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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

18 Aug 11. Funding for Nano Hummingbird fails to take off. AeroVironment (AV) is searching for customers to fund further development of its Nano Hummingbird unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a programme official told Jane’s at the AUVSI exhibition in Washington, DC. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded the first two Nano Hummingbird development phases under its Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) programme, but so far has not offered to fund a third round of development. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

04 Aug 11. CUSV demonstrates autonomous capabilities. Textron Systems has performed two successful tests for the US Navy (USN) with an unmanned surface vessel the company is marketing in the United States and internationally for mine countermeasures (MCM) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW), the company told Jane’s 26 July. The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) tested the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) using the common guidance protocols developed for craft in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

30 Aug 11. AeroVironment, Inc. introduced its lightweight and man-portable Shrike VTOL™ unmanned aircraft system. “This new solution adds an important set of new capabilities to our existing and battle-proven family of small unmanned aircraft systems that are saving lives in theater today.”In August 2008 AeroVironment announced the receipt of a contract from DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop a portable, stealthy, persistent perch and stare (SP2S) unmanned aircraft system. Shrike VTOL represents the conclusion of this development effort.

19 Aug 11. RE2 supplies Armadillo UGV manipulator. Unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) equipment manufacturer RE2 has produced a bespoke manipulator for Macro USA’s Armadillo UGV in less than 12 months, following initial discussions between the two companies at the AUVSI Denver conference in August 2010. The DS1-MA manipulator attaches to the platform without the use of tools – all mountings and adjustments are by captured thumb screws – and provides a single automated degree-of-freedom (shoulder pitch) and two manual degrees-of-freedom (shoulder roll/extend and camera pan/tilt). (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

25 Aug 11. AM Aircraft takes flight (DSEi Stand No.: Stand No. N4-292). Professors Keane and Scanlan from the Southampton University worked in partnership with 3T to produce ‘the world’s first 3D-printed plane’* – The Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) – which has successfully taken flight. The brief from the Professors included that the aircraft had to be lightweight and strong, as it would be built in just four parts – the main fuselage and rudder fins, the nose cone and two outer wings. They were looking for a process that could integrate multiple design features to make the assembly of the model quick and easy, without the need for time-consuming post-processing. The aircraft fuselage and wings housed a number of internal mechanical components and they required a simple method of fitting them. The SULSA team took advantage of the benefits offered by plastic Additive Manufacturing (AM) and used the nylon SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) services of 3T. The four parts of the plane simply clipped together to form an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) with a 1.2 metre wingspan. The Solidworks design drawings created by the SULSA team were passed to 3T’s team of CAD Engineers who incorporated the snap fittings required to hold the four nylon parts together to form the overall aircraft. They also designed mountings and channels to hold the ten internal components, enabling the motor, battery, avionics and controls to be clipped into place inside the main fuselage, and two servos, one in each wing. The wings had two ailerons moulded in with hinges and there were similar large hinged flaps on the rear control surfaces. All these features were incorporated into the aircraft’s design and the ability of SLS to create hinge

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