UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
18 Jun 07. UK Taranis UAV passes first major milestone. The £124m Taranis Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) technology demonstrator programme, with BAE Systems as the industry lead and prime contractor, and other industry partners comprising QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce and Smiths Aerospace, has reached a major milestone with the design of the autonomous systems now finalised. Taranis will be the largest UAV yet built in the UK, and as part of the UK MOD’s Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experiment) (SUAV(E)) programme will explore and demonstrate how emerging technologies and systems can deliver battle-winning capabilities for the UK armed forces.
15 Jun 07. Aerovironment awarded $17m contract for maintenance and repair of RQ-11 UAS AeroVironment Corp.*, Monrovia, Calif., was awarded on June 15, 2007, a $17,610,621 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-plus-incentive contract for Maintenance and Repair for RQ-11 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Work will be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 15, 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This was a sole source contract initiated on Jan. 31, 2007. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338). (Source: Shephard)
19 Jun 07. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. signed a teaming agreement for marketing the Predator® B UAS in Germany. The German Government has launched a program called SAATEG (System fuer die abbildende Aufklaerung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebietes; In-Theatre Reconnaissance) which has identified a requirement for a MALE (Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance) UAS capable of providing imaging intelligence for its armed forces in international missions. The German requirement is an immediate one, i.e. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is scheduled as early as 2010.
21 Jun 07. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), in use with the U.S. Army since 1996, recently surpassed 50,000 flight hours in service, over half of which were flown in combat. Northrop Grumman-operated Hunter MQ-5A and Army-operated MQ-5B models are currently deployed in the Global War on Terrorism. Hunter provides warfighters with state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition (RSTA), communications relay, and weapons delivery.
18 Jun 07. DARPA Test New Robot Hummingbird. Flight tests of a revolutionary new robot helicopter have begun, according to the maker, US Aerospace giant Boeing. The first of these is “unique optimum speed rotor technology”. Existing helicopters tend to maintain a constant rate of rotor revs, in part to control vibration. The Hummingbird uses an, er, revolutionary rotor system which can vary its speed through a much wider range. This should offer a helicopter that “can reach higher altitudes, hover for longer periods of time, go greater distances and operate much more quietly”. There has also been a plan to use heavier fuels in the Hummingbird, as opposed to conventional aviation juice. “The program also provides a platform for integration and testing of highly efficient heavy fuel engine technologies. These technologies can further advance current range and endurance,” according to DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. Previous test-bed versions of the Hummingbird have flown, but thus far all have had piston engines. The newer A160T turbine-powered job carried out preliminary hover trials last Friday in California. (Source: Google)
21 Jun 07. Alenia Aeronautica: first flight for the next generation unmanned aircraft Sky-Y. First flights for the new Sky-Y, the operational demonstrator for a new-generation unmanned aircraft, presented for the first time to the public during the Le Bourget Air Show, in Paris. The Sky-Y made its first flight at Vidsel Base in Sweden, successfully completing a series of three take-off runs and then, in fl