18 Feb 16. Dawn of the Air-Phibious Drones? Flying Fish UAV Swims and Flies. Major air and defense shows are filled with eye-catching displays, big models and, here at Asia’s largest aviation show, really cool aircraft. Almost lost among the throngs is a small, pale-blue airframe that looks like just another aerial drone.
But look closely, and there’s something you don’t see on too many unmanned aerial vehicles — twin gold-colored propellers.
Meet the prosaically named Unmanned Hybrid Vehicle (UHV), a developmental project of Singapore’s ST Engineering.
“That’s not a model, that’s the real thing,” said Milly Tay, head of the engineering group developing the vehicle, nodding to the UHV mounted on a stand amongst a number of vehicles and airplane models.
The UHV flies on a single pusher propeller which feathers and folds when the craft is below the waves. The vehicle has a modest underwater speed of 4–5 knots, Tay said.
A computer controls the craft’s transition between air and water. ST thinks the UHV could easily operate from a number of surface vessels.
Tay envisions the vehicle’s underwater missions to include mine detection, while a standard camera surveillance capability can be used while airborne. Including a sensor package, the composite-construction vehicle weighs in around 25 kg (55 pounds).
Airborne endurance, Tay said, is between 20 and 25 minutes.
A typical operational profile, she said, would have the vehicle fly to an operating area, perhaps providing aerial surveillance prior to entering the water.
ST has built two prototype UHVs and the vehicles have been operated underwater. A key problem yet to be solved, however, is where the company can conduct test flights.
“We’ve not flown the vehicle due to restrictions [on unmanned aircraft operation] in Singapore,” Tay said. “We’re looking for a good location and hope to find one this year.” (Source: Defense News)
16 Feb 16. Russia creates SIGINT payloads for Granat-4 UAV. Currently the tactical UAV is used for photo reconnaissance and artillery spotting/targeting. The new payloads allow the Granat-4 to conduct SIGINT roles such as radio monitoring, signals collection, and signal direction, as well as the ability to act as a radio relay for friendly forces. A Granat-4 unmanned air system (UAS) comprises two UAVs, a set of replaceable payload modules, a starter, a charging and refuelling station for the UAVs, a ground control post on the basis of the KAMAZ-4350 truck with the 4350D-11 van-type body, two transportation containers, and a demountable catapult. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Feb 16. Russia unveils two new Orlan unmanned aerial vehicles. Two new members of Russia’s Orlan family of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were unveiled at a Russian Defence Ministry-sponsored conference on robotics on 11-12 February. The Orlan-30 and Orlan-50 are scaled-up derivatives of the Orlan-10 already in Russian service. Both have the same external dimensions (2.43m long and 3.8m wingspan), and both have an operating radius of 500km, an operating altitude of 5,000m, and an endurance of 8 hours. The main difference between the new UAVs is that the Orlan-30 is single-engined and the Orlan-50 is twin-engined. This allows the Orlan-50 to have a higher maximum take-off weight (50kg) and payload (15 kg) than the Orlan-30 (27 kg and 8 kg respectively). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Feb 16. US Special Operations Command lifts the lid on special mission MQ-9 Reaper. The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has provided details of a new enhanced variant of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was first revealed by the Department of Defense (DoD) in a contract announcement from late January.
The USD34.03m MQ-9 Medium Altitude Long Endurance Tactical (MALET) Lead-Off Hitter (LOH) contract is part of a rolling upgrade to the 37 MQ-9s procured by the US Air Force (USAF) on behalf