17 May 06. Team JUEP (Joint UAV Experimentation Programme) – Boeing/Insitu, QinetiQ and prime contractor Thales UK – has successfully completed the £3 million third phase of maritime trials, including the launch and recovery of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland. In an important first for the Royal Navy, a ScanEagle, developed by Boeing and Insitu Group was launched from on board HMS Sutherland, its imagery monitored in flight by a networked Sea King Mk7 with Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) capability, put through a series of surveillance tasks and successfully recovered to the ship. During one exercise, the ScanEagle UAV conducted a six-hour flight around the Hebrides range, off the North West coast of Scotland and transmitted real-time video images to HMS Sutherland. Also demonstrated was the application of Network Enabled Capability (NEC) by satellite and the ability to link with Naval and Strike Headquarters hundreds of miles away, and onwards to other networked naval assets. The imagery was also used to adjust targeting of the ships guns during a live firing exercise on a floating buoy. Close cooperation between the MoD and Team JUEP allowed the trial to be completed within six months of the contract being awarded. A key to the successful conclusion of the trial was the use of the Thales Synthetic Environment facility, located in Crawley, which enabled planning, familiarisation and rehearsal of missions. The maritime strand of the JUEP project – with Thales UK and team partners Boeing/Insitu and QinetiQ working in conjunction with the Royal Navy – was initiated by the MoD in 2004 to inform the future requirements for UAVs in the Maritime and Littoral environment.
17 May 06. Saab Developing Unmanned Helicopter. Saab AB is developing an unmanned helicopter for both civilian and military use. The Skeldar V-150 helicopter uses new navigation technology in which the flight plan is programmed before takeoff. It does not need a pilot or remote control. Similar products are being developed in other countries. The helicopter, which Saab is displaying at an exhibition in Enkoping, northwest of Stockholm, is 4 meters (13 feet) long and weighs around 100 kilograms (220 pounds). It can be fitted with a wide variety of payloads, such as lighter weapons and reconnaissance equipment _ not heavier than 55 kilograms (121 pounds), Carp said. The helicopter could also be used for civilian purposes, such as aerial land surveys, he said. Saab is increasingly focusing on unmanned aircraft, as its last piloted fighter jet, the JAS-39 Gripen, nears the end of its production. The company is a key partner in a French-led effort to develop an unmanned combat plane that will feature stealth technology and high-tech weaponry. Saab is also working on its own unmanned reconnaissance and combat planes. Besides aircraft, the Linkoping, Sweden-based company makes missile and anti-armor systems, as well as navigation and tracking systems and lightweight camouflage netting.
12 May 06. The Canadian army’s unmanned spy drone, the Sperwer, may sound like a domestic lawnmower but the noise is enough to pin down the Taliban in Afghanistan. ”At night when things are quiet, this is a two-stroke motor so you know it’s in the area,” says Major John Casey, head of an operation using the French-made drones at the coalition air base in the southern city of Kandahar.
The effect of the sound on Taliban insurgents was demonstrated during a sweep last month by Afghan security forces in the west of Kandahar province. To stop the rebels from breaking an Afghan cordon and escaping, the Canadians flew over the area with a Sperwer as they illuminated the area with flares. The rebels know that the drone, made by French group Sagem, transmits real-time images of the area under surveillance by day or night. On hearing the characteristic throbbing of the aircraft, the men froze so they would not be spotted. Fourteen were eventually