20 Jan 12. Alenia Aermacchi: nEUROn, the European UCAV technological demonstrator. The nEUROn programme, originated by the French MoD and supported by Italy, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Switzerland represents a very important effort in maturing new technologies and setting the base for future military programmes (manned and unmanned). This initiative envisages the manufacturing of the first full-scale technological demonstrator of a Combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flying in Europe by 2012. The demonstration is an important step in technologies maturation process, providing confidence in technologies, by decreasing the level of risk, towards a system development for operational uses. The nEUROn is dedicated to the demonstration of key combat technologies, with fallout both on manned and unmanned future complex systems. It comprises the design, development, manufacturing and flight testing of a pilotless combat aircraft, capable of autonomous flight and weapon delivery in low observable condition. Although not a prototype, nEUROn is well representative of future combat UAV. The demonstration goals are:
• Performing an Air to Ground mission, inserted in a Network Centric Warfare;
• Designing a stealth platform (low Radar cross section and Infrared);
• Weapon delivery from an internal bay with stringent time constraint;
• To perform an autonomous target detection and recognition demo.
From the industrial point of view nEUROn is led by the French Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica Company, is the first industrial partner, with 22% share of the programme with responsibilities at system and sub-system level. Alenia Aermacchi leads an Italian companies’ pool, including SELEX Galileo (a Finmeccanica company). Alenia Aermacchi’s contribution will concern design and production of the generation and electrical distribution system, of the air data system (sensors for flight parameters and algorithm), low observable components and, above all, of the integrated weapon system with full autonomous management of the subsystems, the so-called Smart Integrated Weapon Bay (SIWB). Such system will allow the detection, the recognition and illumination of the target and the sending of the approval request to the ground station commander and finally the launching of any kind of weapon, all of this with stealth material and modalities. Alenia Aermacchi concluded successfully Low Observability tests on proof of principle to verify stealth technologies specifically developed for the nEUROn demonstrator and have started with manufacturing activities. nEUROn’s demo capabilities will be demonstrated in flight with tests that will be carried out in Italy, as well as in France and in Sweden. The nEUROn programme, launched in 2006, has just concluded the development phase. The current year will mainly be dedicated to parts’ production and integration, and after that the ground tests will start. The flight tests will begin in 2012 and will go on until 2013.
16 Jan 12. Israel’s defence ministry has blocked a contract to sell Aeronautics Defense Systems Dominator XP unmanned air systems to Abu Dhabi, after reviewing the contents of the deal. Aeronautics declined to comment on the ministry’s decision, while the defence ministry said it would not comment on the matter of defence exports. However, sources in Abu Dhabi claimed a downpayment linked to a sale of equipment including the Dominator had already been made, and that deliveries had been due to start soon. (Source: UNMANNED)
17 Jan 12. France is planning to offer the Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as an asset contribution instead of cash for the Nato Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme, aimed at providing commanders with persistent ground area surveillance capability. The French Defence Ministry is currently negotiating the contract with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Dassault Aviation for the purchase of the air vehicle. Dassault will submit a technica