By the time that Tripoli fell with surprising ease to rebel forces, NATO had flown more than 20,000 sorties during Operation Unified Protector. More than one third of these were strike missions, although weapons were not released on every sortie.
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 U.S. Army and Navy will coordinate their requirements for a future unmanned medium-range helicopter, officials said at the Unmanned Systems North America conference last week in Washington, D.C. Such has been the interest in unmanned VTOL systems that programs and requirements seem to have proliferated, leading to potentially duplicative and costly developments.
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.
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.
Northrop Grumman flew the Euro Hawk UAV demonstrator for the German air force (GAF) to Manching airbase near Munich for further development and testing. The journey from Edwards AFB in California on July 20 took slightly more than 22 hours, four hours longer than originally planned, and was delayed 48 hours by weather and flight-plan difficulties.
Four American companies will demonstrate concepts for an unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft to the U.S. Navy.
Photographs of a new Chinese UAV have been posted on Chinese websites. They show a joined-wing design that was previously shown in model form at the Zhuhai airshow.