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01 Sep 17. Challenger Aerospace Unveils Avina Soft-Wing Concept. The Challenger Airspace Group has unveiled the design of the new unique unmanned autonomous system (UAS) equipped with a soft wing and will be called the Avina.
The soft wings help to reduce the cost/payload ratio, is capable of very long-haul flights and offers incomparable security. The Avina UAS are capable of transporting a significant payload – up to 410 kg.
“The Avina is an Unmanned, Autonomous System capable of flying for six hours with a suite of different sensors,” said Challenger Aerospace Group CEO LeRoy Aday.
The Avina soft wing unmanned aircraft is powered by two EDF fan units with power from a hybrid power generator, top speed of 130km/h.
The Avina will be one of the most versatile systems on the market, to embark a great variety of mission-specific modules: cameras, IR sensors, droppable cargo or even a human pilot for, particularly sensitive missions. (Source: UAS VISION)
30 Aug 17. US Army reevaluating Gray Eagle drone operations, employment. The Army is looking at mirroring the way the Air Force operates its large unmanned aerial systems. The Air Force’s MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers flown halfway around the world are controlled from a remote location within the U.S. via satellite link. But the Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagles — which are division assets used at the tactical and operational levels, and are manufactured by the same company as the Predator and Reaper — are operated locally in theater.
“From an Army perspective, we typically take our assets to theater and we fight them in that battle space with those operators that are there … as opposed to fighting them from back here at [the continental United States],” Army Col. Paul Cravey told C4ISRNET in an interview.
“I do see the Army looking at expanding the method in which the Gray Eagle is employed. The Army [Intelligence and Security Command] community is looking at whether this [platform] can be employed much like the Reaper is employed from home station, from CONUS and operated from CONUS and executed via satellite control in an OCONUS scenario, much like the Predators are flown now,” said Cravey, the Army‘s Training and Doctrine Command capability manager for reconnaissance and attack at the Aviation Center of Excellence.
“There’s a lot of research and some potential experiments are going to go on to use the Gray Eagle in that mode.”
Cravey noted that the Army has successfully conducted these types of remote operations at the National Training Center in California with operators executing flight operations from Fort Hood, Texas, via satellite links.
“We know we can do that, but we are probably going to do more experiments to expand that to determine if there’s benefit in operating that way from the Army,” he said, adding that the service is looking to determine the viability of fighting from CONUS to OCONUS.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which manufactures the Predator, Reaper and Gray Eagle, is looking to apply lessons learned from the Reaper and Predator to its Gray Eagle. The Air Force has employed and evolved large unmanned platforms for the last 20 years, and officials are realizing the “untapped potential” of the aircraft.
“We’re in a unique position at General Atomics because we can take those lessons learned and experience that the Air Force is gaining in the missions that they’re using their [remotely piloted aircraft] for and bringing those and we work with [Army Program Manager] UAS,” Chris MacFarland, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems‘ director of Army programs, told C4ISRNET in an interview.
The Department of Defense has indicated it wants to get to 90 global unmanned combat air patrols by 2019. Under this plan, the Air Force would operate 60 as it currently does, contractors would operate 10, the A