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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

26 Sep 11. Boeing is looking to fly its company-funded Phantom Eye hydrogen-fuelled, long-endurance unmanned aircraft in late October or early November at Edwards AFB, Calif. The twin-engine, 150-ft.-wingspan demonstrator is due to be rolled out onto the dry lakebed at Edwards this weekend for an integrated fueling, engine run and defueling test. First flight of the Phantom Eye has been slipped four weeks to the last week of October or first week of November to allow more software and mission-related testing “to be ultra-sure,” he says. The goal of the internally funded program is to demonstrate up to four days of endurance at 65,000 ft. The aircraft will not have a payload for these flights, but is being looked at as a testbed for payloads now under development. (Source: Aviation Week)

16 Sep 11. Aeryon Scout may help safeguard UK forces in Afghanistan. The British Army has shown interest in using the Aeryon Scout unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to protect troops operating in Afghanistan, an industry official told Jane’s on 15 September. Dale Loveridge, chief operating officer of GRC (the UK distributor of the Canadian UAS), said that representatives from the Royal Artillery had assessed the quad-rotor UAS and were impressed with the capability it could bring to troops in the field, particularly in terms of scouting known bottlenecks ahead of ground convoys for possible improvised explosive devices (IEDs). (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

22 Sep 11. QinetiQ/Northrop Grumman devise unmanned Gazelle. QinetiQ has teamed with Northrop Grumman to offer the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) a near-term shipborne vertical take-off unmanned aircraft system (VTUAS) capability to meet a perceived maritime intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability gap. The unsolicited proposal advocates the conversion of the Gazelle AH.1 light helicopter into an unmanned platform by integrating the vehicle management system from the US Navy’s (USN’s) Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAS. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

03 Oct 11. A European record for Finmeccanica: SMAT F1 project sees three unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operating at the same time in a civil environment. The final demonstration of the SMAT F1 project (advanced land monitoring system, phase 1) was conducted successfully on Friday 30 September with aircraft flying over Levaldigi (CN), Benevagienna (CN) and Turin. The project simulated a joint land-monitoring mission for civil purposes, based on three unmanned systems operating at different altitudes; Alenia Aeronautica’s Sky-Y, SELEX Galileo’s Falco (Both Alenia Aeronautica and SELEX Galileo are Finmeccanica Group companies) and the small C-Fly UAS from Nimbus. This represents an important European record as it is the first time that several unmanned systems have operated:
*Jointly and at the same time in the same air space
*In a flight area that is not a military firing range
*Taking off from, and landing at, a civil airport
*In an area located over land and not over the sea.
Also contributing to the result were Italy’s civil aviation authority ENAC and air traffic control body ENAV, which helped define the safety requirements and procedures necessary to obtain – for the first time in Italy – flight permission in a civil area, operating from a civil airport. The SMAT F1 project, created under the promotional committee for the Piedmont aerospace cluster and co-financed by the Region of Piedmont through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), was developed by a working group coordinated by Alenia Aeronautica. The group formed a temporary special-purpose consortium comprising large companies (Alenia Aeronautica, SELEX Galileo and Altec), scientific research institutes (Polytechnic of Turin, University of Turin and the Mario Boella Institute) and 11 small and medium-sized enterprises from Piedmont (Auconel, Axis, Blue Engineering, Carcerano, DigiSky, Envisens, Nautilus, Nimbus, Sepa, Synarea and S

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