29 Sep 09. Elbit Systems Ltd. Hermes®90 unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system successfully completed its heavy fuel engine (HFE) debut flight. The new engine uses heavy fuel, a safer alternative to automobile gasoline. The heavy fuel is a Kerosene-based diesel fuel (Jp5/8) commonly used in jet aircraft engines. Heavy fuels provides significant advantages in the naval and maritime field, enabling refueling, launch and recovery on naval platforms and ships. Haim Kellerman, General Manager of Elbit Systems UAV Division, noted that the Hermes®90 HFE flight test marks a significant milestone in Elbit Systems’ naval UAV activities. Kellerman added that the Company further plans UAV landing trials on various naval platforms. Among the main features of the Hermes®90: high survivability, over 15 hours endurance, mission range of more than 100 kilometers, varied payloads integration capability and dual launch and recovery methods, including integral launcher for point launch and recovery on non-prepared surfaces without using any dedicated ground equipment, as well as strip operation. The system enables full integration with any C4I system, for fast imagery dissemination as well as easy coordination among the operational forces in the field. Thanks to these capabilities, the Hermes®90 is highly suited for various missions and particularly maneuvering forces, as well as homeland defense and other non-military missions. The Hermes®90 performs day, night and adverse weather missions. The system’s compact and lightweight features enable it to be carried onboard two field class vehicles (e.g. Humvee) and to be easily deployed in full cycle operations by a two or three-person crew. The system includes an advanced Ground Control Station (GCS) for monitoring and controlling the mission, mounted onboard one of the field class vehicles. The system’s autonomous capabilities together with the simple operating abilities through all of the missions’ stages, facilitate optimal deployment, without the need for complex training or special skills. The advanced UAV system (UAS) incorporates highly autonomous capabilities, such as “fly by camera” suitable for various missions and flight modes common to all the Hermes® and Skylark® families of UAS.
30 Sep 09. Northrop Grumman Corporation has equipped and fielded its Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) with an Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS) to the Army’s UAS Training Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where it successfully completed its first launch and recovery. Hunter, which has been in use with the Army since 1996, was originally designed using an External Pilot (EP) for take-offs and landings. Like a radio-controlled airplane, the EP required someone manually controlling Hunter during approach and landing as well as take-off. Using differential GPS, ATLS eliminates the need for an EP and allows Hunter to take-off and land automatically and do so precisely at pre-surveyed points on the runway. The MQ-5B Hunter, which is currently deployed in contingency operations, provides warfighters with state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA), communications relay, signal intelligence, and weapons delivery. Hunter recently surpassed 80,000 flight hours, 53,000 of which are combat-related.
24 Sep 09. Honeywell International, Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., is being awarded a $30,868,286 modification to definitize a previously awarded undefinitized contract action (N00019-09-C-0004) to a firm-fixed-price contract. In addition, this modification provides for the procurement of an additional 46 Block II micro aerial vehicle systems for the Navy (40) and the United Kingdom (6), with associated spare parts, engineering support services, and training. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($28,242,266; 91.5 percent) and the United Kingdom ($2,626,020; 8.5 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Alburquerque, N.M., and is