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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

07 May 13. Lockheed Martin is leveraging its proven capabilities and technology with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) to enable the oil and gas industry to perform subsea inspections faster, safer and more effectively with its Marlin® AUV System. Following Marlin’s successful inspection of 14 offshore sites and surrounding seabed last summer in the Gulf of Mexico for a major operating company, Lockheed Martin is making the Marlin system available for sale or lease to oil and gas service providers for underwater inspections. Marlin is a 10-foot long AUV equipped with advanced autonomy and high resolution optical and acoustic sensors that generates 3-D geo-referenced models of underwater platforms and surrounding seabed, creating an accurate view of the area.

09 May 13. Europe Considers ‘Black’ Armed MALE UAV Project. Frustrated by apparent U.S. ambivalence in granting authority to integrate weapons onto its Reaper aircraft, the Italian air force is looking at possible alternatives, including a yet-to-be-announced “black program” to create a European medium-altitude/long-endurance (MALE) armed UAV. Rome requested permission to weaponize Reaper nearly two years ago, and a lack of response from Washington is “a case that is not very acceptable,” Gen. Claudio Debertolis, secretary general of defense and national armaments director for Italy, tells Aviation Week during a May 8 interview. (Source: glstrade.com/AvWeek)

10 May 13. Turkish Army set to receive first upgraded Karayel TUAV. Vestel Defence is set to hand over the first upgraded Karayel tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (TUAV) under contract to the Turkish Land Forces Command in the middle of this year, a company spokesman has announced. Speaking at the ongoing 2013 International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) exhibition in Istanbul, the spokesman was quoted by Shephard as saying that the delivery followed successful implementation of a series of improvements requested by the army after initial flight demonstrations of UAV’s baseline version. Remaining units will be delivered by the year end, according to the spokesman, who also stated that the company would increase production to one UAV per month, if the army determines requirements for additional platforms. As well as requesting a slightly bigger and more capable aircraft, the army also placed orders for six of the upgraded UAVs, also called Version II, following the flight demonstrations in 2009. Featuring a 10.5m wing span, the 6.5m Karayel Version II TUAV possesses a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 550kg, which doubles its payload and endurance to 70kg and 20 hours respectively. Powered by a 95hp engine, the fully autonomous UAV will be capable of reaching an altitude of 22,500ft, and can be used with a launcher and recovery system in unprepared areas. Despite the drone attracting interest from global customers, the company will not sign any contracts, until the testing programme is complete and all Turkish systems are delivered, according to the spokesman. (Source: army-technology.com)

10 May 13. Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory flew their fuel cell powered Ion Tiger unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for 48 hours and 1 minute, April 16 to 18, by using liquid hydrogen (LH2) fuel in a new, NRL-developed, cryogenic fuel storage tank and delivery system. This flight shatters their previous record of 26 hours and 2 minutes set in 2009 using the same vehicle, but with gaseous hydrogen stored at 5,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Liquid hydrogen is three times denser than compressed hydrogen. The cryogenic liquid is stored in a lightweight tank, allowing more hydrogen to be carried onboard to increase flight endurance. Success in flight requires developing a high quality, lightweight insulated flight Dewar for the cryogenic fuel, plus
matching the boil off of the cryogenic hydrogen to the vehicle fuel consumption. (Source: Yahoo!/BUSINESS WIRE)

09 May 13. US Marines Consider Future of Unmanned

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