22 May 12. The Obama administration is trying to convince the U.S. Congress to approve the sale of spy drones to Turkey for its campaign against Kurdish rebels, the Turkish president was quoted as saying May 22.
“Actually the administration has a positive stance (over the sale),” President Abdullah Gul was quoted as telling the Anatolia news agency in Chicago where he was attending a NATO summit. “They (the administration) are trying to convince the Congress,” he added.
The United States has deployed Predator drones to Turkey from neighboring Iraq for surveillance flights in support of Ankara’s fight against Kurdish rebels, the Pentagon announced in November.
After U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in December, the four American unmanned aircraft were shifted from an air field in northern Iraq to the Incirlik air base in Turkey. But Turkey wants to buy armed drones whose sale depends on an approval from Congress amid concerns that pro-Israeli lobbies may hinder such a sale due to Ankara’s tense relations with the Jewish state. (Source: Defense News)
16 May 12. TAI expands Anka test envelope. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has started the final stages of testing the automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) system developed for the Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The system’s test envelope is being expanded to its ultimate requirement of operating in 15 kt crosswinds, Remzi Barlas, TAI’s engineering manager for UAV systems, told IHS Jane’s. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
22 May 12. AeroVironment introduced the Wasp™ small unmanned aircraft system and announced that it has been accepted by the U.S. Air Force for inclusion in its Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle (BATMAV) program. Inclusion into the BATMAV program enabled the Air Force to place an order for Wasp AE systems valued at $2,447,949. The Air Force conducted rigorous engineering and user assessments of Wasp AE over a one-year period to ensure compliance with the requirements of the BATMAV program. The successful completion of these assessments and the resulting acceptance supports Wasp AE procurement by other U.S. Department of Defense customers. The Wasp AE represents the continuing evolution of the Wasp small UAS, which was previously adopted by the Air Force and Marine Corps for small unit tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Designed with AeroVironment’s digital data link, Wasp AE is interoperable with the company’s digital Puma™, Raven®, Shrike VTOL™ and portable ground control station, and is capable of encrypted communication, beyond line-of-sight operation and voice, video, text and data relay. Wasp AE also incorporates the smallest of AeroVironment’s Mantis™ suite of miniature gimbaled payloads, the 275 gram Mantis i22 AE, giving operators both color and infrared video imagery from a single sensor package. Weighing 2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms), the Wasp AE air vehicle is designed for ground and water landing, making it suitable for both land and maritime missions, and is capable of 20 percent greater flight duration than the prior Wasp.
22 May 12. The United States has agreed to sell unarmed surveillance drones to Iraq’s navy as part of an effort to help protect that nation’s oil exports amid growing tensions in the Persian Gulf and to strengthen U.S.-Iraqi ties.
“They understand the importance of the mission to protect its oil platforms,” said Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, who heads the U.S. Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq.
The office, which operates out of the U.S. Embassy and manages U.S. military sales programs in Iraq, confirmed the sale of drones but declined to say the model or number of drones that are part of the contract. The drones will allow Iraq’s military to keep a continuous watch over its oil terminals within Iraqi territorial waters of the Persian Gulf, where a significant portion of the world’s oil originates and which Iran has occasionally threatened to blockade. (Source: Defense News)
24 May 12. The