UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
03 Aug 09. The Indian Defence ministry has approved another major induction of UAVs for armed forces, with surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions becoming critical on the western and eastern fronts as well as along the huge coastline. Army, for instance, is going in for two more “troops” (6-8 birds each) of advanced Heron UAVs from Israel for Rs 1,118 crore after getting the nod from the Defence Acquisitions Council headed by defence minister A K Antony. The 1.13-million strong force has also projected a requirement of seven “troops” of the Rustom drones being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation and Aeronautical Development Establishment in a crore project with Israeli help. As a MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) drone, Rustom will be capable of operating for 24 hours, with a 300-km range and a 10,000-metre maximum altitude. Army, of course, is already inducting the indigenous Nishant and Lakshya UAVs. Similarly, Navy’s case for two more Israeli UAVs has also been approved, in addition to the core joint project between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and DRDO for NRUAVs (naval rotary UAVs).
24 Jul 09. UOR funding should keep UAVs in service until 2012, says UK MoD. UOR funding should be used to keep UK General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper and Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in service until at least 2012, according to a UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) study into unmanned systems – the details of which have been released to industry this month. The two systems were acquired over the past three years with money allocated by the UK Treasury over and above the core defence budget to support troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)
23 Jul 09. The U.S. Air Force on July 23 released a report detailing the potential future use of unmanned drones as bombers, cargo transports and in attacking “swarms.” The market for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has surged over the last decade, driven by proven operational successes in Iraq and Afghanistan and by Israel’s extensive usage. The total UAS market (air vehicles, ground control equipment and payloads) is expected to be worth $55bn through 2020. The U.S. is likely to account for 77% of global UAS research and development and 64% of procurement over the next decade. U.S. firms have more than 50% of the market by value and could seize another 5% to 10% over the next 10 years. However, export controls may hamper overseas sales of U.S. UAS equipment. Some U.S. firms may sell basic platforms and allow customers to integrate their own sensor equipment. (Source: Forbes)
30 Jul 09. Sagem Patroller UAV completes first flight trials. The Sagem Patroller medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has successfully completed its first series of flight trials, the company announced on 29 July. The trials, which took place in Kemijärvi in the north of Finland from 10 to 30 June, involved eight flights including several long-endurance flights, one of which lasted more than 10 hours. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)