09 Nov 09. Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV): Numbers. The Defence Equipment Minister said (9 Nov 09) that there are 176 Desert Hawk III UAV in service. The Hermes 450 UAV capability is currently supported by 10 air vehicles. Four Reaper UAV have been delivered into service, although one was lost in April 2008. Two additional Reaper are on order.
Comment: As an interim measure, Hermes 450 UAV are procured on a ‘service provision’ basis for a specified number of flying hours (rather than for a number of UAV). Hermes 450 is to be replaced by Watchkeeper, with systems acceptance due in October 2010. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/43, 16 Nov 09)
09 Nov 09. Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract by Saab Aerosystems to deliver Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) for the NEURON European unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator. The LCR-100 AHRS units will be built by the company’s German navigation systems subsidiary, Northrop Grumman LITEF. The LCR-100 Gyrocompass AHRS is a north finding attitude and heading reference system based on a state-of-the-art fibre-optic gyro and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) accelerometers. This commercial off-the-shelf equipment provides accurate and uninterrupted attitude, heading, position, velocity and status information. (Source: ASD Network)
17 Nov 09. European planners are increasingly looking towards the potential deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for civilian purposes. Various studies have long pointed to border patrol, forestry, fishing, search and rescue, etc. as appropriate and profitable uses for unmanned aircraft. Yet, opening the European Union’s airspace to civil UAVs is so difficult that even the most optimistic predictions only anticipate limited use in perhaps 2013 or 2016. This is one of the conclusions included in Market Intel Group’s new report, titled: “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Border Security – Global Market & Technologies Outlook 2010-2015”. A recent European Commission-sponsored study lists border security as the top civilian requirement for UAVs. Suitable unmanned aircraft for border protection cannot be simply military versions without weapons. Border protection UAVs require specific hardware and design features to enable them to share airspace with piloted aircraft, or even other UAVs. The new research report details these requirements. It also provides a detailed border protection Operating Concept, or the integrated plan tying UAVs into other sensors, communication networks and multiple users. Without a good Operating Concept, successful deployment of UAVs for border security (or anything else) is unlikely. According to the new report, UAVs will need to incorporate one of two additional technologies to blend with other aircraft. These technologies vary by UAV weight; one is required on the larger aircraft while the other is only sufficient for the smaller types. The report details both options to help prepare UAV operators for flight in civil airspace. Current administrative and operational restrictions severely limit the conditions under which piloted air traffic can share the same airspace with pilot-less flights. Essentially, they must be separated by many kilometers horizontally and at all altitudes. In other words, UAVs are not allowed near other aircraft in any direction. The European vision of an unmanned border-guard-in-the-sky may yet run into additional political, administrative and legal difficulties, bringing about further postponement of the UAVs’ deployment date. Analysts predict that political resistance by the public and very conservative airspace managers to such a move may be overcome only if Europe’s sense of vulnerability to an external threat is heightened by, for example, a terrorist attack that illegally crosses the Union’s border. This new research report provides analysis and then forecasts the world’s UAVs for border protection market under two different scenarios: today’