Represented by Farnborough Aerospace in Hall 4 Stand E13, the Warrior (Aero-Marine) Gull 36 UAV has commenced operating both in and over the English Channel under contract from Flight Refuelling of the Cobham Group. The four meter-span UAV is reported to have exhibited excellent water handing and flying qualities, confirming the accuracy of theoretical models compared to data extracted from the Gull’s data loggers.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
News and issues relating to civil and military unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) of all kinds and sizes, including those used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), combat (unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs), law enforcement, research and other applications. Of particular focus is the FAA's planned integration of UAS into the U.S. national airspace system.
Officials from the UK’s up-and-coming UAV test airfield are negotiating here this week with several American companies who have expressed frustration with the lack of timely cooperation from their own Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Shortly before the Farnborough airshow Dassault accomplished the first autonomous flight of its AVE-D UAV demonstrator. On June 30 at Toul, France, the AVE-D flew a completely autonomous sequence. It included moving away and returning to its parking spot, runway alignment, takeoff, maneuvering and landing, without any offboard input.
BAE Systems unveils the Mantis UAV at its outdoor exhibition site today. The Mantis, shown in full-scale model form, is armed with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles on its six weapon pylons. The twin-prop, T-tailed vehicle is equipped with a multi-sensor turret and radar under the fuselage, and a satcom antenna in the upper nose section. It employs a triplex flight control system.
Boeing’s A-160T Hummingbird rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recently claimed an unofficial world’s record for its weight class by staying aloft for more than 18 hours. In a mid-May test at the U.S. Army’s proving ground in Yuma, Arizona, the turbine-powered craft–carrying a 300 pound payload–reached altitudes of up to 15,000 feet and landed with a fuel reserve of more than 90 minutes.
Underscoring the universal appeal of the Farnborough International 2008 airshow, the organizers have again dedicated space for specialty sectors or disciplines, with areas reserved for business aircraft manufacturers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It also is featuring International Youth Day on Friday, as the show week ends (see box).
Analysis and simulation of operations by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is not always an easy task because of the need to consider the broad C4-ISTAR picture, often in a joint scenario. However, being able to verify mission requirements and to validate concepts of operation before buying new systems is certainly of value to military clients.
Two General Atomics Sky Warrior UAVs have been operating in Iraq since late April, well ahead of the drone’s formal system design and development (SDD) schedule. The Sky Warrior, a new version of the Predator-A, won the U.S. Army’s extended-range/multipurpose (ER/MP) competition. The substantial changes include a Thielert heavy-fuel engine, an autoland system and an improved, more mobile ground station.
Raytheon has sold a Predator Operations Center to the U.S. Air National Guard, which will use it to direct Predator UAV missions. The company is also marketing its Universal Control System (UCS) for the control of UAVs such as the Predator.
UCS is designed to be more user-friendly than the original ground stations supplied by General Atomics, and Raytheon hopes to make a sale soon.