for vehicle number 1. The Scaled team plans to continue envelope expansion on the first aircraft as they move toward first flight of the second Model 401 vehicle.
An MQ-9 'Reaper' Block 5 Unmanned aircraft demonstrated the use of Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), as part of an airborne demonstration of the drone's capability to operate on the edge of 'contested airspace'.
DARPA has recently moved to phase 2 of the Gremlins program which envisions volleys of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UASs) that could be launched and later retrieved in mid-air. DARPA selected two teams - one led by Dynetics, the other by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), to complete preliminary designs full-scale technology demonstration systems, as well as develop and perform risk-reduction tests of individual system components.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), successfully performed the first flight of the Avenger Extended Range (Avenger ER) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). With wingspan increased to 76 feet and 2,200 pounds of additional fuel, the ER extends the legacy Avenger’s endurance from 15 hours to 20 hours.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) are currently tested with Airborne Infrared (ABIR) sensors – performing persistent, forward pickets to spot hostile missile launches and track them through their flight trajectory. These missions will soon evolve as RPAs become operational, and augment existing radar and space-based sensors, providing midcourse tracking and target discrimination, to help targeting ground and ship-based missile defense interceptors. In the next phase MDA will equip even larger unmanned platforms with high-power laser systems, to perform boost-phase intercept. The agency plans to demonstrate such systems in 2021.
India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued a letter of request (LoR) to the United States on 17 June to procure 22 multi-mission General Atomics Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the Indian Navy. The Guardian is a maritime variant of the Predator B. India is requesting the sale of these drones via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) will begin flight testing of an Improved Avenger in October 2016. This enhanced version of the semi-stealthy drone will enhance the Avenger's capabilities on long endurance, intelligence gathering missions carrying the new MS-177 Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) completed operational flight tests of Detect and Avoid (DAA) systems using Due Regard Radar (DRR) systems on board its GA-ASI Predator B drones. The tests confirmed that the DAA system provided the RPA pilot with a clear picture of surrounding air traffic, at least as good as 'eyes in the cockpit' of a manned aircraft.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) conducted recently the longest flight of Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Extended Range (ER) Long Wing, retrofitted with improved long-endurance wings with greater internal fuel capacity and additional hard points for carrying external stores. The long wings are the first components to be produced as part of GA-ASI’s Certifiable Predator B (CPB) development project, which will lead to a certifiable production aircraft in early 2018.