UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
10 Sep 08. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV): Numbers. The Junior Defence Minister said (17 Sep 08) that, as at 10 Sep 08, two Reaper UAV were in use and three were on order. 104 Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk III were in use and 27 on order. 10 Hermes 450 were in service on 1 Sep 08 (and not 101 as stated in Hansard for 1 Sep 08 and repeated in DNA 08/35).
Comment: One of the Reapers on order is a replacement and is expected to be delivered in January 2009. The other two now on order are expected later in 2009. Previous figures officially released gave 89 Desert Hawk III in service and 42 on order.
DR&A apologises for the earlier transcript error when stating the number of Hermes 450 in service and is most grateful to those subscribers who pointed out the mistake! (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0837, 22 Sep 08)
22 Sep 08. The Air Force awarded a $58m contract to Raytheon Co. for work on unmanned aerial vehicles. The contract is for targeting systems for the Reaper program, a UAV that can be used for surveillance. Roughly $9.5 million has already been allocated.
19 Sep 08. AAI Corporation, Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Sept. 18, 2008, a $66,334,705 cost plus fee price contract for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System, Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) IV Technology Refreshment. Work will be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0016).
22 Sep 08. Northrop Grumman Corporation has demonstrated radar capability on its company-owned MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned Air System (VUAS) designated as “P6.” The flight demonstrated Fire Scout’s ability to search for, detect, and track multiple targets during a test surveillance mission. The demonstration was part of an on-going effort to expand upon the development capabilities of the MQ-8B Fire Scout. The flight took place on Sept. 19 at the Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. test center. The demonstration took place using a non-developmental Telephonics RDR-1700B search, surveillance, tracking and imaging radar system. The flight was the first of several radar demonstrations that will include an over-water search trial.
18 Sep 08. Cobham is preparing to demonstrate what it believes will be the first in-flight docking of two UAVs as it continues development of its autonomous aerial refuelling system. Two specially designed UAVs – one a tanker, one a receiver – are being readied for flight-tests in restricted airspace at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., within the next month, Cobham says. One of the six-foot wingspan UAVs is equipped with an extendable refuelling boom with drogue, or basket, and the other with a retractable probe. The two vehicles have been flown separately to check their flying qualities. The week-long trial at Yuma is planned to demonstrate fully autonomous rendezvous and docking, but will not involve actual fuel transfer, says Cobham subsidiary Sargent Fletcher. The sequence will begin with the tanker and receiver UAV in parallel orbits. On command from the ground, the receiver will move into the same orbit and chase down the tanker using its transmitted Global Positioning System position for guidance. Once it has closed to within 30 feet of the tanker using GPS, a sensor on the receiver’s nose will pick up a ring of infrared beacons on the refuelling drogue and generate commands for the autopilot to guide the probe into contact with the basket. (Source: Aviation Week)
22 Sep 08. Two New South African UAVs Debut. Midrand-based Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE) has doubled its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) offerings. The Company unveiled two new UAVs at the Africa Aerospace and Defence show in Cape Town. The company says it is on the cusp of signing a deal with an unnamed “security agency” for the Kiwit hand-launched UAV. The pol