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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

26 Nov 05. The aviation industry’s dream of flying pilotless cargo planes may be grounded by a lack of radio frequencies to control the aircraft. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry is lobbying regulators to let military UAVs use civilian airspace and airports, to pave the way for cargo airlines to operate cheap, crewless flights. But John Mettrop, spectrum policy chief at the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, told a Royal Aeronautical Society conference that UAV makers have overlooked the high demand of UAVs for radio links for things like remote control and air traffic control. The UAV industry must wait for the World Radio Communication Conferences in 2007 and 2010 to claim the necessary frequencies. But it will face tough competition from emerging communications services such as WiMAX wireless broadband. (Source: issue 2527 of New Scientist magazine, 26 November 2005, page 25)

22 Nov 05. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), in collaboration with industrial partners, demonstrated an unmanned aerial system (UAS) flight solely powered by fuel cell technology. The flight of the 5.6-pound ‘Spider-Lion” lasted 3 hours, 19 minutes and consumed 15-grams of compressed hydrogen gas. The project is a joint venture between NRL’s Chemistry and Tactical Electronic Warfare Divisions and Protonex Technology Corporation. The flight was conducted with L-3 – BAI Aerosystems at their Ragged Island facility on Maryland’s Eastern Shore under weather conditions of 65 degrees F, moderate winds, and light rain at takeoff. The 100-watt fuel cell system was designed and constructed at NRL largely using commercially available hardware and a fuel cell stack and components developed by Protonex. The “Spider-Lion” UAS was developed by NRL as a high-impact research platform for testing fuel cell technology. Research
and development continues aimed at developing a fuel cell system capable of powering small military platforms currently in the field or in advanced development stages requiring extended operation that is not achievable using current battery technology.

Nov 05. ScaleCopters and UAV Vision launch the CamClone Mk.1 UAV. The CamClone MK1 helicopter is an intelligent platform capable of various flight performances including full autonomous flight. The machine is powered by the latest Development in micro jet turbines (JetCat SPT5-H) which provides a vibration
free and reliable power train. The helicopter is manufactured from the latest composite materials & aerospace grade aluminium. The CamClone MK1 is very reliable using long life Steel/Brone Alloy gear combinations and shafts which provide high endurance. The CamClone MK1 reaches 1 hour of flight time and can be fitted with various sensors, cameras and other kind of payload. Technical data: Classification – UAV Helicopter Rotor Dia 2.50m; Main Rotor – 3 bladed head, Gimbel Gyronized, 2x 360° movable. Autofocus on fixed objects via GPS possible; Engine JetCat SPT5-H twin stage engine; Fuel JetA1 / Kerosene + 5% Turbine oil up to 11.5 litres capacity; Cruise speed 90 km/h, Max speed 130 km/h, Empty weight 15Kg, Max takeoff >20 Kg, Flight time 75 minutes, depending on fuel and payload

21 Nov 05. Nineteen (19) UAV Types Currently Operating in Iraq There are currently 19 different UAV types operating in Iraq with coalition forces stated General Ron Fogleman (Ret’d), former USAF chief of staff, speaking yesterday at the Defense News Media Group’s Air Chiefs Conference held at the Knowledge Village, Dubai, UAE. Fogleman said that lessons had been learned regarding UAV operation: ‘At first we treated UAVs as though they were trucks – and it was a disaster.’ Now, the UAV – now being termed UAS (S = system) – challenge is to ‘find, fix, track and target – in near time. That has been achieved beyond our expectations,’ he added. Talking of payload, he said that the weakness of UAVs such as Global Hawk had been ‘their lack of a magazine – it can’t strike [real-time] what it sees [althoug

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