UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
19 Mar 08. Robots fly into Antarctic skies. A pair of lightweight, robotic planes have made the first unmanned flights over Antarctica’s icy expanses. Driven by propeller, the machines made 20 low-altitude sorties, including four over the Weddell Sea. The UAVs were launched by catapult but flew autonomously until landing. During some of the test flights the machines were fitted with miniaturised instruments to collect data for use in predictive climate models. “One of the biggest uncertainties in those models is the physics of sea-ice – how it freezes and how it melts,” said Dr Phil Anderson of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), one of the team that carried out the tests. “A lot of this happens during the Antarctic winter – the nine-month period when we can’t get ships and aircraft to the bases – so we decided to see if we could [collect this data] by robot aircraft.” Tests of the tiny planes, which were designed by the Technical University of Braunschweig (TUBS), started in the Antarctic winter of 2007. The 2m-wingspan craft are launched by a giant elastic band which catapults them into the sky. (Source: BBC)
25 Mar 08. Allen-Vanguard has launched ROV-Track CBRNE, a unique software application for its Defender and Vanguard™ bomb disposal robots which predicts and illustrates CBRNE hazard areas around a suspect device. The hazard prediction is based on data compiled by meteorological and CBRNE sensors integrated with the ROV and transmitted to the command console. Scene controllers are provided with a clear visual display of potential down-wind exposure enabling the formulation of a safe and effective response. Continual recalculation based on prevailing conditions means that controllers can make decisions based on real-time status. ROV-Track CBRNE predicts the hazard area based on relevant standards for blast effect, fragmentation and the characteristics of CBRN agents. However, these standards may be manually updated in line with the user’s experience and response protocols. Defender has integral GPS and can be fitted with up to four sensors as well as a set of disruptors. The smaller, more lightweight Vanguard™ can carry two sensors.
20 Mar 08. Pakistan on March 20 conducted a successful test flight of a
pilotless plane, the military announced. Flight data from the UAV named “Uqaab,” showed the exercise had been successful, it said in a statement. “The performance of UAV can be compared to any modern state-of-the-art UAV in its category,” the statement said, adding that the flight test was preceded by a series of trial last year. The successful test “reflects Pakistan’s continued efforts for self-reliance in the field of defense,” it said. Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who witnessed the test, congratulated the scientists and engineers on their “outstanding success.” “This would go a long way in strengthening Pakistan’s defense,” the statement quoted him as saying. (Source: Defense News)
24 Mar 08. Elbit Systems Ltd. will supply Skylark(r) I UAV systems to France’s Special Forces, as it won a tender involving 10 of the leading UAV manufacturers worldwide. This contract marks Elbit Systems’ first UAV contract with France.
24 Mar 08. Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $17,292,804 cost contract for applied research and advanced technology demonstration of an advanced Multi-Mode Sensor Suite to support vertical take-off and landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting missions in the littoral combat environment. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under a Broad Agency Announcement; five offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-08-C-0034).
24 Mar 08. Roc