18 Jan 05. Unmanned aircraft and careful planning gave U.S. Marines in Fallouja last fall real-time knowledge of their comrades’ location. Improved technology and better planning before November’s battle for Fallouja helped U.S. forces avoid the “friendly fire” casualties that have plagued other large-scale military operations, Marine Corps commanders say. Col. John Coleman, chief of staff for the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said new technology, rushed to Fallouja within days of the battle, allowed air and ground units to know the precise location of U.S. forces in real time. Among the improvements was better intelligence gathering by ScanEagle, the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that circled Fallouja and continuously beamed back information on US forces and the location and movement of insurgents.
18 Jan 05. UAV flocks to be operated against terrorists. Elad Kivelevitch, who is working towards his M.Sc. at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology under the guidance of Dr. Pini Gurfil of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, has developed an innovate and unique method of fighting terrorism, using a flock of UAVs. The new method will make it possible to distinguish between military targets and civilians, even in crowded built-up areas, and greatly increase the probability of hitting and destroying the target. Kivelevitch and Gurfil have developed an algorithm for indentifying and destroying targets in hostile territory, based on natural movements of flocks, such as storks, wasps, and ants. They have created a flock of coordinated UAVs, which do not collide with each other, and which work as a team. A heterogeneous flock of UAVs, each with its own capabilities, has one “leader.” The leader spots the target, conducts a “tender” among the flock members, decides which has the best chance of destroying the target, and assigns the mission to that member.
18 Jan 05. Iraq insurgents claim to have downed UAV. Iraqi insurgent forces have claimed to have shot down an unmanned US reconnaissance plane over the city of Hit at 4am Thursday, 13th January. The craft crashed in the az-Zawiyah area east of the city. The unnamed group claimed responsibility for the downing of the craft, saying that it was shot down using a 37 mm anti-aircraft gun. The group, told anti-coalition website uruknet.info, that it pledged to prevent all US aircraft from now on from using the local airspace. (Source: www.uruknet.info)
18 Jan 05. Geneva Aerospace Announces Production of its UAV Dakota. Airframe; Transforms UAV into Feature-Rich Option for Unmanned Flight with Better Performance for Autonomous Operations. Geneva Aerospace is poised to capitalize on this trend with the launch of its Dakota UAV, which offers a competitively priced, feature-rich alternative to other UAVs available on the market. Now in early production, the Dakota’s capability already has been recognized by military organizations for surveillance and other missions, said Dave Felio, president and chief executive officer for Geneva. The Dakota features a 16-foot wingspan and a 200-pound airframe, which was originally designed by Daedalus Research Inc., for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory as a rugged UAV test-bed. It has been used as a sensor test platform and surrogate vehicle for several research and development efforts, including autonomous operations exercised by the U.S. Navy. In the future, commercial applications might include power line inspection, pipeline inspection, mapping and surveying, Felio said. Geneva first acquired the rights to the Dakota in 2001. The UAV has since undergone a transformation, benefiting most from the addition of flightTEK, a compact, advanced flight control system developed by Geneva. flightTEK includes Geneva’s patent-pending Variable Autonomy Control System (VACS(TM)) software, which runs on top of a real-time variant of the Linux operating system. More than just an autopilot, VACS serves as a true mission managemen