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.
UAVs and drones
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is arguably the fastest growing aspect of present-day aviation. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles are revolutionizing the conduct of military operations, and some law enforcement, border security and other civil activities are being undertaken by UAVs as well. Very small hand-launched models are aiding soldiers, while police and firemen will soon be able to search inside buildings where danger lurks.
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.
Bental Industries, an Israel-based manufacturer of motion systems, is launching its hybrid engine for unmanned aerial vehicles here in Europe, having already introduced it to the U.S. market. Designed for mini to mid-size UAVs, the system combines the benefits of an electric motor and a fuel engine.
For developers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), combining sufficient speed, a high payload, maneuverability, low fuel consumption, high endurance and minimum takeoff and landing distances is a dream scenario. Italian company Nimbus is trying to make this proposition a reality with its Metaplane.
Don’t be alarmed if you see some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) going about their business in the skies over Switzerland. While authorities in the U.S. and the rest of Europe try to reconcile safety issues with a growing demand to allow UAVs to fly in civil airspace, Switzerland already has been proving the concept.
First-time Heli-Expo exhibitor Cybaero (Booth No. 150) is attracting a lot of attention with a tiny helicopter UAV powered by a rotary diesel engine. The Apid Vantage UAV has a removable nose for quick swapping of payloads, an electric tail rotor and three-blade rotor system.
A new chapter in civil aviation history began yesterday when the FAA issued the first airworthiness certificate for a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the General Atomics Altair. The UAV, a high-altitude version of the U.S. military's Predator B, is designed to perform scientific and commercial research missions. The Altair has an 86-foot wingspan, a 52,000-foot ceiling and an endurance of 30 hours.
An impressive array of innovative, advanced and sophisticated products and systems mark a significant increase in Israel’s presence at the Paris Air Show this year. A new pavilion accommodates Israel’s 12 leading defense companies, while an array of products for civilian markets are also featured.
“Elbit covers the tactical side of the spectrum, from the diminutive Skylark to the Hermes series,” claimed Eli Yitzhaki, the company’s vice president, business development and marketing. But while the Hermes 450 provides the backbone of Israel defense force UAV operations, the Skylark mini-UAV is showing great promise during development trials undertaken by the Israeli Army.