08 Aug 12. K-MAX set to leverage new autonomous technologies in Afghanistan. Lockheed Martin-Kaman’s K-MAX unmanned helicopter has had its deployment in Afghanistan extended for a second time and has been cleared to operate in theatre with a beacon navigation system for more pinpoint cargo delivery. The scheme employs a small beacon with optical diodes that can be placed in a drop zone and then detected by a sensor on the aircraft that can correct its course to deliver cargo wherever the beacon is located. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
08 Aug 12. Boeing explores maritime Little Bird. Boeing is seeking to expand the market for its Unmanned Little Bird H-6U, announcing during a briefing at AUVSI 2012 in Las Vegas that it had developed a version of the helicopter capable of taking off and landing on a ship. The H-6U recently demonstrated its shipboard capability by successfully performing 14 autonomous take-offs and landings from a company-leased ship off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in July 2012. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
15 Aug 12. European defense group EADS Cassidian is considering a further bout of test flights for its Barracuda unmanned aerial system following completion of the latest group of sorties from Goose Bay military airfield in eastern Canada. The stealthy, turbofan-powered vehicle has the role of gathering technical experience for operationally mature next-generation UAVs and minimizing risk in developing them. Europe has lagged behind the United States and Israel in producing high-technology UAVs, and Barracuda is regarded as an important steppingstone in closing this gap. The UAV undertook five flights of up to 50 minutes each in June and July in the third batch of flights to be held at Goose Bay in recent years. (Source: Defense News)
16 Aug 12. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) applauded the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for adopting guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The guidelines provide law enforcement agencies an outline of how to use UAS safely and responsibly, and with respect to individuals’ privacy. The adoption of the IACP guidelines follows the recent adoption of AUVSI’s “Code of Conduct” for those who design, test and operate UAS. The IACP guidelines, which can be found here, cover community engagement, system requirements, operational procedures and image retention. They direct law enforcement agencies to engage with the community, specifically their governing body and civil liberties advocates, about how UAS will be used and protections put in place to uphold citizens’ rights. The guidelines also encourage notifying those living and working in the vicinity of aircraft operations, when possible. The guidelines call for a transparent implementation process for agencies desiring UAS, including a period of public comment. The guidelines include specific steps law enforcement should take to respect the privacy of individuals:
• Where there are specific and articulable grounds to believe that the (unmanned aircraft) will collect evidence of criminal wrongdoing and if the (unmanned aircraft) will intrude upon reasonable expectations of privacy, the agency will secure a search warrant prior to conducting the flight.
• Unless required as evidence of a crime, as part of an on-going investigation, for training, or required by law, images captured by a UAS should not be retained by the agency.
• Unless exempt by law, retained images should be open for public inspection.