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27 Jan 14. 3-D imaging system integrated on board T-20 UAV. Arcturus UAV has partnered with Urban Robotics to integrate the latter’s GeoDragon sensor system on board a T-20 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Eric Folkestad, an application engineer at Arcturus UAV, told IHS Jane’s that
the tests took place at the US Army’s Fort Hunter Liggett, California, in September 2013, with the development programme for the integration of the payload commencing in January last year. According to Folkestad, the conditions for the daytime test flight were favourable, with only light winds and clear skies. The GeoDragon payload is designed to collect imagery over an area of 25 mi 2 in a single flight; Folkestad said that the September trials were completed as planned with a full data collect and safe recovery of the aircraft and payload. Further test flights are set to take place over the next six months. The GeoDragon sensor was fitted in a wing-mounted pod for the trials. It is capable of high-definition 2-D and 3-D imaging and can create 3-D reconstructions in near real-time through the use of automated algorithms; it is also able to generate LIDAR-like datasets and wide-area maps. GeoDragon is scheduled to be released in mid-2014. Integration of the GeoDragon payload on board the T-20 follows on from flight tests that Arcturus UAV conducted with WGS Systems in July 2013 – work on which started a year earlier – where the aircraft operated with the Europa-S signals intelligence payload. The T-20 has a dry weight of 100 lb (45.35 kg), but is able to accommodate a payload of 75 lb (combination of fuel and systems) across hard points on the wings and in an internal storage bay in the fuselage. The aircraft features a T-wing design and has a monocoque, composite airframe. It has a wingspan of 5.3m and is 2.9m long; it is fitted with a four-stroke engine that is powered by MOGAS, but has also been equipped with a Cosworth heavy-fuel engine. Previously, Arcturus UAV representatives told IHS Jane’s that most of the company’s energy is focused on the T-20 and that its development is a continual process; it has been fielded to a number of undisclosed customers. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

28 Jan 14. The U.S. Air Force wants to transform its Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System airborne battle command system into an open-source system mounted on business jets. The JSTARS Recapitalization program is laid out in a request for information by the Air Force by the Air Force Aerial Surveillance Radars Branch, which describes the project as an effort to “reduce the life cycle costs of the weapon system by migrating the Joint STARS SAR/GMTI [synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator] Mission Area on to a more efficient air frame (business jet class). The recapitalization will utilize Open Systems Architecture enabling new capabilities to be integrated quicker, and more efficiently, and will promote future competition.” The reborn JSTARS will include four main components: the airborne platform, a sensor subsystem, a Battle Management Command and Control subsystem, and a communications subsystem. The current request for information in FedBizOpps addresses only the BMC2 component. The new JSTARS should have the same capabilities as the existing system, but with lower operating costs. Commercial-off-the-shelf equipment will be accepted. The Air Force hopes to achieve initial operational capability for the JSTARS Recapitalization by 2022. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

24 Jan 14. The US Air Force is planning to host an industry day to address the growing need for new technologies in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sector, according to the service’s top ISR general. “We are looking to get approval to have a day with industry this year at the end of February,” Lt. Gen. Robert Otto

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