25 Jan 10. The Israel Air Force’s Eitan (Steadfast) heavy-hauling, multimission UAV will soon become operational, the fruit of a two-year program to certify the system for networked operations with other manned and unmanned platforms. The 4.5-ton Heron TP flies automatically in high-altitude safety for 60 hours at a stretch. (Israel Aerospace Industries) Produced by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Eitan – known internationally as the Heron TP – made its operational debut last winter during Israel’s Cast Lead anti-rocket assault on the Gaza
Strip. The 4.5-ton aircraft, whose wingspan nearly matches a Boeing 737’s, flies automatically in high-altitude safety for 60 hours at a stretch. It carries 1 ton of specialized sensors, satellite communications gear and other equipment tailored to various IAF missions.
Sources here declined to specify how Israel’s newest and largest UAV was used in the 22-day Gaza campaign, but confirmed that data from the wartime deployment sped up its operational acceptance. That mimics the pattern blazed by the Shavit, an IAI-produced signals intelligence (SigInt) aircraft based on the Gulfstream 550, whose combat debut in the 2006 Lebanon War hastened its operational acceptance by the IAF.
18 Jan 10. ‘Ethical’ system could limit collateral damage from UAV attacks. A senior US-based academic has developed a software application that he believes could help limit the collateral damage caused by air strikes from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by making them ‘feel’ something akin to guilt. Dr Ronald Arkin, regents’ professor and associate dean for research at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing, calls his application the Ethical Adaptor. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Jan 10. IDF seeks parachute-wing resupply UAV. The Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a tender to local industry for production of a long-range, propelled parachute-wing glider capable of transporting supplies to isolated forces in enemy territory. Project ‘Flying Elephant’ is a response to experiences during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when Israel Air Force (IAF) C-130 aircraft were tasked with dropping cargo to forward-based soldiers after the Israel Defence Force’s (IDF’s) Logistics Corps failed to open supply lines through enemy territory and units were running out of food, water and other stores. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Jan 10. US Army axes UAS and two UGV models. The US Army has cancelled two unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) models and an unmanned aerial system (UAS) that the service believes no longer fit into its force modernisation plans. In two 11 January letters, army officials notified Congress of terminations for the Class IV UAS as well as the countermine and transport variants of the Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) unmanned vehicle. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Jan 10. Proactive Communications is deploying a new automated remote management (ARM) system that uses satellite data links provided by Iridium Communications Inc. for out-of-band backup access to remote communication network sites. Data Technology Solutions (DTS), an Iridium value-added reseller, is supplying the system, which uses ARM technology developed by Uplogix, an Iridium value-added manufacturer. The Uplogix system relies on Iridium’s global satellite circuit-switched data service.