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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

04 Jun 05. Air Force to Add Spy Plane Squadron. Addition will be fourth unit based at Indian Springs Air Force officials plan to base a fourth squadron of remotely piloted Predator aircraft at Indian Springs to help meet the military’s growing demand for the unmanned spy planes. (Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

06 Jun 05. Honeywell’s 13-inch autonomous surveillance aircraft successfully completed its first untethered free flight at the MANTIC test facility near Laguna, New Mexico. The MAV is small enough for a foot soldier to carry on his back and is equipped with forward- and downward-looking video cameras that relay information to a remote ground station video terminal. The camera suite can be configured with either electro-optical cameras for daylight operations, or infrared cameras for night time operations. The air vehicle is designed to provide soldiers with improved situational awareness without exposing them to enemy fire. The vehicles can be used for reconnaissance, security and target acquisition in open, rolling, complex and urban terrain. Developed as part of the DARPA MAV Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program, the MAV is considered a top contender for the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Class I family of vehicles.

09 Jun 05. Denis Maugars, president and director general of French research organisation ONERA said that he will be running a competition for a mini-UAV beginning in July. He left the main parameters open, saying that it is up to industry to offer solutions. It seems to be a broad search to see what industry has to offer as Maugars threw in a quote from business luminary Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Maugars also said that ONERA intends to increase level of UAV funding to that of satellites.

07 Jun 05. Warrior (Aero-Marine) Limited, the UK company that has developed and patented radical new seaplane technology using original slender hull forms, announces today that it is entering the UAV market. It has built a prototype water-capable UAV under contract to UK company Global Observatory Ltd., and first flight took place on May 15. This vehicle utilises most of the technical attributes that Warrior has developed in recent years for its Centaur 6 six-seat amphibious aircraft. Construction of this first prototype is taking place at Warrior’s facility at Sanford, Maine, USA. Warrior believes that its designs offer fundamental performance, wave-handling and docility advantages over existing seaplanes and provide the basis for adaptable UAV platforms with important new capabilities over other UAVs. Warrior’s UAVs are scaleable and applicable to a wide range of operations. By using existing UAV systems to aid Network Connectivity and its own aerial platform, the project will enable valuable UAV assets to enter service within short timescales to meet known user requirements and bring an array of additional functions to UAVs. Most importantly, Warrior will provide UAVs that can take-off and land on water, enabling both easy launch and recovery, and additional functions at multiple waypoints on water, with the ability to remain on-station for long periods. The Centaur UAV seaplane will provide capabilities appropriate for defence, Coast Guard, Economic Zone policing, environmental observation and commercial applications, enabling long-range, quick response, low-profile surface operations that no other vehicle can provide. These capabilities are expected to economically address one of the greatest problems and costliest challenges to civil and defence services, in achieving maritime surveillance.

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