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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

23 Sep 13. The X-47B (AV-2) conducted the 100th flight for the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) programme at Patuxent River on Sept. 18. The Navy UCAS programme successfully completed all objectives for the carrier demonstration phase with the X-47B in July. During three at-sea periods over eight months, the X-47B conducted a total of 16 precision approaches to the carrier flight deck, including five planned tests of X-47B wave-off functions, nine touch-and-go landings, two arrested landings and three catapult launches. The programme is currently planning for continued carrier integration demonstrations and has also begun surrogate Learjet testing of the autonomous aerial refuelling (AAR) capability, which promises to significantly increase the endurance and range of carrier-based unmanned aircraft. (Source: UAS VISION)

19 Sep 13. U.S. Navy unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) experts will brief industry next month on a project to develop a large unmanned submarine able to operate in the open ocean and in coastal waters and harbors on missions lasting more than 70 days to gather intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information. Officials of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport, in support of the Naval Sea Systems Command, will conduct industry briefings on the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) program from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on 16 Oct. 2013 at Alion Science and Technology Inc. in Washington. The LDUUV is to be a pier-launched and recovered large unmanned submersible able to operate in the open ocean and conduct over-the-horizon sensor missions in coastal waters and harbors. Briefings will be at Alion Science and Technology Inc., Suite 200, 1100 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington DC 20003. Since 2011 scientists at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., have been pursuing two primary technology areas — machine autonomy and endurance — as part of the LDUUV Innovative Naval Prototype Technology (LDUUV INP) to develop UUV autonomy and long-endurance propulsion systems for large UUVs. (Source: Open Source Information Report)

23 Sep 13. The US Air Force has issued a pre-solicitation notice to purchase three additional Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 UAS, despite the potential retirement of the existing fleet. The Air Force released a pre-solicitation notice on 12 September, notifying the public of its intent to buy Lot 12 aircraft. The Block 30, initially purchased to augment and eventually replace the Lockheed Martin U-2 as a high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, has come under fire for reliability and sensor problems. A low rate of mission readiness coupled with the high cost of operation has led the USAF to repeatedly attempt to cancel the programme, saying that the U-2 and a classified platform could fulfil Global Hawk’s mission. The sensors Global Hawk carries, the Enhanced Imagery Sensor Suite (EISS) and Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP), received mixed reviews. (Source: UAS VISION)

22 Sep 13. Japan eyes new air traffic control rule for introduction of drones. The government plans to devise a new air traffic control rule to prepare for the Self-Defense Forces’ introduction of unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, government officials said Sunday. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will start studying similar rules in other countries next month to work out a new rule in fiscal 2014 from April, the officials said. (Source: Open Source Information Report/GlobalPost)

25 Sep 13. Cranfield Aerospace and Raytheon UK are testing a new lightweight unmanned air system, which is now being promoted to potential buyers. Aimed at the military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance market, but also potentially suitable for a range of civilian applications, Cassius features a high level of autonomy, says Cranfield business adviser Keith Marshall. Flight-t

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