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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

30 Jan 14. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc announced that the UK’s Military Aviation Authority (MAA) has accredited the company under the Design Approved Organization Scheme (DAOS). DAOS is a mechanism by which competence of organizations can be assessed in relation to the design of aircraft systems and associated equipment. Those meeting the required stringent design standards of airworthiness are awarded Design Approval certification by the MAA. The company continues to work with UK organizations and its German and Dutch partners, RUAG Aerospace Services GmbH and Fokker Technologies, to define long-term solutions and enhancements for airworthiness to the NATO Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) and UK Defence Standardizations (DEFSTANs).

29 Jan 14. US Navy and Marine Corps begin operational testing of Blackjack aircraft. The US Navy and the US Marine Corps (USMC) have begun initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the new small unmanned aircraft system RQ-21A Blackjack at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California, US. During the testing, the first low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot of the Blackjack, previously known as RQ-21A small tactical unmanned aircraft system (STUAS), will validated its effectiveness and suitability in realistic combat conditions. The Navy and Marine Corps STUAS programme office programme manager colonel James Rector said the Insitu-built system will meet the needs of warfighters deployed on land or at sea with the marine expeditionary units. Fitted with five air vehicles, two ground control systems and launch and recovery equipment, the Blackjack is a larger twin-tailed follow-on to the ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle. Following completion of IOT&E for the next several months on Blackjack by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1, the government and Insitu team will transition the system to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 2, located at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina for operational use. The US Navy is scheduled to receive one system from the second LRIP lot in the spring. VMU-2 commanding officer lieutenant colonel Anthony Bolden said the Blackjack’s payload and persistence will significantly enhance the Marine Air-Ground Task Force’s (MAGTF) situational awareness. Designed to provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications relay to troops on land and at sea, the 8ft-long Blackjack air vehicle features open-architecture configuration to enable integration of new payloads quickly. Capable of carrying sensor payloads as heavy as 25lbs, the vehicle’s standard payloads include day and night full-motion video cameras, an infrared marker, a laser range finder, a communications relay package and automatic identification system receivers. (Source: naval-technology.com)
23 Jan 14. Tellumat (Pty) Ltd, a South African electronics and engineering company, has recently launched its latest generation video / data-link radio product, the DL-5000. The DL-5000 is optimised for modern UAV applications with high video bandwidth (up to 16 Mbps) supporting high-definition video streaming, in a lightweight and rugged enclosure (3kg). “The DL-5000 mass saving means users can add a few extra litres of fuel instead, with the benefit of longer missions without compromising video bandwidth or range. This makes the DL-5000 very attractive to the market”, says Shareef Hoosain, Data Link Product Manager at Tellumat. The DL-5000 is an Internet Protocol (IP) based radio so remote operations or networked range extension beyond line of sight is possible. “The market ideal for extended range operations is through satellite communication. However, the reality is that satellites are not easily accessible to users without significant rental costs for bandwidth” says Hoosain. The network-ready DL-5000 radio allows users to cover large areas beyond line of sight, provided a ground-based communication network infrastruct

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