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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

13 Dec 12. Boeing demonstrated affordable unmanned aircraft technology that could be integrated onto Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) MD 500 helicopters to expand the fleet’s mission capabilities. A Boeing Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) demonstrator aircraft, a variant of the highly successful MD 500 helicopter, autonomously flew for approximately 25 minutes at the ROKA Aviation School in Nonsan. The demonstration showcased proven pilotless capabilities available for integration onto rotorcraft to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), resupply and other missions. Korean Air supported transportation of the ULB for today’s demonstration. Korea Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) assembled ROKA MD 500s from 1976 to 1987 under license from Boeing heritage companies Hughes Helicopters and McDonnell Douglas. KAL delivered approximately 500 MD 500s to Hughes Helicopters, opening the Korean aircraft export market.

13 Dec 12. Selex Galileo radar demonstrates new modes in flight tests onHermes® UAS. Recent flight tests saw SELEX Galileo’s Gabbiano T-20 Radar successfully demonstrate ground-mapping and target detection capabilities in a series of flight trials aboard Elbit Systems Hermes® 450 UAS. The trials were conducted to assess the T-20’s high resolution ground mapping (with both Strip and Spot SAR modes) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) capabilities. With both features proving successful, the Gabbiano was able to detect moving targets on the ground at up to 40 nautical miles and deliver high quality digital images of the terrain below.

06 Dec 12. A small company in Danvers, Massachusetts, known as CyPhy Works, is now marketing two small, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both domestic security and combat applications. These UAVs are unique in that they rely on a tiny cable to relay power, communications, and imagery, rather than on the data links that UAVs typically use to operate beyond line-of-sight (BLOS). CyPhy Works said the cable – a thin strand of two copper wires known as a microfilament – provides a means to avoid the risk of jamming inherent to wireless communications, a capacity to operate in GPS-denied environments, and a continuous supply of power for long-endurance operations. The two UAVs are known as the Extreme Access System for Entry (EASE) and the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) UAV. EASE is designed for BLOS operations, with a range of about 300 m, and the company said the microfilament did not restrict the movement of the vehicle. PARC is designed to hover above its launch site at altitudes of up to 1,000ft while operating BLOS, which is not normally part of its concept of operations. (Source: Jane’s)

06 Dec 12. Russian Air Force begins state acceptance trials of Iskatel system. The Russian Air Force (RuAF) is conducting state acceptance trials of the new Popov Omsk Radio Factory-built Iskatel lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. Popov source, Alexei Topekhin, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the trails are being conducted by the Russian airborne forces’ (VDV) 106th division. Weighing 1.3kg, Iskatel smaller version is expected to feature two T-4 UAVs, a backpack-carried base station, as well as a tablet computer for controlling and also downloading imagery from the drones. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

10 Dec 12. Thales UK has been picking up the cost of providing the British Army with a key intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability in Afghanistan for more than a year, as a result of the late delivery of its Watchkeeper unmanned air system (UAS). Since 2007, the British government has paid Thales hundreds of millions of dollars to supply an ISTAR-by-the-hour capability to forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq until the Watchkeeper entered service. Those payments stopped when the contractor agreed for a set period of time to meet the cost of providing the ISTAR ser

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