26 Nov 13. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have already superseded patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and are rendering gunships obsolete. But until they engage enemies in the air, it’s premature to speak about the end of manned platforms, according to a former Israel Air Force commander. “The [unmanned] air-to-air mission is not a fantasy but part of the future,” said retired Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliahu at a Nov. 26 unmanned vehicles conference and air exhibition in Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv. In an address devoted to UAS trends and their prospects for replacing manned platforms, Ben-Eliahu said leading air forces are phasing out costly fixed-wing and rotary aircraft for a spectrum of unmanned reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting missions. In terms of future force planning, he said, “The attack helicopter is finished.” But unmanned aircraft cannot replace manned transports, the former Israeli air chief insisted. “I don’t see human beings being transported by unmanned vehicles.” While unmanned systems offer considerable savings in acquisition, life-cycle and training costs, they lack deterrent power. (Source: Defense News)
26 Nov 13. XFLY Systems announced the launch of its new XFS mission-ready sUAS. The new sUAS line is designed as a total commercial solution, suitable for both exterior and interior flights. Capable of performing automatic take-offs and landings, this enables the operator to focus on the task at hand. The new sUAS is designed to be used with minimum training and by people with little or no technical knowledge. The system is capable of vertical take-off and landing, which enables it to be launched without any launch mechanism and land where there is no landing pad. Deployment time is less than three minutes, making it versatile and adaptable to a variety of situations.
26 Nov 13. Sky Sapience, an expert in autonomous hovering machine technology, reports that the live demonstration of the HoverMast-100, which it carried out at AUS&R (Autonomous, Unmanned Systems & Robotics) was a major success for the company. The HoverMast-100, compact electric-powered, tethered aerial platform, was demonstrated from a moving 4×4 standard pick-up truck. The base unit opened at the push of a button and the HoverMast’s aerial unit rose to 50 meters within seconds. Utilizing a CONTROP T-STAMP triple sensor payload, the conference attendees observed highly stabilized video images of suspicious activity. The images, as well as target coordinates, were seamlessly transmitted via a wideband data link to a remote station, which immediately processed the data and relayed it in real time to ground forces for prompt target interception. (Source: UAS VISION)
21 Nov 13. China’s Sharp Sword UCAV made its maiden flight at HAIC’s
airfield in Nangchang on 20 November. Source: Chinese internet A Chinese jet-powered unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) prototype called the Sharp Sword (Lijian) conducted its maiden flight on 20 November, according to footage and photographs posted on Chinese military websites. The Sharp Sword was reportedly designed by Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC) and manufactured by Hongdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (HAIC). According to Chinese media and military forums, the UCAV flew for about 20 minutes at HAIC’s airfield in Nangchang, Jiangxi Province. The Sharp Sword has a delta-wing configuration that is similar to the US Navy’s Northrop Grumman X-47B technology demonstrator and Mikoyan’s cancelled Skat UCAV. It was first seen in May 2013 conducting taxiing trials at the same HAIC airfield where the test flight took place. The lack of shrouding around the engine nozzle would appear to give the UCAV a significant thermal signature, compromising any low-visibility advantages that the delta-wing design provides. (Source: Jane’s)
25 Nov 13. U.S. Army Purchases Bird-like, Micro-Unmanned Aerial System. The U.S. Army recently purchased 36 Maveric unmanned aerial systems as a result of an urgent