06 Jul 12. BAE Systems is planning to begin test flights of its long-endurance UAV, dubbed The Mantis, in UK airspace in early 2013. The drone is expected to undergo a total of 20 test flights covering 750 miles, with each lasting for around three hours, at an altitude of up to 15,000ft above the Irish Sea, as reported by The Daily Mail. According to BAE, the UAV is currently being evaluated, prior to the start of
self-funded taxi tests by the company next year. The tests, if successful, are expected to mark an end for the use of fighter pilots in the UK, and will also bring down the curtain on conventional aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. According to BAE, the robotic drone is ideal for ”dull, dirty or dangerous” missions, involving Al-Qaeda targets, for example. The drone can also be deployed to pilot commercial aircraft in the future. Developed as part of a £40m joint project between the UK
MoD and the French government, the Mantis is a twin-engine turboprop-powered UAV designed primarily to conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions. Flying at a maximum altitude of 55,000ft, the UAV offers close-air support for ground missions, even during adverse weather conditions. The first prototype of Mantis has already completed its successful maiden test flight on 21 October 2009, at Woomera Test Range in South Australia, and is expected to enter operational service in 2016. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
09 Jul 12. SELEX Galileo announced a further export customer for its Falco Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS). This new sale brings the total number of nations who have purchased the Falco to four, while the worldwide operating fleet exceeds fifty air vehicles. In another UAS development, SELEX Galileo has released photos of the company’s new Falco EVO undergoing a runway rollout – the final step before the official “maiden flight”, which is expected to be held during the Farnborough Air Show, and will be followed by a comprehensive flight test campaign.
02 Jul 12. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) published the “Unmanned Aircraft System Operations Industry Code of Conduct” www.auvsi.org/conduct, a set of guidelines to provide AUVSI members – and those who design, test and operate UAS for public and civil use – with recommendations for their safe, non-intrusive operation. Central to the “Code of Conduct” is the need for “safety, professionalism and respect” in all uses of UAS. This code is meant to provide UAS industry manufacturers and users a convenient checklist for operations and a means to demonstrate their obligation to supporting the growth of the industry in a safe and responsible manner. “The emergence of unmanned aircraft systems represents one of the most significant advancements to aviation, the scientific community, and public service since the beginning of flight,” said Michael Toscano, AUVSI president & CEO. “With a commitment to safety, professionalism and respect, we can ensure unmanned aircraft are integrated responsibly into civil airspace.” The guidelines recommend when and by whom UAS should be flown, to minimize risk. They commit to complying with all federal, state and local laws and cooperating with authorities at all levels. The guidelines also commit to respecting other users of the airspace, the privacy of individuals, the concerns of the public and improving public awareness of UAS.“ By proactively adhering to these guidelines, we want to demonstrate how the rights of individuals and the safety of all users of civil airspace are our top priority, as we work to unlock the incredible potential this technology holds,” Toscano said. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act signed into law on February 14, 2012, included a provision requiring the FAA to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace. The law created a number of deadlines for the FA