16 Mar 06. UQM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. announced that two additional hybrid electric “Crusher” unmanned ground combat vehicles powered by UQM® high torque propulsion systems and generators have begun field testing and evaluation by the U.S. Army. The 6.5 ton “Crusher” vehicles – as this new generation of the older “Spinner” vehicle is dubbed – is being developed and built by a team led by the National Robotics Engineering Center, a unit of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. The two additional Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles (UGCV’s) are greatly upgraded versions of the original 8.5 ton “Spinner” which began field demonstrations over three years ago and was powered by an earlier generation of UQM® propulsion motors and a micro-turbine generator. The UGCV platform is an Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD) that complements the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) networked system environment of manned and unmanned ground and airborne weapon systems with superior levels of mobility and reduced logistic needs. The two additional “Crushers” are each powered by six specially developed high torque wheel mounted UQM® propulsion motors that operate utilizing energy produced by a UQM® generator driven by a small diesel engine. The propulsion systems have been upgraded to incorporate a number of the Company’s recent proprietary technology developments including full wave commutation control. These upgrades have increased the torque, power, efficiency and speed of the propulsion systems and have reduced their audible noise signature. In addition, the propulsion systems have the capability to operate at full rated power and torque in both forward and reverse directions and can dynamically switch from full-power forward to full-power reverse as required. The vehicles recently completed very rigorous and demanding demonstration, performance and initial durability testing at Fort Hood, Texas and are slated to undergo additional testing in 2006 in Central Pennsylvania, Colorado (Ft. Carson) and Kentucky (Ft. Knox).
Mar 06. QinetiQ has completed the first flight trials of Zephyr – a High-Altitude, Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV) that has a 12 metre wingspan but weighs just 27 kilograms. The trials took place at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA. Two aircraft were flown for four and a half and six hours respectively, the maximum flight times permitted under range restrictions. The maximum altitude attained was 27,000 feet above sea level. Designed by QinetiQ, the ultra-light aircraft is solar-electric powered, autonomous and is designed to fly at altitudes in excess of 50,000 feet, above normal commercial air-lanes and most weather. The combination of solar panels on the upper wing surface and rechargeable batteries allows Zephyr to be flown for durations of many weeks and even months.
Mar 06. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $29,286,714 modification to a previously awarded cost -share, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-00-C-0277) for the continued development and testing of the RQ-8 Fire Scout vertical takeoff unmanned air vehicle. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (85 percent) and Elmira, N.Y. (15 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
22 Mar 06. EADS to supply data-link for German Army reconnaissance drone ‘KZO’. After the official handing over of the first series-system of the Rheinmetall reconnaissance drone ‘KZO’ (“Kleinfluggerät Zielortung”) to the German Army, EADS Defence Electronics has now started the series production of the ‘KZO’ data-link system. The data-link system guarantees a world-wide unrivalled jamming resistance in the data-transfer between the drone and the ground station. The data link system consists of an Air Data Terminal (ADT) i