06 Jul 16. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced that fuselage integration of its new Certifiable Predator® B (CPB) RPA system in now underway.
“The start of fuselage integration for the CPB aircraft represents a significant milestone in our progression towards building a certifiable platform,” said Dave R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “CPB will provide a next-generation capability, integrating enhanced safety and reliability systems that will enable RPA flight within civilian airspace, ushering in a new era in unmanned aviation.”
During fuselage integration, numerous components will be installed, including brackets and mounting hardware, electrical cables, fuel systems, oil and cooling systems, landing gear, avionics hardware and software, and a propulsion system. The next major phase of the aircraft assembly effort consists of wings and tails integration, which is planned for summer 2016, to be followed by complete electrical factory testing.
Upon successfully completing all installations and inspections, the aircraft will undergo power checks, fuel checks, and a complete system check. Lastly, ground verification testing will be conducted prior to first flight of the CPB prototype aircraft. Flight testing is planned for late 2016.
05 Jul 16. Argentine Air Force proceeds with independent UAV project. Towards the end of June the Argentine Air Force announced its first independent unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme since the cancellation of the SARA project, which had pooled the resources of all three services. The Vigia 2A is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV controlled by a Cloud Cap Piccolo II autopilot that can handle take-offs and landings. It also has satellite and radio datalinks.
The UAV is powered by a Japanese twin-cylinder HKS 700E engine that produces 60hp at 6,200rpm for three minutes for take-off, 56hp continuously at 5,800rpm, and can handle a payload of 50kg. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Jul 16. BAE Systems has successfully delivered a live demonstration of the latest unmanned naval technologies in a realistic scenario in the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour. Working in collaboration with a number of partner companies including QinetiQ, SeeByte, ASV, Cloudnet IT Solutions and Blue Bear, the project, named ‘Unmanned Capability’, demonstrated the planning, tasking, control and monitoring abilities of unmanned systems technologies and how they could support naval operations in the future. BAE Systems’ P950 Unmanned Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), developed in collaboration with ASV Ltd, took to the Solent whilst a ‘threat boat’ emerged from Langstone Harbour. The RIB was controlled at a command centre at BAE Systems’ Maritime Integration and Support Centre (MISC), a building 9km away on the top of Portsdown Hill and was able to send live pictures of the evolving situation back without any risk to any crew. Seeing this footage, the command team were then able to identify the threat and use the unmanned RIB to intercept the ‘threat boat.’ At the heart of the demonstration was BAE Systems’ Combat Management System, which acted as the information hub for each of the unmanned vehicles creating a picture to support the Command Team’s decision-making. The system, which is in operation across the Royal Navy surface fleet, was advanced for unmanned operations through an intelligent software enabler developed in collaboration with QinetiQ and SeeByte, known as Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE). This transportable command and control centre is capable of integrating unmanned systems from multiple suppliers, thus minimising the number of screens and controls needed to conduct missions and making the whole system highly efficient with minimum risk of human error. Also integral to the demonstration was MarTacNet technolog