09 Aug 13. The Senate Appropriations Committee believes the Navy should not move quickly to retire two prototype unmanned aircraft that recently made history by demonstrating their ability to land and take-off on aircraft carriers. In approving its fiscal 2014 defense appropriations bill, the committee said the Navy should instead evaluate other options for using the two X-47Bs to better prepare for the follow-on programme designed to provide the Navy with an operational air wing of carrier-based unmanned aircraft. The X-47Bs were developed under the Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) to assess the integration of the aircraft into carrier flight deck operations. The program completed a carrier launch in May followed by arresting gear landings in July. Senior Navy officials have said they will look at other possible testing in the near future but plan to retire the aircraft to museums. The Senate Appropriations Committee, however, said in the bill approved last week by a 22-8 vote that given the more-than billion dollars spent on UCAS-D, the Navy should look at alternatives. (Source: UAS VISION)
09 Aug 13. Surveillance UAS use and development is on the rise in the military and civilian sectors, and the Marine Corps in Hawaii said it is expected to get a dozen RQ-7B Shadows followed by 45 RQ-21A Integrators with the relocation of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 from California to Kaneohe Bay. About 270 people would be relocated with the unmanned surveillance aircraft. A draft environmental assessment is expected in October and a final decision in 2014. The Shadow has a 14-foot wingspan and 375-pound maximum takeoff weight, while the newer Integrator is 16 feet across and has a 135-pound maximum weight. Both are propeller-driven, and both can fly upward of 15,000 feet. (Source: UAS VISION/Kansas City Star)
08 Aug 13. Sikorsky has unveiled a new block of technologies the company claims could revolutionize automated vehicles. The Matrix suite of technology is a collection of software algorithms designed to introduce a higher level of autonomy in airborne vehicles. The company plans to formally introduce the technology at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference Aug. 12 in Washington, D.C. The goal of Matrix is to create the option of removing a human controller entirely from the equation, with the software taking in situational data and information, processing it and making decisions on how the aircraft should proceed. The program could be especially useful for missions in which human pilots would struggle, such as launching into a sandstorm or landing on an aircraft carrier being thrown around by waves. With the Matrix system guiding the aircraft, these pilot challenges would essentially be removed. But to make the use of Matrix realistic, Sikorsky officials acknowledge they need to prove serious leaps in reliability for the system. (Source: Defense News)
05 Aug 13. FAUN TRACKWAY USA, the leading manufacturer of portable roadways and runways, is showcasing its UAV Landing Mat at AUVSI exhibition in Washington, D.C. from 12-15 August. First launched in autumn 2011 as a temporary airfield for drones, the mat can also be used as a platform for remotely-operated helicopters, meaning that forces need only invest in one UAV landing system. UAV Landing Mat – the first product of its kind to be developed for the international market – is made of lightweight aluminium matting and provides a temporary smooth landing, regardless of terrain, for any size or weight of UAV. It can be rapidly deployed by hand to prevent foreign object damage (FOD) in challenging environments. Arrestor gear can also be fitted to allow aircraft to quickly decelerate on landing and stop them overshooting the runway. The Australian Armed Forces were the first to invest in the UAV Landing Mat, placing an order worth US$1.2m in December 2011 only a few months after its launch.
08 Aug 13. The Spanish