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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

24 Oct 13. Turkey plans to equip Anka UAV with satcom capability. Turkey is planning to add satellite communication (SATCOM) capability to the domestically manufactured Anka unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) head Murad Bayar has revealed. Bayar was quoted by Defense News as saying that the UAV’s final design will evolve following consultations with the Turkish Air Force on the required modification or additions. Meanwhile, an unnamed procurement source familiar with the programme told the news agency that the SATCOM capability is considered to be an ideal solution for the UAV operations. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)

23 Oct 13. Positioning itself for future Army contracts, Sikorsky Aircraft says it is developing an unmanned helicopter sophisticated enough to skim treetops, negotiate emerging obstacles and identify a landing zone all by itself. Such a vehicle would be ideal for the service’s cargo transport and other missions, company officials said as they sat down with C4ISR & Networks on Monday at the Association of the United States Army convention in Washington, D.C. “You can run a lot more unmanned missions than you can with a pilot,” said Barbara Lindauer, director of business development for the company’s Autonomous Systems division, “because a pilot can only fly so many hours” before tiring out. But round-the-clock cargo lifts don’t just bring more equipment. They also saves lives by reducing the number of trucks exposed to ambushes — a fact that has not been lost on the U.S. military in Afghanistan. “The Marines and the Navy are already out there” with unmanned heavy lifters, Lindauer said, referring to systems like the K-Max robocopter, developed by Kaman Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. Sikorsky is waiting to see if the Army will take the plunge with a program of record. In the meantime, the company is testing its solution on a modified S-76 called the Sikorsky Autonomous Research Aircraft, or SARA. (Source: Defense News)

21 Oct 13. AeroVironment, Inc. introduced a series of enhancements to the battle-proven RQ-20A Puma AE small unmanned aircraft system that include new features and capabilities. Puma AE’s enhancements include the following:
* Advanced propulsion system and smart battery technology – a more powerful propulsion system with a longer endurance smart battery delivers more than three and one-half hours of flight duration, a 75 percent improvement over the current Puma AE. For added mission flexibility, versatile smart battery options are available along with the ability to integrate advanced power sources in the future, such as solar and fuel cells
* Auxiliary payload bay – provides the ability to integrate advanced payloads quickly and easily, while preserving Puma’s existing color and thermal video camera capability
* Precision navigation system with secondary GPS – provides greater positional accuracy and reliability of the system
* Added durability – a redesigned fuselage, including reinforced construction, delivers improved aerodynamic properties and increased durability while maintaining Puma’s All Environment capability
The enhanced Puma AE will be available the first quarter of 2014.

21 Oct 13. A wireless ground sensor network developed by Lockheed Martin will soon have the option of being fully integrated with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Lockheed Martin’s Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network (SPAN) system will be linked with unmanned vehicles to provide ubiquitous coverage and persistent surveillance through an unobtrusive network. Incorporated with small devices that employ energy-harvesting technology, SPAN is a multi-purpose wireless sensor platform that never needs a battery replacement. Using readily available energy sources in its surrounding environment, SPAN re-charges itself and its nodes do not transmit unless there is a sensor reading of concern. Fusing SPAN with UAVs lowers the total cost of monitoring a specific ar

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