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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

06 Jul 12. Wescam sets sights on UAS market with new small EO/IR turret. L-3 Wescam on 6 July unveiled the smallest in its MX series of electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imaging and designating turrets, the MX-10D, designed as a medium- to low-altitude tactical surveillance and target designating system for rotary- and fixed-wing platforms such as small unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Wescam’s primary product line is the MX Series, which consists of three turret families: the MX-20, the MX-15 and, now the MX-10. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

12 Jul 12. Evolved Shadow set for first flight. AAI’s Shadow M2 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is set to undertake its maiden flight next week, IHS Jane’s has learned. The evolved variant of the RQ-7B Shadow – considered by many to be the workhorse of the US military’s UAS inventory – has a new powerplant and an additional payload bay, among other features. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

11 Jul 12. Lockheed Martin has flown a small unmanned aircraft for 48 hr. using laser power beaming as the company works to grow its presence in the UAV market. The test took place in a wind tunnel and involved Lockheed’s hand-launched, battery-powered Stalker UAV and LaserMotive’s power beaming system. Stalker has an endurance of 2 hr. on battery power alone. In 2011, Lockheed flew an “extreme endurance” version able to stay aloft for more than 8 hr. on combined propane fuel-cell and lithium-polymer battery power. The indoor power-beaming flight test was concluded after 48 hr. “only because the flight had already surpassed the initial endurance goals set by the team,” the company says. The next step is an outdoor demonstration. Lockheed also is working on alternative power for UAVs under the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Small Unmanned Renewable Energy Long-Endurance Vehicle (Surge-V) program. The hand-launched, 20-lb. UAV will carry a 4-lb. payload and fly at up to 25,000 ft. in all weather for more than 4 hr., compared to 1.5 hr. under conventional battery power. (Source: Aviation Week)

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