24 Mar 14. Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy have successfully completed the first major milestone of the Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight test program, clearing the aircraft to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights. During the test program, which is known as initial envelope expansion, the Northrop Grumman/Navy test team validated more than 568 test points. The flights took place at the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. “Following Triton’s first flight in May, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of test flights and test points being accomplished,” said Capt. James Hoke, Triton program manager with Naval Air Systems Command.
Once both Triton test aircraft reach Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., the test team will install and flight test the aircrafts’ sensor suite to validate the capabilities of each payload. Triton carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets, and provide airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances. The Navy plans to build 68 Triton UAS and they will be used with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions across vast ocean and coastal regions.
22 Mar 14. Israel Air Force Christens Hermes 900 UAV. The Hermes 900 UAV, manufactured by the Israeli company Elbit Systems, received its official Hebrew name in the Israel Air Force (IAF): “Kochav” (star in Hebrew). The Kochav UAV strengthens the UAV arm of the IAF and is designed for HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) reconnaissance missions. The Israeli-built UAV serves at the Palmachim airbase and takes part in all kinds of reconnaissance missions and special missions. The Kochav UAV, which is manufactured by the Israeli company Elbit System, has joined the UAV Division of the IAF. It possesses a wide range of capabilities, including the ability to carry out missions in all weather conditions. The Kochav has innovative UAV capabilities: automatic takeoff, landing and braking capabilities. Additionally, it has another operational advantage over older aircraft, as it can carry multiple payloads, allowing it to perform (Source: Open Source Information Report)
27 Mar 14. Thales signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Qatar Armed Forces to assist in the development of an Optionally Piloted Vehicle – Aircraft (OPV-A), a high performance ISTAR system, and the delivery of a full end-to-end training solution. The OPV-A airframe, to be selected by the Qatar Armed Forces, will be integrated with a mission systems capability to enable the optionally piloted capability. The Optionally Piloted Vehicle – Aircraft (OPV-A) to be developed is a hybrid between a conventional aircraft and an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). They are able to fly with or without a pilot on board the aircraft. Unimpeded by a human’s physiological limitations, an OPV is able to operate under more adverse conditions and/or for greater endurance times. Retaining on-board controls, the OPV can operate as a conventional aircraft during missions for which direct human control is preferred or desired as an immediate option.
27 Mar 14. Silent Falcon UAS Technologies (SFUAS), a former subsidiary of Bye Aerospace, Inc., announced a transition to the production phase of its Silent Falcon unmanned aircraft system. The patent-pending Silent Falcon is a solar/electric, all composite, modular small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) with an interchangeable wing configuration designed for commercial, public safety and defense applications. In 2010 Bye Aerospace created what is now SFUAS, capitalizing the company with a prototype electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and initial design work on solar electric hybrid propulsion. The combination of efficient aerodynamic d