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13 Dec 17. Jet-powered drone tested by BAE Systems. BAE Systems and The University of Manchester have conducted initial flight trials on a jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicle with a unique maneuvering system.
BAE’s Magma UAV utilizes wing circulation control, which uses air from the aircraft engine and blows it supersonically through the trailing edge of the wing, to provide control for the aircraft and fluidic thrust vectoring for change of direction.
The maneuvering concept for the aircraft’s controls removes the conventional need for mechanical moving parts used to move flaps that control the aircraft during flight, reducing weight and maintenance costs and allowing for lighter, stealthier, and faster flight, the company says.
“The technologies we are developing with The University of Manchester will make it possible to design cheaper, higher performance, next-generation aircraft,” Clyde Warsop, an engineering fellow at BAE Systems, said in a press release. “Our investment in research and development drives continued technological improvements in our advanced military aircraft, helping to ensure UK aerospace remains at the forefront of the industry and that we retain the right skills to design and build the aircraft of the future.”
BAE said additional technologies to improve the performance of the UAV are being explored in collaboration with the University of Arizona and NATO Science and Technology Organization.
“These trials are an important step forward in our efforts to explore adaptable airframes,” said Bill Crowther, a senior academic and leader of the MAGMA project at the University of Manchester. “What we are seeking to do through this program is truly groundbreaking.”
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI)
13 Dec 17. USMC plans to experiment with autonomous helicopters. The Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) showed off its skills Tuesday in Quantico, Virginia. (Daniel Woolfolk/Staff)
With no pilot in the air, and no pilot on the ground, unmanned helos may soon be making dangerous supply deliveries or getting Marines out of harm’s way ― all from the summon of a mobile tablet.
The Marine Corps plans to experiment with a software package that would allow a helicopter to fly autonomously, officials said.
“It gives us a lot more confidence requesting that support,” Cpl. Christopher Osterhaus, combat instructor, The Basic School, told Marine Corps Times at Quantico, Virginia, on Tuesday. “Without a pilot, we don’t have to worry about that concern for a manned mission potentially taking contact. Whereas if we sent this autonomous system, we don’t have to worry about any danger to any pilot.”
Using a tablet, a Marine can program an unmanned helicopter to fly to a certain point, even if the enemy has jammed GPS, said Robert Freeman, a spokesman for the Office of Naval Research.
So far, ONR has tested the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System on helicopters, but it could possibly be re-engineered to be fitted on fixed-wing aircraft and Ospreys, Freeman said. The system is made by Aurora Flight Sciences, headquartered in Virginia.
A Marine UH-1Y Venom fitted with the software made three demonstration flights Tuesday at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. The flights were not completely unmanned as the Federal Aviation Administration required a safety observer to ride in the helicopter, Freeman said.
Marine Corps officials have not decided whether to purchase the AACUS, said Lt. Col. Amy Punzel, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Combat Development Command. The Corps will test the system at this spring’s Integrated Training Exercise in Twentynine Palms, California, as part of the Sea Dragon 2025 experimentation. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
12 Dec 17. Norway opens autonomous vessel test-bed. A new autonomous shipping test-bed has been opened adjace