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).
L-3 Communications (Hall 4 Stand 18, Chalet A16-18) is showing a new, handheld version of the Rover device that has rapidly become essential kit for allied ground troops directing airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company has already delivered some 4,000 of the previous, laptop-size Rover 3 and 4 versions, which display video feeds from various airborne platforms.
You can throw away your pen thanks to Mxi Technologies. The company has added electronic signature (e-signature) capability to its Maintenix aviation maintenance management software. The new functionality in the integrated, intelligent software solution can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on data entry.
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.
A four-year, NASA-led project began last month to determine the requirements and procedures for safely integrating the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the National Airspace System. First-year funding of about $8.4 million will be used primarily for detailed planning and validation of requirements for UAVs to fly above FL400, where many business jets operate.
The recent commencement of low-altitude Customs and Immigration patrols by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) along the Arizona/Mexico border and the earlier nonstop, totally automated, transpacific and transatlantic flights above FL600 by the USAF’s Global Hawk (AIN, December, page 54) are strong signals that one day the altitude gap between these two will close, and we’ll have unmanned aircraft sharing our airspace. When will that day arrive?
NetJets Europe tapped Signature Flight Support as its Europe-wide “preferred handler.” The agreement covers Signature FBOs in Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, South Africa and the UK. NetJets Europe shareowners can still use any FBO or handler that they choose. “It’s not an exclusive agreement,” explained a Signature spokesman.
Boeing has revealed a surprise entry for the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) competition. While two rival bids use High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Boeing is adapting the Gulfstream G550 to fly the mission manned or unmanned.
Israel launched another reconnaissance satellite last week as military tensions increase in the Middle East. After lifting off from the Palmachim range at 2:40 local time on June 11, the Shavit three-stage launcher successfully delivered the 300-kilogram Ofeq-7 into a low-Earth, elliptical orbit. Once in orbit, Ofeq-7 unfurled its solar array that should give it a minimum life of four years.
By the time the U.S. Air Force took delivery of its 120th Predator unmanned air vehicle, nearly half of them (56) had been destroyed–some to enemy fire, but most to accidents. No pilots were harmed in the making of this statistic, of course. But at $4 million per Predator, that’s $224 million, a cost that cannot be ignored. And other UAVs have had similar problems.