UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
18 Mar 08. The Boeing Company, in partnership with ImSAR and Insitu Inc., has successfully flight-tested NanoSAR, the world’s smallest Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), aboard the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft (UA). During the 1.5-hour flight on Jan. 7 at the Boardman, Ore. test range, ScanEagle, with ImSAR’s NanoSAR payload installed, completed several passes over the target area at various altitudes and ranges. The targets included vehicles, structures and corner reflectors. Data collection onboard the ScanEagle worked as planned, and SAR imagery was later created on the ground. The next step in flight testing will be to create imagery aboard the UA in real time. The NanoSAR is a 2-pound system approximately the size of a shoebox. The weight of standard SARs ranges from 50 to 200 pounds. “In the past, the advantages of SARs’ all-weather imaging capabilities have been the exclusive domain of only larger unmanned aircraft. Now, even the 40-pound ScanEagle can carry both an electro-optical or infrared camera and a SAR payload at the same time,” said Carol Wilke, ScanEagle chief engineer for Boeing. “SAR is now at the lower end of payload weight budgets instead of at the top.
18 Mar 08. Insitu, Inc. announced that its INTEGRATOR™ unmanned aircraft (UA) completed a thorough flight test using its new software and avionics architecture; all tests exceeded expectations. Insitu is a pioneer developer of long-range, autonomous unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and advanced tools for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The flight included a take-off using Insitu’s new lightweight launcher; flight controls checks and practice approaches; and a high-precision GPS-based final approach and wing-tip capture into Insitu’s SKYHOOK™ recovery system.