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Jul 08. Netherlands’ NLR builds facility for unmanned helicopter technology. The National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) is developing a facility for unmanned helicopter research. The facility called FURORE (Facility for Unmanned Rotorcraft Research) will consist of an unmanned helicopter (RUAV or Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) with two onboard control systems, each with its own data link and ground station. This will allow the helicopter to execute a flight fully automatically. For example, the helicopter will execute a flight plan based on preset GPS coordinates, flying speeds and heights, and manoeuvres. In case of problems, the unmanned helicopter will fly back ‘home’ and land by itself. The helicopter will be a Geocopter GC-201 equipped with two turbine engines as a characteristic feature. The helicopter will weigh approximately 80 kg and be capable of flying for at least 60 minutes with a 30 kg payload (excluding fuel). One of the two control systems for FURORE will be supplied by Delft Dynamics, a company with whom the NLR intends to conduct future research in the area of automatic flight control. The NLR expects that the helicopter will be available for delivery in the last quarter of this year. (Source: Shephard)

08 July 08. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products recently conducted a system demonstration of its ground-based, Counter Man-Portable Airspace Protection System (CMAPS) against multiple UAVs at the Naval Air Systems Command test facility in China Lake, Calif. CMAPS successfully detected, tracked and destroyed various UAVs by targeting critical aircraft components during the test.

08 Jul 08. A scale model of an experimental stealth drone has completed its first automated flight, marking progress toward a combat unmanned aerial vehicle demonstrator, Dassault Aviation said July 8. “The Dassault Aviation AVE-D drone completed its first fully autonomous demonstration flight on June 30, 2008, near Toul, France,” the company said in a statement. “The demonstration is a key development milestone for a technology essential to the successful pursuit of the European Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator program.” Officials of the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA) procurement office watched the flight, comprising a complete cycle under automotation: roll from parking spot, runway alignment, takeoff, in-flight maneuvers, landing, braking and roll back to parking apron, the company said. AVE-D is part of a family of experimental scale models used for testing unpiloted technology and stands for Aéronef de Validation Expérimentale, with the D standing for Discretion, or stealth. A first flight of the AVE-D took place July 18, 2000, with a flight of the tail-less version, AVE-C, in 2003. Partner countries on the Neuron demonstrator program are France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Dassault is prime contractor on the 405-million-euro program, which aims to fly a stealthy combat drone in 2011, capable of dropping two precision-guided bombs from an internal bomb bay. The program is essential for maintaining design and engineering capability for a next generation of combat aircraft. (Source: Defense News)

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