11 Jul 12. Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive, Inc. recently demonstrated the capabilities of an innovative laser power system to extend the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) flight time to more than 48 hours. This increase in flight duration represents an improvement of 2,400 percent. Stalker is a small, silent UAS used by Special Operations Forces since 2006 to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The Stalker UAS was modified for the indoor flight test to incorporate LaserMotive’s proprietary system that makes it possible to wirelessly transfer energy over long distances using laser light to provide a continual source of power to the UAS. At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel, the battery on the Stalker UAS had more energy stored than it did at the beginning of the test. The test was concluded only because the flight had already surpassed the initial endurance goals set by the team.
06 Jul 12. BAE Systems is planning to begin test flights of its long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (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. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
09 Jul 12. The Farnborough Air Show 2012 kicked off with the autonomous flight of a Portuguese unmanned aircraft, highlighting the increasing importance of UAS at the show. Tekever’s AR4 Light Ray flew a few laps over the main runway before the official start of the air demonstrations, a low-key display that still may have managed to bring a UAS a bit closer to full integration at Farnborough. The AR4 is a hand-launched, back-packable UAS that is nearing production, according to Marco Manso, general manager of the Lisbon-based company. The system is scheduled to fly every day at the show, with a video feed displayed in the company’s booth. The company is also working on a larger system, Manso said. (Source: AUVSI)
10 Jul 12. The Insitu Common Open-mission Management Command and Control (ICOMC2) system flew its Integrator Unmanned Aircraft System during a one-hour, 20-minute flight in eastern Oregon earlier this year. ICOMC2 is a core UAS control system that can be augmented with software plug-ins to incorporate evolving, mission-critical technology. A software developer’s kit allows third parties to create and integrate applications rapidly, like vehicle-specific modules, map overlays, geographic information systems and video processing systems. An advanced video overlay system (AVOS) places ISR imagery within the context of the larger battlefield. Customers can track hundreds of networked targets and maintain situational awareness and positive identification even as the targets move out of the view of one unmanned aircraft platform and into the view of another. Able to display live or prerecorded video from any STANAG 4586-compliant UAS, the system merges video with a wide range of data, like maps and elevation, automatic identification system, geo-location ellipses and address grids. Based on the combat-proven ScanEagle command and control system, ICOMC2 reflects the human factors enhancements gained from over 600,000 combat flight hours. The first flight using ICOMC2 incorporated a vehicle-specific module plug-in developed by Ins