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.
In May L-3 Link Simulation and Training division delivered the first five of seven Predator Mission Aircraft Training Systems (PMATS) to the U.S. Air Force’s main UAV center at Creech AFB, Indian Springs, Nevada. PMATS provides Predator pilots and systems operators with fully immersive, mission-based training and is the first high-fidelity training system for UAVs to be adopted by the USAF.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently published for comment a roadmap for the routine operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in U.S. national airspace.
Fearing that terrorists will exploit emerging in-flight broadband services to remotely activate bombs or coordinate hijackings, the Justice Department has asked the Federal Communications Commission for the power to eavesdrop on any passenger’s Internet use or cellphone call within 10 minutes of obtaining a court order.
If you’re not the type to fret over conspiracies about black helicopters and shadowy figures in trench coats, you might want to inject a little paranoia into your life. Industrial espionage is a serious threat, warn security experts, but the perpetrators probably are not who you’d expect.
“We’re getting bigger–but we’re still manageable,” said Tom Cassidy of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI). The firm best known for the UAV that rewrote the rules of air warfare–the Predator–now employs more than 1,200 people at nine locations in southern California.
EADS Military Aircraft has announced the successful first flight of the new Carapas high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which took place earlier this month at the Biscarrosse missile test center in France.
FLIR Systems is showcasing three new compact multi-sensor systems developed to maintain the company’s position as a leader in this field. Each is a derivative of an earlier model but incorporates an advance in technology that results in improved performance.
Responding to the fast-growing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market and exhibiting at Dubai for the first time, Canada’s MicroPilot has developed what it claims to be the world’s smallest fully functional autopilot. Weighing just one ounce, the MP2028g has capabilities that include airspeed hold, altitude hold, turn coordination, GPS navigation, as well as autonomous operation from launch to recovery.