30 Jun 10. The Euro Hawk® unmanned aircraft system (UAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation and EADS Defence & Security (DS), successfully completed its first flight on the evening of June 29. The high-flying aircraft took off at approximately 07:32 p.m. European Continental Time, (05:32 GMT), from Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility and climbed to 32,000 feet over Palmdale’s desert skies before landing nearly two hours later at 09:24 European Continental Time, (07:24 GMT) at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
06 Jul 10. The US Air Force and Navy will collaborate to increase broad area maritime surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and the RQ-4 Global Hawk system. Under the memorandum of agreement (MOA), a synergies working group will be established to identify synergies in basing, maintenance, aircraft command and control, training, logistics and data requirements commonalities. Air Force Lt Gen David Deptula said the two services would achieve synergy in personnel, equipment and training while reducing overall cost to the Department of Defense. “The result of this integrated approach will be greater capacity for quick, reliable and sustainable ISR for combatant commanders,” he said. The agreement will allow BAMS UAS and Global Hawk programmes to look at options for joint navy and air force squadron organisations and joint basing in various theatres. Under the deal, the programmes will be subject to combatant commander approval where required, squadron-level consolidated maintenance facility, and joint aircraft command and control, and training. The BAMS UAS programme, expected to begin operation in 2015, will be a forward-deployed, land-based, remotely operated system for a persistent maritime ISR capability. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
01 Jul 10. Qinetiq is expected to launch a new version of its Zephyr solar-powered unmanned vehicle in the next few days on what it hopes will be a record-breaking test flight. The aspiration is to turn the flight into a multiweek operation to demonstrate the Zephyr’s ability to act as a persistent communications relay or surveillance platform for the military. (QINETIQ) Officially, the machine – known as the Zephyr 7 – is trying for the 33.1 hours world unmanned flight record, held by Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk since 2008. (Source: Defense News)
06 Jul 10. The Patroller™ medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone built by Sagem (Safran group) has successfully completed its latest series of tests, validating overall system operation. Carried out at the Istres air base in southwest France from May 26 to July 2, 2010, these tests included ten qualification flights in manned operational mode, and five flights in drone mode, without a pilot. For this latest series of tests, Sagem deployed a Patroller™ system comprising an aircraft and a ground control station. There were also two control rooms to monitor all flight and mission parameters in real time, one at Safran’s premises in Istres, and the other in Sagem’s R&D center in Eragny. The latest drone flight tests were used to validate the performance of the aircraft’s triplex avionics equipment, which gives it outstanding reliability, and its imaging system, comprising a Euroflir gyrostabilized optronics pod from Sagem, and a Kubank link. Tests proved the drone’s expected endurance, exceeding 30 hours, flight parameters in line with expectations, excellent tolerance for crosswinds on the ground, and its ability to integrate air traffic around the base. Not only do these results confirm Patroller™’s ability to carry out demonstration flights starting this summer, they also show Sagem’s ability to deliver a fully operational Patroller™ system to a launch customer within 12 to 18 months. Patroller™ is a 1-ton class MALE drone system, based on an aircraft certified to EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) standards, the S-15 built by German firm Stemme. It incorporates technologies develope