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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

30 Jun 11. The US has declared its determination to continue its drone campaign against al-Qaeda and other militant groups in Pakistan despite mounting objections there. Announcing a new strategy on counter-terrorism, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s senior adviser in the field, referred to drone strikes in unusually blunt terms. “In some places, such as the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-Qaeda,” he said, in a clear allusion to the drone attacks. He added that the new strategy was focused on the extremist group: “We seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qaeda.” Mr Brennan’s remarks came on the day Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, Pakistan’s defence minister, said Islamabad had stopped US operations at a Baluchistan air base that has been used for drone strikes. (Source: FT.com)

30 Jun 11. Guardian UAVs receive enhanced SeaVue radar. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine branch’s Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being equipped with the eXpanded Mission Capability (XMC) variant of Raytheon’s SeaVue maritime and land surveillance radar. The Guardian, derived from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc’s Predator B UAV, is a specialised maritime surveillance aircraft with an optimised airframe. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

01 Jul 11. The latest unmanned aircraft pictures from China show a reconnaissance truck with a joined wing and tail that could considerably increase range and payload and produce better handling at high altitudes. U.S. analysts already are suggesting that the new Chinese UAV design — with its 60,000-ft. cruising altitude, 300-mi. radar surveillance range and low radar reflectivity if it uses the right composite structure — could serve as the targeting node for China’s anti-ship ballistic missiles. The ASBM threat against carriers finally has U.S. Navy officials worried. Photographs emerging from Chinese Internet sources, depicting the aircraft on what is likely Chengdu Aircraft Corporation’s (CAC) ramp, show a new design featuring a novel joined-wing layout. In the same size class as the General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc. Avenger, and powered by a single turbofan engine, the new UAV is the most advanced Chinese design seen to date and the largest joined-wing aircraft known to have been built. The company also makes the J-10 strike fighter, the J-20 stealth fighter prototype and a Global Hawk-like maritime reconnaissance UAV called the Xianglong, or Soaring Dragon, which flew in December 2009. CAC officials say it has a wingspan of 75 ft., length of 45
ft. and a cruise altitude of 55,000-to-60,000 ft. Chinese sources credited it with a 7,500-kg (16,500-lb.) takeoff weight and 3,800 nm range. The forebody is bulged to accommodate a high-data-rate satcom antenna. (Source: Aviation Week)

24 Jun 11. Tekever completes work on Light Ray mini UAV. Portugal’s Tekever Autonomous Systems debuted its AR4 Light Ray mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Paris Air Show. The company’s general manager, Pedro Ortiz, told Jane’s that development of the system is complete, three years after work commenced. Ortiz explained that the aircraft will act as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) asset and can carry 2 kg payloads in a two-axis stabilised gimbal in the aircraft’s nose, which provides vertical and horizontal fields of view of 120 degrees and 90 degrees respectively. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

30 Jun 11. OAO Gorizont (Russia) and Schiebel (Austria) have joined forces to deliver an Unmanned Air System (UAS) in Russia based on the famous and proven S-100 unmanned helicopter. One UAS will be soon in operational use for a government customer. The focus for the collaboration is the civil UAS market in Russia and the opportunities for this helicopter drone are extensive over the next few years, ranging from agricultural, wildlife and forestry surveill

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