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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

04 Oct 10. US Army begins TRACER flight-tests. Flight trials of the US Army’s Tactical Reconnaissance And Counter-concealment Enabled Radar (TRACER) radar have begun aboard a NASA Ikhana unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The tests are assessing TRACERs for use aboard “Predator-type” UAVs such as US Army’s MQ-1C Grey Eagle. A generic TRACER UAV fit comprises a VHF antenna array carried under one wing and an equipment pod (housing the radar’s dual-band transmitter, UHF antenna, processor, receiver and exciter) under the other, the system operating within the VHF (30 to 300 MHz) and UHF (300 MHz to 3 GHz) bands. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

19 Oct 10. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a contract with Russian defence firm Oboronprom to deliver assembly components and servicing for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The deal, estimated to be around $400m, will be implemented during 2011. Under a contract signed in April 2009, Israel has delivered two Bird Eye 400 systems for $4m, eight I View mk150 tactical UAVs for $37m and two Searcher mkII multimission UAVs for $12m to Russia. Israel will also deliver 36 UAVs, worth a total of $100m, to Russia by the end of 2010. Russia and Israel is also considering to establish a $300m joint venture to produce UAVs. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)

16 Oct 10. RUSTOM, the medium altitude long endurance Unmanned
Arial Vehicle (UAV) being developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment, a premier Defence Research and Development Organisation lab specializing in UAVs and flight control systems, was successfully flown in its maiden flight here on Saturday. The aircraft was flown exactly as planned, up to a height of 3000 feet and remained airborne for 30 minutes and completed all mission requirements. It taxied, took off and landed (among the most challenging maneuvers for a UAV), using a runway at an air field owned by Taneja Aerospace, Bangalore, like a normal aircraft with the ground based pilot in full control monitoring every maneuver of the aircraft and auto mode remaining on. Ruston, with a designed endurance of 12-15 hour, 25000 ft. altitude and 75 kg payload, is the forerunner to the more advanced Rustom H and unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV). The data link for this aircraft has been developed by DEAL, another DRDO laboratory and the airframe has been built by Zephyr Aerospace, Coimbatore. The subsequent flights will test and demonstrate these capabilities such as way point navigation, altitude and endurance parameters, the systems for which have been already incorporated in the aircraft. (Source: Google)

15 Oct 210. French Defense Minister Hervé Morin told lawmakers he favored tackling an immediate problem in the Afghan theater by buying a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone off the shelf, while seeking an Anglo-French cooperation to build a European system in the medium term.
“It seems to me preferable to retain an intermediate system with effectively an off-the-shelf purchase, all the while looking in the medium term for a lasting European solution, allowing France and the United Kingdom to position themselves at a higher level,” minutes of a hearing held Oct. 5 before the French parliamentary defense committee showed. That opens the door to a near-term acquisition of the Predator UAV from General Atomics and pursuit of a joint effort by Dassault and BAE Systems in the medium term. Morin also said budget cuts would delay an upgrade of the Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft for two years, push back the Army’s Scorpion modernization program one year to 2013, reduce the number of ground radars in level four of the SCCOA national air control network, and possibly cancel two Falcon 2000 jets. Morin said that while he wanted French industry to obtain UAV work, an off-the-shelf acquisition should not provoke controversy given the past procurement of AWACS and Hawkeye surveillance aircraft and the C-135 tanker fleet, which supports the air wing of the nuclear deterrent.

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