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Utilizing innovative spacecraft design, the Space Drone will 'top up' satellites in orbit with propulsion power to extend their mission in space, just before they run out of fuel, thus extending their service far beyond their designated lifespan. U.K. based Effective Space company has signed up its launch customer to service two satellites in orbit by 2020 and has options to serve more satellites.
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.
Australia commits to buy six Northrop Gruman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance drones, to be fielded beginning in 2023, at an investment of $1.4 billion. The Tritons will operate with manned aircraft to enhance Australian anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike, and search and rescue capabilities.
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.
The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) has just released the MAPS Framework (MAF) - the key element in TARDEC's roadmap to standardize the development and upgradability of Active Protection Systems (APS) and subsystem technologies utilized to protect ground vehicle platforms. The newly released document outlines the different standards that guide system providers in government and industry to develop products that are modular, upgradable, safe, and secure.
Northrop Grumman and United Technologies Corp. have recently completed the first flight test of the MS-177 long-range, multi-spectral imaging (MSI) sensor on the RQ-4B Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The MS-177 sensor is designed to provide capabilities to not only "find" targets using broad area search and different sensing technologies, but to also fix, track, and assess targets through its agility and multiple sensing modalities.
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.
Almost 50 unmanned systems from the UK, USA, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria participated in a month-long war game for robots, organized by the Royal Navy. Spanning air, surface and the undersea domain, ‘Unmanned Warrior 2016’ (UW16), has been in the making for almost two years, with dozens of players from different nations invited to take part in this unique operational demonstration, held as part of NATO’s Joint Warrior exercise.
By 2018 the US Army expects to field a new command-and-control (C2) system developed to deliver a single, unambiguous view of the battlespace. The Integrated (air and missile defense) Battle Command System (IBCS) developed and built by Northrop Grumman will significantly enhance aircraft and missile tracking, and improve the ability of combatant commanders and air defenders to make critical decisions within seconds.
DARPA awarded Northrop Grumman US$93 million for under the 3rd phase of the Tern program. The company will develop and demonstrate an innovative unmanned tail-sitting, flying-wing aircraft
Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Masten Space Systems have won additional funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to continue developing their concepts for the United States military's XS-1 robotic space plane under the program's second phase (Phase 1B).
Two industry groups are proposing business aircraft platforms as an alternative for the US Air Force JSTARS replacement. The Air Force is planning to retire the existing Boeing 707-based E-8Cs from 2025-2026 and is expecting to have at least four of the new planes in production by 2023.
A new milestone in the history of unmanned aircraft was made yesterday, as 'Salty Dog 502' X-47B, the first drone designed to operate from US Navy carriers linked to adrogue of an Omega tanker off the coast of Maryland.
DARPA is expecting to complete risk reduction studies in September, and select one of two competing designs for medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (MALE UAS), to demonstrate drone operations from small and medium naval vessels by 2017.