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14 Mar 12. The Boeing-built High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) Phantom Eye has completed its first medium-speed taxi test at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US. During the taxi test, the air vehicle travelled atop its launching cart system and reached 4,000ft at speeds of up to 30k while ground teams relayed directions and information using Boeing’s advanced Common Open-mission Management Command and Control (COMC2) software. The tests were conducted in close cooperation with NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. Boeing Phantom Eye programme manager Drew Mallow said the test brings the company one step closer to the first flight of the UAV. The aircraft’s first flight, expected to last eight hours, was originally scheduled to take place in early 2011. Additional taxi tests are yet to commence, including a high-speed test at 40k that will mark the end of testing before the UAV’s first flight, which is yet to be scheduled. Developed by Boeing Phantom Words, Phantom Eye has been designed to support persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, suppression of enemy air defences, electronic attack, strike and autonomous aerial refuelling missions. The Phantom Eye is powered by two highly-efficient, 2.3lt, four-cylinder Ford Ranger truck engines that run on hydrogen and emit only water, which the company claims will make the aircraft economical to operate. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)

12 Mar 12. Schiebel announced the first flight of a heavy-fuel powered CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS (Unmanned Air System). The flexibility this engine provides will further add to the wide capabilities of the unmanned helicopter. After extensive development, the S-100 successfully made its maiden flight with the new heavy fuel engine at Schiebel’s range near the production facility in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The Schiebel-designed engine fulfilled all expectations and series deliveries are scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2012. Typical for the innovative and advanced design of Schiebel products, the heavy fuel engine provides customers with the ability to use JP-5 (F-44), Jet A-1 (F-35) and JP-8 (F34). This is a flexibility that is not available in other tactical VTOL UAS. Schiebel has continuously raised the bar for manufacturers serving the UAS industry. We listen to our customers, and then we build the features they ask for, says Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. The new fuel options will be a big advantage to all our customers worldwide across all markets, offering them even more flexibility. The basic power plant of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 is a Wankel-type (rotary piston) engine, which runs on 100 octane-grade avgas (aviation gasoline) and is rated at 50 HP. Recent engineering developments have led to the gasoline version of the engine being certified to operate on 95 octane lead-free petrol without loss of power. The new heavy fuel engine is fully interchangeable with the current engine and upgrade is possible by just replacing the core engine with some accessories of similar specifications and flight performance. In offering lower logistic effort and supporting the single-fuel concept that requires using only one fuel while deployed, this new engine is ideal for maritime applications. (Source: Yahoo!/PRNewswire)

02 Mar 12. Cassidian to resume sense-and-avoid trials for UAVs. EADS subsidiary company Cassidian is to resume flight trials of its sense-and-avoid technology for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in 2012. Head of Flight Guidance Joost Van Tooren said trials of the system would resume aboard the EADS Barracuda medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV in the summer. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

12 Mar 12. Guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) has embarked the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), MQ-8B Fire Scout for solo missions, a U.S. Navy first during a full deployment, March 7. The Fire Scout is the Navy’s only unmanned aircraft to operate on land and

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