11 Sep 14. Tianjin expo reveals Chinese UAV innovations, aspirations. The breadth of China’s investment in unmanned technologies was illustrated at a recent exposition in Tianjin and in new information from the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) that it has produced a four-leg unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) prototype. According to Chinese press reports a family of inflatable UAVs were unveiled at the 29-31 August 2014 Tianjin International UAV and Model Aircraft Technology Exhibition. Chief designer Zhang Bing Yan introduced the “software aircraft”, which he filed patents for in 2011. In comments reported by local media he made it clear that he required greater funding to better develop the concept. The inflatable UAVs at Tianjin were designated SF-1, SF-2 and SF-3 with wingspans of 2.5 m, 3 m and 4.3 m respectively. Zhang explained they have a useful load of 25 kg, a speed of about 20 km/h, range of about 100 km and a maximum altitude of 4,000 m. The UAVs can be filled with normal air or helium or hydrogen to achieve greater buoyancy. Apparently constructed of thin polyvinal chloride (PVC) such as used on a common air mattress, the UAVs also use air inflation valves from an air mattress and were seen at the show being filled with a simple electric air-pump. Payloads apparently are carried near the centre-of-gravity, while externally-mounted servos operate control flaps. The UAVs at the show used electric motors and Zhang’s craft employs automatic programme/computer-control to fly missions. Co-sponsored by China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry in National Defence (SASTIND) and the Tianjin Defence Industry Association, the Tianjin UAV exhibition attracted 60 exhibitors. These sponsors were also keen to promote Tianjin as a centre for UAV research, with many universities and companies developing UAV platforms and software. In early September Norinco revealed a “Mountain Quadruped Bionic Mobile Platform”: a four-leg walking unmanned ground vehicle. A brief mention in a Chinese press report noted that it could perform transport, reconnaissance or combat missions or could be used for disaster relief in mountainous areas. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Sep 14. India’s Rustom-1 UAV to be integrated with Automatic Take-Off and Landing. India’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) is close to integrating the Rustom-1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) capability, the Indian Express newspaper reported. The ATOL configuration is expected to be demonstrated by the year end. More fuel can be carried for missions if the UAV is airborne for longer durations. Different types of payloads integrated on UAV can be a substitute for more fuel and will give additional operational advantage, the report said. “At present, we are in the process of evaluating some of the sensors required for the ATOL implementation. Extensive real-time simulation has been initiated on the UAV flight simulator to develop and fine-tune the guidance and control algorithms,” an official was quoted as saying. The Rustom-1 project was taken up by ADE in 2006 to convert a manned aircraft configuration to an UAV. The lab has conducted over 30 flights with an approximate $6m spent on the program so far. (Source: Open Source Information Report/DefenseWorld.net)
10 Sep 14. Northrop Grumman sizes up UK UCAV requirements. Northrop Grumman is pitching the unmanned combat air vehicle technology derived from its US Navy-sponsored X-47B demonstrator to the UK, to feed into its Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme. The UK Ministry of Defence began the FCAS effort in 2011 to help shape the combat system that forces would operate in the future, identifying unmanned technology as a key area of concern. Northrop Grumman is hoping to begin discussions with the MoD to encourage it to consider four key areas in its UCAV design.
The X-47B demonstrator was produced under the USN’s unmanned combat air sy