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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

29 Jan 13. TAI completes acceptance trials of Anka MALE UAV. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has successfully completed the acceptance testing programme of the Anka MALE UAV, validating its mission readiness. During a test flight that exceeded 18 hours, the UAV demonstrated its full endurance and 200km data link range performances in windy conditions of up to 45k. The UAV successfully made an automatic landing to end the comprehensive trial programme that featured 130 different ground and flight tests. Air traffic control (ATC) coordination was achieved by the UAV through an onboard radio, and subsequently relayed to a ground control station (GCS) using a data link, confirming its ability to safely function in an ATC managed airspace. The UAV also carried out night take-off and landings using its automatic take-off and landing system (ATOLS) during the final test flight at an undisclosed location. With its initial test flight performed in December 2010, the UAV has to date logged more than 140 flight hours, verifying its flight control, data link, propulsion, fuel, landing gear, environmental control, ice protection and electrical systems and mission systems, such as electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) payload, ATC radio and data recorder at an altitude of 26,000ft. Autopilot, navigation, automatic loiter pattern and ATOLS capabilities of the drone were also validated throughout the testing, which was conducted in adverse weather conditions. Powered by a single Thielert Centurion 2.0 turbocharged engine, the Anka UAV is designed to conduct real-time image intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance
(ISR), target detection, recognition, identification and tracking missions on the battlefield. A contract for initial production of ten Anka systems for the Turkish Air Force is currently being negotiated between the company and Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM). (Source: airforce-technology.com)

28 Jan 13. US NRL to receive Knifefish UUV variant from Bluefin. Bluefin Robotics will develop and deliver a new variant of the Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The new vehicle will be based on a specialised version of the Bluefin-21 UUV, which is currently under development as a part of a subcontract awarded by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.
Developed in support of the US Navy’s surface mine countermeasure unmanned underwater vehicle (SMCM UUV) programme, the Bluefin-21 completed preliminary design review earlier this year. Bluefin Robotics president and CEO David Kelly said that the company would incorporate many of the Knifefish UUV features into the new NRL system. Featuring two-way Iridium satellite communications, the new NRL UUV will also be equipped with specialised sensors and empty sections to carry acoustic payloads such as a towed receiver array, and a reacquisition capability. In addition to providing topside support equipment, the company will deliver graphical-user interface software tools for the NRL. The US NRL will use the new Knifefish variant to advance low-frequency broadband (LFBB) payload technology, as well as support broader mission to advance undersea warfare basic and applied research. (Source: naval-technology.com)

31 Jan 13. Northrop Grumman Corporation received the first protective cage for its next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter that will store and shield the aircraft’s critical electronic components from strong electric fields and electromagnetic waves. Without the cage, electrical components inside the helicopter would be susceptible to lightning damage and other possible electromagnetic interference (EMI) on board. Summit Aviation, a Greenwich AeroGroup company, was selected last year to manufacture the protective enclosure known as a Faraday cage. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the U.S. Navy’s Fire Scout program. A total of 28 new MQ-8C Endurance Upgrade Fire Scouts will be

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