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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

21 Dec 12. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the concerns over the ability of the UK’s Watchkeeper UAV to operate in civil airspace are overdone. In fact, sources suggest that Watchkeeper will soon be the only UAV to be cleared to operate in civilian airspace. Thales. Is believed to be ’under the cosh’ not to broadcast any developments in the final CAA Accreditation for the system.

19 Dec 12. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released new video of its Legged Squad Support System (LS3) robot pack mule to mark the completion of the system’s latest round of field testing. In the latest test, the four-legged robot made significant strides over the last round of evaluations this fall, program managers said. The LS3 proved its enhanced “leader follow” decision making capability, demonstrated some precise foot placement over rough terrain, followed verbal commands and maneuvered in a relatively dense urban environment. The testing took place Dec. 3-14 at Fort Pickett, Va. (Source: Defense News)

19 Dec 12. French defense officials were in the United States recently for talks on a possible procurement of the Reaper medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, a defense official here said Dec. 19. The French officials were in “Washington D.C. last week” for discussions on the General Atomics’ Reaper under the Foreign Military Sales program, the official told journalists at a press conference for the French-led Neuron UCAV demonstrator program. France’s previous administration shelved the Reaper in favor of the Israeli Aerospace Industries’ Heron TP for an interim MALE UAV. But the arrival of the Socialist government in June led to a rejection of the Heron TP selection and a fresh look at the U.S.-built drone. (Source: Defense News)

20 Dec 12. Schiebel and Riegl Laser Measurement Systems GmbH announce the successful integration of the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) together with the Riegl VQ®-820-GU Hydrographic Airborne Sensor. This successful integration marked the first time that this new airborne sensor was flown on board of a UAV. The S-100 helicopter UAS carried a special Schiebel-made composite pod containing the sensor, the IMU-GNSS unit, the data recording and transfer unit as well as a digital camera, during the flight tests in Grossmittel, Austria, which were carried out this month. This fully integrated system thus enables acquisition of high-accuracy hydrographic and topographic data, even in critical operational areas. The Riegl VQ®-820-GU is specifically designed to survey sea beds, the grounds of rivers or lakes and is well suited for combined land and hydrographic airborne survey. Fields of application include mapping of coastal lines, lakesides and river banks as well as mapping of archaeology and cultural heritage.

18 Dec 12. HoodTech Vision has announced the release of its new Alticam Pod aluminum housing product for onboard imaging systems on small manned and unmanned aircraft. The pod is compatible with all HoodTech Alticam turrets and includes an advanced GPS/INS capability. The Alticam Pod was designed as a test vehicle for operation of HoodTech Vision (HTV) payloads in fixed-wing aircraft, and as a rugged vehicle for manned, fixed wing application of various HTV systems. The company said it is readily adaptable to other general aviation aircraft, aerostats, and unmanned aircraft. According to the company, the new flexible and compact pod features Alticam video processing (AVS) with object tracking, electronic de-jitter, and numerous video functions. The system also includes a moving map to improve operator situational awareness. For manned aircraft, the pod includes an Alitcam control console with an intuitive touch screen operator terminal. The Alticam Pod supports HTV stabilised imaging system payloads which include a range of accessories available to meet customer requirements. Options include the Alticam Vision Network (AVN) card which pro

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