UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
24 Oct 07. The Boeing Company, using a Ford Motor Company-developed hydrogen engine, has successfully tested the hydrogen propulsion system of its High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft. “This test demonstrates the technical readiness of the hydrogen engine system and confirms the capability breakthrough in flight endurance and altitude that could be realized by a variety of military and commercial customers,” said Darryl Davis, vice president and general manager, Boeing Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems.
During the test, the engine ran for nearly four days in a controlled chamber at
Aurora Flight Sciences in Manassas, Va., including a total of three days that simulated conditions at 65,000 feet. The propulsion system included a multi-stage turbocharged internal combustion engine and its associated subsystems. The Ford engine earned better than expected fuel economy while demonstrating complete airflow and torque control across the engine’s operating range.
19 Oct 07. Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport Evaluates Autonomous Patrol Vehicles to Patrol Fences. The Israeli Airports Authority is evaluating three autonomous patrol vehicles for use in boosting perimeter security around Ben Gurion International near Tel-Aviv. Unmanned vehicles made by Frontline Robotics of Canada and local Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems are being evaluated for their ability to utilize multi-sensor payloads and autonomous operations to augment the security provided by a multi-sensor perimeter fence that surrounds Ben-Gurion. The Israeli companies already field vehicles used along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. (Source: Flight International)
22 Oct 07. QinetiQ establishes service and support centre for Talon robots in Australia. QinetiQ has unveiled plans to establish a service and support centre for its Talon™ robots in Sydney, Australia in conjunction with its in-country representative, Pacific Security and Environmental Solutions (PSES) Pty. QinetiQ’s Talon robots are manufactured in North America and are being sold in ever increasing numbers around the world – there are already over 1000 Talons in-theatre. Part of the plan will be for PSES to hold a stock of Talon spare parts in its Sydney warehouse and provide technical support, service repairs and overnight shipment of components as required. PSES’ engineers already have specific Talon technical and operational expertise, thereby helping to ensure sustainment of capability.
19 Oct 07. General Atomics Aeronautical System, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Oct. 18, 2007, a $20,828,590 increment as part of a $231,154,861 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for system development and demonstration for the Extended Range / Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Including Integration of the Hellfire Missile. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (43 percent), Adelanto, Calif. (14 percent), Palmdale, Calif. (8 percent), Salt Lake City, Utah (18 percent), Hunt Valley, Md. (14 percent), and Huntsville, Ala. (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There were 120 bids solicited on Sept. 1, 2004, and three bids were received. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0069).
08 Oct 07. Avoidance Systems Aim to Make UAVs Safe. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could begin allowing unmanned air systems to operate in civil airspace in 2012 or 2013, provided that UAS flights are made as safe or safer than manned flights. In order to make that happen, airframe manufacturers, electronics houses, and government researchers will need to figure out how to prevent unmanned aerial vehicles from colliding with other objects while they are airborne. There are three types of technologies that could help UAVs sense and avoid cooperative and noncooperativ