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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

04 May 12. Engine failures prompt US Army to seek enhanced powerplant for Shadow UAS. The US Army is to equip its AAI RQ-7B Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS) fleet with an upgraded propulsion system following a series of engine failures on aircraft operating over Afghanistan, a service spokesperson told IHS Jane’s on 4 May. The decision to incrementally roll out the new heavy-fuel High Reliable Propulsion System (HRPS) is born out of the findings of a joint army and AAI ‘Tiger Team’ investigation into the engine failures that was launched in late 2011. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

16 May 12. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. along with SELEX Galileo and Cobham Aviation Services, demonstrated a new open payload architecture during the Sovereign Payload Capability Demonstration (SPCD) held at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facilities in Palmdale, Calif. The event included a live flight demonstration over the Pacific Ocean of a GA-ASI Predator® B/MQ-9 Reaper UAS fitted with a SELEX Galileo Seaspray 7500E surveillance radar and showcased the radar’s ability to track targets on land, in the littoral and maritime environments, and from air-to-air. An international audience was in attendance, including officials from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Ministries of Defense of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands. The SPCD is part of a joint Independent Research and Development (IRAD) effort between GA-ASI and SELEX Galileo to prove the concept and architecture for a fully certified Predator B incorporating a separate mission management system that supports the independent and cost-effective upgrade of future sovereign payloads. GA-ASI performed the software and hardware modifications to the Predator B system to implement the open payload architecture, while SELEX Galileo delivered the radar and supported the integration work. Cobham provides support to UK airworthiness procedures and through-life support as GA-ASI’s teammate in the UK responsible for whole life support arrangements for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) MQ-9 Reaper UAS.

10 May 12. CASIC details WJ-600 UAV. Further details of the capabilities and configuration of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation’s (CASIC’s) WJ-600 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) emerged at the SOFEX defence show in Amman, Jordan. A CASIC spokesperson confirmed to IHS Jane’s that a number of aircraft have already been delivered to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force – although she declined to quantify them – and explained that the aircraft can be configured with two different engines, either a turbojet (WJ-600) or a turbofan (WJ-600A). (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

14 May 12. BAE Systems has begun testing technology to enable conventional aircraft to fly safely without pilots, including weather-avoidance and emergency landing systems. The defence and aerospace firm conducted its first live test at the start of May using a Jetstream 31 passenger aircraft fitted with autonomous flight software and new cloud-detection technology to help the craft avoid and respond to bad weather. The trials are the latest development under the ASTRAEA programme, a joint project between seven aerospace companies operating in the UK, designed to speed up development and certification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for use in civil airspace. (Source: Google)

14 May 12. Satellite specialist Newtec’s IP traffic enhancement and shaping technology Cross-Layer-Optimization™ has been implemented in the flagship EURO HAWK® Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) which detects and collects information. The Newtec technology is required in order to secure the downlink via satellite. EURO HAWK is a joint programme between Cassidian, an EADS company, and Northrop Grumman. It is a UAS which signals a new era for Germany’s Federal Armed Forces – the debut of the largest unmanned aerial system in German airspace. The EURO HAWK can stay ai

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