06 Aug 12. Boeing and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) have demonstrated that an operator on the ground, using only a laptop and a military radio, can command an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “swarm.” Despite limited flight training, the operator was able to connect with autonomous UAVs, task them and obtain information without using a ground control station. The team conducted flight tests in Oregon for several days in June, using two ScanEagle UAVs manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu and swarm technology developed by JHU/APL. The technology allows UAVs to perform similarly to a swarm of insects, completing tasks more quickly and efficiently by communicating and acting together. Boeing and JHU/APL conducted two tests last year in which dissimilar unmanned platforms across air, land and sea domains collaborated to autonomously conduct searches and communicate information. The demonstrations are conducted under a collaborative agreement between Boeing and JHU/APL, a University Affiliated Research Center and a division of Johns Hopkins University that has been addressing critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology for nearly 70 years. It maintains a staff of about 5,000 on its Laurel, Md., campus.
08 Aug 12. Hood Technology displayed at AUVSI a Flexrotor, the remarkable long-range VTOL aircraft from Aerovel, equipped with a HoodTech stabilized imaging system. The Alticam system, mounted in a nose bay forward of the aircraft’s rotor/propeller, combines a lightweight stabilized turret and onboard image processor. The system compensates for airframe motion, delivers video of exceptional acuity, and tracks targets automatically so that “hands-off” surveillance can be routinely maintained for extended periods. Performance of these stabilized imaging systems has been well-proven in recent years, with many hundreds of thousands of flight-hours accumulated in operations at sea and over land. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Aug 12. AAI Textron Systems used AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America to highlight several upgrades to its Shadow UAS. ‘Our biggest upgrade, and this is not government funded, is our Shadow M2,’ offered Vance King, vice president for Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems at AAI. ‘Last week we took our maiden flight,’ King said. ‘So far we have about seven flights under our belts – about 8 ½ hours of flight time – and that’s growing every day. We’re going to be out through the end of the month. Right now we fly on a given day and then tear the aircraft apart on the next day to check for wear and tear. And it is exceeding our expectations. Shadow M2 has a payload capacity about four times the current Shadow,’ he added, noting that one company marketing concept involves introducing the M2 through a reset effort on the current Shadow. The extended wings are exactly the same and the electronics and avionics are exactly the same,’ he said. ‘So the premise is that you basically back up an RQ-7B; gut the aircraft; remove the main fuselage; put the new fuselage in; and put the old wings back on. One of the other enhancements is that it would have a new propulsion system,’ he continued. ‘That new fuselage and propulsion system basically doubles the duration. We’re shooting for about 20 hours, but of course that is dependent on what you do with your payload. To get the 20 hours you would continue with the current EO/IR sensor but you would not add a second SAR or anything and you wouldn’t put multi-mission pods under it. Instead you would use all that payload space for fuel.’
Although the M2 upgrade is not currently reflected in US Army budget plans, King noted that briefings now being assembled focus on ‘the relatively short payback period’ of the reset concept. (Source: Shephard)
09 Aug 12. In her keynote address to AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems North America, Lt Gen Mary Legere, Deputy Chief of Staff, G2, US Army, highlighted this week’s first fl