The House Homeland Security Committee was expected to take action last month on the “Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act of 2011,” which will establish an industry committee within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to advise the assistant secretary of Homeland Security on aviation security matters.
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued an intelligence bulletin warning on Friday that “violent extremists with knowledge of general aviation and access to small planes pose a significant potential threat to the homeland.” In a separate memo sent to general aviation pilots a day later, the TSA said,
U.S. special or covert forces are using hand-launched UAVs disguised as large birds to monitor terrorist movements along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Pakistan Frontier Corps recovered one such UAV after it crashed on August 25 near one of its border forts in Baluchistan.
The briefing requests started three weeks out: “[company executive] available to discuss new products at our exhibit. Can we arrange a meeting?” In advance of the Unmanned Systems North America conference last week, I received nearly 40 such invitations, still only a fraction of the reported 510 exhibitors at the four-day event held in Washington, D.C.’s cavernous downtown convention center.
"Surges" of Puma and Raven small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are boosting U.S. Army operations in Afghanistan. Responding to an urgent operational requirement there, the Army has ordered 180 new Puma systems to protect route clearance patrols from IEDs. This follows earlier urgent requirements for the two aircraft, manufactured by AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif.
Newly released information on cyber attacks against the U.S. government and defense industry suggest that classified information may have been compromised on a grand scale. Web security company McAfee reported last week that at least six U.S. federal government agencies and 13 defense contractors had been attacked as part of a wider operation that penetrated 72 organizations in 14 countries since at least 2006.
Goodrich signed an agreement to distribute an electronic fuel injection system developed by Australian firm Currawong Engineering. Currawong’s Small Engine Electronic Fuel Injection System (SEEFIS) can “dramatically increase” the reliability and fuel efficiency of small internal combustion engines in UAVs that run on gasoline or heavy fuels such as JP8, the companies say.
Jeppesen president and CEO Mark Van Tine in July questioned the Transportation Security Administration’s use of security directives to vastly expand existing security requirements without consideration of the implementation challenges, operational effects and economic burdens these mandates impose on the aviation industry.
L-3 Communications has unveiled another ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) conversion of the Hawker Beechcraft King Air series, which will be available for export with a contractor-operated option.