26 Apr 10. Iran plans to mass-produce a domestic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) after a successful wargame test in the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the Pahpad UAV would go into production in the near future. During reconnaissance flights, in an exercise codenamed Payambar-e Azam 5, the UAV provided real-time battleground data, according to the Fars News Agency. There have been fears Iran would use UAV’s to spy on Israel, who are currently one of the world leaders in developing UAV technology. Iran has been heavily involved in developing domestically designed and produced missile systems and aircraft in recent years. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
28 Apr 10. Sweden is to acquire new tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems in an effort to provide its armed forces with real-time intelligence to participate in missions at home and overseas. The new tactical UAV systems are destined to be deployed in Afghanistan within a year, allowing Swedish troops time to train in the operation of the system. Swedish troops are currently operating the French-built Owl, a remotely piloted medium-sized unmanned aircraft that can deliver real-time intelligence. The Owl can hover in the air for about 2.5 hours and operate at a distance of about six miles from its ground control station. (Source: armytechnology.com)
26 Apr 10. The US Army has signed a new agreement to cooperate with the industry and academia in an effort to develop smart robots to work alongside warfighters. The Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (CTA) will be expected to design autonomous robots to accomplish a broad range of missions and will receive an initial investment of $63.2m, with a further five-year extension that could take the total investment to $129.7m. The Army Research Laboratory’s chief of the robotics autonomous systems division, Jon Bornstein, said that CTA’s research is expected to make autonomous robots accomplish more missions and take some of the burden off soldiers on the battlefield.
“I would like to see the CTA research demonstrate an unmanned system that can adapt to a dynamic environment and learn from its experiences,” said Bornstein.
Bornstein compared the future use of robots in the army with the way soldiers work with dogs in K-9 units. According to the CTA manager, the technology will be developed in the areas of perception, intelligence, human-robot interaction, dexterous manipulation and unique mobility to build robots with a significant level of autonomy. A General Dynamics Robotic Systems-led consortium will work under the robotics agreement with eight other partners, including Boston Dynamics, Carnegie-Mellon
University, California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Florida A&M University, QinetiQ North America, the University of Central
Florida, and the University of Pennsylvania. (Source: armytechnology.com)
21 Apr 10. A UK unmanned air vehicle sense-and-avoid project will continue with a £30.5m ($46.9m) second stage, 18 months after its £32m first phase ended with a simulated UAV flight through UK airspace. Two projects – separation assurance and control, and autonomy and decision making – will make up the second stage of the Autonomous Systems Technology Related Airborne Evaluation and Assessment (ASTRAEA) programme. Following phase one, the industrial partners decided to carry on using their own funds while continuing discussions for government support. For the second phase, industry is investing £16m, the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board is giving £4.5m and regional agencies and government could provide up to £10m more. Discussions are ongoing with regional agencies and government. The industrial partners include BAE Systems, Cobham, EADS, Qinetiq and Rolls-Royce. ASTRAEA is part of the UK government’s national aerospace technology strategy. (Source: Flight International)
27 Apr 10