UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
27 Jul 07. The high-flying RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial systems (UAS) built by Northrop Grumman Corporation recently completed their 1,000th flight. The fourth production Global Hawk, designated AF-4, flew the milestone mission June 14-15 in support of the global war on terrorism (GWOT). “AF-4 cruised at extremely high altitudes for more than 18 hours without refueling — a feat that very few aircraft, manned or unmanned, have matched thus far,” said Gary Ervin, vice president for Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector. This was the 517th combat mission flight for the Global Hawks, which have logged more than 10,700 combat hours, accounting for 71 percent of the program’s total flight time of 15,135 hours.
25 Jul 07. InRob Tech Ltd. announced that it has summarized preliminary principles of collaboration with Frontline Robotics, a Canadian company that specializes in the development of systems and technologies for robot platforms. This collaboration will include marketing and joint bidding on defense-related robotics projects. Frontline Robotics (http://www.frontline-robotics.com ) develops systems and technologies for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) that focus on perimeter security and public safety. The company develops and delivers a range of mobile robotic solutions for homeland security that are built around its core technology, the Robot Open Control(TM) (The ROC(TM)), a robot operating system that provides autonomy and cognitive collaboration for teams of mobile robots. (Source: Shephard)
Jul 07. Lockheed Martin reaches major milesstone for the MULE robotic vehicle engineering evaluation unit. The Lockheed Martin Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) robotic vehicle’s Engineering Evaluation Unit (EEU) recently reached a major milestone in demonstrating autonomous navigation over complex obstacles, such as steps and gaps. The EEU autonomously climbed a 30-inch step and bridged a 70-inch gap without operator intervention, using only parametric descriptions of the obstacles and the vehicle’s self-awareness. This capability exceeds the performance of other high-mobility vehicles, such as the HMMWV. Although a smaller vehicle, the MULE is able to address complex obstacles, such the ones used for the demonstration at a testing facility, by employing its specialized articulating suspension. Lockheed Martin reaches major milestone for the MULE robotic vehicle engineering evaluation unit. (Source: Shephard)
19 Jul 07. United Industrial Corporation’s AAI Corporation subsidiary has begun training U.S. Marine Corps personnel to fly and maintain Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft systems (TUAS) in preparation for the service’s transition later this year to the Shadow surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence-gathering system. The Marine Corps has decided to retire its Pioneer unmanned aircraft systems, which have supported its ground forces for more than 20 years, including significant current action in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Source: Shephard)
24 Jul 07. Powerplant Developments, Limited (PPD) announced today that it is well into the development and certification process for the new two-stroke, three-cylinder diesel “Gemini 100 Engine.” The new light weight, high performance 100 horsepower diesel engine will initially be offered to the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) market. “With all the growth in the global LSA market this is an exciting time for everyone involved with the Gemini Engine project,” stated Timothy T. Archer, President and CEO, Powerplant Developments. “We have already been in contact with a number of LSA manufacturers and dealers and they are all extremely interested in the lower operating costs, reduced installed weight and performance advancements offered by this new engine.” “The Gemini Engine introduces a number of uncommon, yet proven, engine features to the aviation industry,” he continued. “For example, it has a unique two half-crankshaft, two