10 Oct 11. The U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman Corporation X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration aircraft reached a major milestone Sept. 30 when it retracted its landing gear and flew in its cruise configuration for the first time. The flight, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, also helped validate precision navigation hardware and software that will allow the X-47B to land with precision on the moving deck of an aircraft carrier.”Last week’s flight gave us our first clean look at the aerodynamic cruise performance of the X-47B air system…and it is proving out all of our predictions,” said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector. “Reaching this critical test point demonstrates the growing maturity of the air system, and its readiness to move to the next phase of flight testing.” The recent flight was part of an on-going “envelope expansion” program for the first of two X-47B aircraft produced by Northrop Grumman for the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. Envelope expansion flights are used to demonstrate aircraft performance under a variety of altitude, speed and fuel load conditions. The UCAS-D program plans to begin transitioning aircraft to Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. in late 2011 to begin shore-based carrier suitability testing in 2012. The focal point of the program is to demonstrate in 2013 the first aircraft carrier launches and recoveries by a tailless, low-observable-relevant unmanned system.
11 Oct 11. Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company announced that its OH 58 Kiowa Warrior has successfully demonstrated several ground breaking capabilities that will enable interoperability among multiple aviation platforms, such as manned and unmanned vehicles. The exercise was conducted at the Manned Unmanned System Integration Capability (MUSIC) demonstration, sponsored by the U.S. Army at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah on September 15 & 16, 2011.
The MUSIC exercise tested the moving of UAS and helicopter sensor video and proved component interoperability between manned and unmanned systems. The OH-58 Kiowa Warrior demonstrated its capability to receive sensor video from a variety of the Army’s large Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), such as SHADOW, HUNTER, and GRAY EAGLE, legacy Raven and Puma.
During the MUSIC exercise, the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior demonstrated its range of capabilities by:
* Receiving UAS sensor payload video and telemetry;
* Receiving and re-transmitting UAS sensor payload video and telemetry to a UAS ground control station;
* Transmitting Kiowa Warrior sensor payload video and telemetry to a UAS ground control station for target verification; and
* Engaging a target with a live weapons firing.
“This exercise marked the first time both manned and unmanned aircraft systems operated under a single commander,” explained Mike Miller, Director of Army business development for Bell Helicopter. He continued, “ The Kiowa Warrior proved its flexibility and adaptability by working with several major Army UAS platforms. We expect the Kiowa Warrior will be fielding Level II manned/unmanned capability in 2011”
The MUSIC exercise also tested the Army’s universal ground control station (UGCS), designed by fellow Textron business AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which provides the ability to command numerous types of unmanned aircraft systems from a single ground control station. During the demonstration, soldiers utilized the AAI-developed One System® Remote Video Terminal (RVT) enhanced with bi-directional capabilities to control sensors on the miniature UAS.
13 Oct 11. In an attempt to bolster its leadership role in the Arab world, Turkey has recently done almost everything it could to alienate Israel, to the extent that neither currently has an ambassador in the other’s country. Turkey also decided to cut off all government-based business deals with Israel – ending a formerly substa