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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

22 Sep 10. Ultra Electronics’ Precision Air Systems showed at Africa’s largest defence exhibition, Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) in Cape Town, South Africa, its dual-fuel engine, which is now also running on diesel. Designed for the small UAV market, the engine produces 5hp and its ability to run on various fuels greatly eases the logistics chain. The company has run the engine for about 190 hours on JP5 and JP8 jet fuel, and for a similar period on petrol. On Monday it was run for about two hours on diesel.
“We haven’t seen any knocks yet,” said Ultra’s Keith Scivier. “Two or three hours isn’t a lot, but it’s certainly proof of principle.” The engine has been tether-flying in an AESIR Embla VTOL vehicle and next month is due to be trialled on a fixed-wing aircraft.

24 Sep 10. The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) 39 Squadron has received an additional Reaper remotely piloted aircraft in Afghanistan to support ground troops. The Reaper will deliver a total of 36 hours of video surveillance in support of troops on the ground every day of the year.
The aircraft boasts a 66ft wing span and is powered by a turboprop engine that allows it to stay in the air for more than 16 hours at a time. It will carry a multi-spectral targeting system to collect video from thousands of feet above insurgents, as well as Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs. The existing aircraft has completed 13,000 hours in direct support of ground forces in Afghanistan since October 2007. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)

22 Sep 10. A mock-up of Oto Melara’s tube-launched Horus mini-UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was displayed at the MSPO 2010 defence exhibition in Poland in September. Oto Melara representatives told Jane’s that the Italian company’s Robotic Systems Business Unit (formerly Celin Avio) had successfully completed two development contracts for the Segredifesa (Italian Defence Secretariat) and have two air vehicles and ground control stations ready to deliver to the Italian customer. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

22 Sep 10. NASA’s unmanned Global Hawk aircraft, developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation, flew from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. towards the East Coast on Sept. 2 to support a science research flight over Hurricane Earl. The flight marked the first time the NASA Global Hawk flew over a fully formed hurricane. The NASA Global Hawk flew a 24-hour mission from its Southern California base and gathered nine hours of data over Hurricane Earl. The Global Hawk monitored the hurricane from an altitude of 60,000 feet. It crossed the eye of the hurricane seven times and made two other passes near the eye. The NASA Global Hawk has also monitored tropical depression Frank and Hurricane Karl. The aircraft departed towards Hurricane Karl along the southern Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 16, flew for 25 hours and completed six legs over the hurricane. On Aug. 28 the NASA Global Hawk flew along the California coast towards southern Mexico and captured critical data over tropical depression Frank, at an altitude of up to 58,400 feet. The mission lasted a total of 15.2 hours. Additionally, the NASA Global Hawk completed a science flight over the AL-92 tropical disturbance southeast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean on Sept. 12. It completed a 24.3 hour flight, including seven hours collecting data over the storm. The hurricane surveillance mission is part of the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Process (GRIP) experiment, a NASA Earth science field experiment to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes. The NASA Global Hawk is equipped with four remote sensing instruments that are used to observe and characterize the genesis stage of hurricane formation and the process of hurricane intensification. The GRIP experiment is scheduled to conclude on Sept. 30, in the meantime, the NASA Global Hawk will be on standby, prepared to provide support for the next hurricane missio

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