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05 Dec 06. Lockheed Martin recently accomplished a first for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), demonstrating that high-resolution, broad-area imaging from a Miniaturized Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR) could effectively be delivered by a UAS into the hands of tactical unit commanders, regardless of smoke, dust, heavy rain or nighttime conditions. During a successful field exercise at the Minnesota National Guard test facility on October 19, Lockheed Martin’s small SkySpirit UAS – with a Sandia National Laboratories developed MiniSAR sensor – soared to nearly 3,000 feet and, in near real-time, became the first UAS to successfully transmit four-inch resolution SAR imagery. During four different mission demonstrations, the SkySpirit transmitted MiniSAR images capturing actionable data in two operational modes: focused area circle-mapping and broad area strip-mapping. Multiple imaging passes were post-processed to demonstrate coherent change detection used to identify changes over time. (Source: Shephard)

Dec 06. QinetiQ has carried out an autonomous demonstration flight of a UAV using SION Power’s new high energy, rechargeable lithium sulfur battery. Previous flights with lithium polymer cells only enabled flight times of 1 hour and 10 minutes. The lightweight, high energy lithium sulfur battery packs from SION Power yielded a flight time of over 2 hours. SION Power is the global leader in the development of the next generation of high energy rechargeable batteries based on the lithium sulfur technology. The base cells in the battery packs used in this flight had a specific energy of 350 Wh/Kg. This is 50% greater than the best available lithium ion batteries. The battery pack electronics and assembly were provided by Nexergy Inc., Columbus, Ohio.

07 Dec 06. RCV Engines Ltd has been selected by Honeywell to produce a demonstrator engine based on the company’s patented Rotating Cylinder Valve technology. Intended for use in Honeywell’s backpack-sized Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), the high power to weight ratio and multi-fuel capability available from RCV technology make this type of engine an ideal choice for UAV applications. The MAV autonomous surveillance aircraft has been developed as part of the US DARPA MAV Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration programme. The vehicle is small enough for a foot soldier to carry on his/her back and is designed to provide soldiers with improved situational awareness without exposing them to enemy fire through forward- and downward-looking video cameras that relay information to a remote ground station video terminal. (Source: Shephard)

Dec 06. Indian military research organisation develops IED handling/defusing UGV. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Pune has developed a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) which is designed with robotic functions for handling / defusing Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Research and Development Establishment (Engineers), Pune, an establishment of DRDO has developed ROV for Indian Army. This robot has undergone trial test and is to be inducted in Army. User Assisted Technical Trials with the help of Army have been completed. User trials are likely to be conducted shortly by Army. The decision for induction of the equipment will be taken by the Army after successful completion of the user trials. (Source: Shephard)

Dec 06. Inertial Aerosystems announce that one of their attitude and heading reference units (AHRS) has been incorporated in an unmanned helicopter (UAV) This high tech unit is an essential component in the flight control system and facilitates the use of cameras and other scanning sensors. The data from the AHRS is used to compute the pitch, roll and heading of the platform. The open communications code facilitates synchronisation of the AHRS with GPS. The combination of accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes optimises orientation accuracy during static operations such as hovering. The low power consumption, size a

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