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06 Apr 06. USAF seeks to address legal issues of using armed UAVs. Arming the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1/RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles can be compared to the mounting of guns on biplanes early in the last century, said the US Air Force (USAF) in a document published on 24 March 2006. The US Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Strategic Vision argued that the armed version of Predator “continues to be one of the military’s most requested systems, assisting in the execution of the global war on terror by finding, fixing, tracking, targeting, engaging and assessing suspected terrorist locations”. (Source: Jane’s Missiles and Rockets)

Apr 06. Hafmynd Demonstrates Port Security use of the Gavia AUV in Reykjavik Harbour. In April 2006, Hafmynd demonstrated the Gavia AUV in a port security application for the Icelandic Coast Guard, special police, and harbor authorities. As a part of this demonstration dummy mines were placed within the tight confines of Reykjavik harbor and a Gavia AUV equipped with a Teledyne RD Instruments DVL coupled with the Kearfott Guidance and NavigationĀ“s T – 24 high precision IMU for navigation and a Marine Sonic’s 900/1800 kHz side scan sonar was tasked to find the targets. The Gavia was able to perform the survey effectively due to the highly accurate navigation of the DVL INS combination and the collision avoidance sonar which guided the Gavia through the tricky harbor environment.

Apr 06. Seaeye launches 1000 metre rated “Falcon DR” ROV. For deep water work, inshore, offshore and down tunnels, where a small, portable, yet powerful ROV is needed, Seaeye has launched its 1000 metre rated Falcon DR. This new addition to the Falcon range comes with built in fibre optics, giving high volume data transmission over a long umbilical, and the ability to use broadcast quality video cameras. Tilting variable intensity lights are linked to a new camera tilt
mechanism for superior illumination when filming above or below the vehicle. The introduction of the new Falcon DR follows the world-wide success of the innovative Falcon concept. This design has proved itself in a range of operational conditions where it is essential to use an extremely compact and highly manoeuvrable vehicle that can be fitted with a variety of tooling options. The new deep-rated Falcon DR incorporates a number of rolling developments in the Falcon range. These include improved tolerances to the gearboxes of the five independent thrusters for smoother running and a longer life. These powerful brushless thrusters, each with velocity feedback, are designed to give precise and rapid control for finger-tip manoeuvrability. Also newly introduced is a lightweight surface control unit that is almost half the size of the earlier units and is much lighter. It comes with a fold out 17 inch flat screen and keyboard. The unit operates through a universal single phase, self-selecting AC input of 100 to 270 volts at 2.8 kW. And for hostile conditions an optional IP68 waterproof surface control unit is also available.

17 Apr 06. DARPA will be sending 50 Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) to the 25th Infantry Division for experimentation this October, followed by a possible deployment of the system to Iraq. The MAV, by Honeywell, is the model developed for the FCS Class I UAV.

25 Apr 06 Text of unattributed report entitled “‘Barracuda’ in flight” published by German news magazine Der Spiegel website on 24 April The precursor model of an unmanned combat jet developed by the defence company EADS [European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company] in Germany recently made its first flight. The previously strictly secret aircraft (“Barracuda”) is currently being tested in Spain and, after a presentation for top people of the German and Spanish defence ministries, may be shown to the public for the first time in mid-May at the International Aerospace Exhibition in Berlin.

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