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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

07 Feb 11. Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 unmanned air vehicles (UAV) are being re-engined with the R902(W) engine by the Israeli Air Force (IAF).
The IAF is configuring the engine with enhancements to increase thetype’s
operational envelope. The new Wankel-design engine allows the Hermes 450 to deliver an improved endurance of more than 20 hours. The engine generates less noise, which expands the range of missions that the tactical UAV can perform, Flightglobal reports, quoting sources.
The new engine has a larger combustion compartment, which enables it to deliver more than 70hp. The engine is also equipped with electronic fuel control and a starter-alternator option to enable in-flight restart. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)

05 Feb 11. GKN Aerospace partnered with US Navy and Northrop Grumman for X-47B First Flight.The US Navy/Northrop Grumman UCAS-D X-47B aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight yesterday with GKN Aerospace-developed and manufactured wings and fuselage structure. GKN Aerospace’s pioneering work was undertaken as part of a multi-year contract to design and manufacture the X-47B centre fuselage and wing components. The complex centre fuselage section of the X-47B has an aluminium and titanium construction while the aircraft’s wings contain an aluminium substructure covered with carbon epoxy skins measuring approximately 16 feet by 4 feet. Each wing supports a spoiler flight control surface and hosts fully integrated electrical and hydraulic routings. The wing design includes a fold capability allowing the air vehicle to achieve a smaller footprint for aircraft carrier stowage. GKN Aerospace also manufactures most of the fuselage composite skins and this tailless aircraft’s bay covers and actuated doors. Wing and fuselage design was completed by the GKN Aerospace Engineering Development Center in Nashville, TN and manufacture took place at the Company’s plant in St. Louis, MO. In total, over 650 separate metallic and composite elements per aircraft were manufactured and/or assembled by GKN Aerospace.

07 Feb 11. Rockwell Collins announced today that its ARC-210 radios provided critical voice communications in support of the historic first flight of the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) on Feb. 4 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Rockwell Collins is a contractor to Northrop Grumman under the U.S. Navy UCAS Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. “We congratulate the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman on the successful first flight of the X-47B,” said David Vos, senior director of unmanned airborne systems and control technologies for Rockwell Collins. “By equipping the X-47B with Rockwell Collins’ proven communication systems, this aircraft system is well-positioned to provide immediate, real-time, secure communications for the U.S. Navy UCAS-D program.” The X-47B will be the first tailless unmanned aircraft to autonomously operate from an aircraft carrier. The flight test program includes catapult launches and arrested landings from the carrier, autonomous carrier control area operations and precise movement of the aircraft on the flight deck. The first carrier landing and subsequent sea trials are planned for 2013. Northrop Grumman is under contract with the U.S. Navy to provide two aircraft for the demonstration and technology maturation activities. In the UCAS-D program, the ARC-210 is utilized for voice communication for Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) controllers and air traffic control along with back-up data link communication from the ground station to the X-47B. It provides two-way, multi-mode voice and data communications over a 30 to 512 MHz frequency range. It also includes embedded Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) anti-jam waveforms and other data link and secure communication features which provide the user with total battlefield interoperability and high-performance capabilities in the transfer of data, voice and imagery.

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