Honeywell announced that its 13-inch-diameter, 12.5-pound surveillance aircraft has successfully completed its first untethered free flight at a test facility near Laguna, New Mexico. The ducted-fan micro air vehicle, developed as part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency advanced concept technology demonstration program, is designed to provide soldiers with improved situation awareness without exposing them to enemy fire.
UAVs and drones
Qinetiq (Hall 2B in the UK Pavilion, Stand J13/4) announced it had received a contract from Belgian space systems company Verheart to build a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft designed to fly at 60,000 feet for months at a time. The Pegasus high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (HALE UAV) is part of a €11 million project awarded to Verheart by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.
To prioritize and promote unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the United Kingdom, the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVS) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see resources focused on accelerating the implementation of UAV systems and making UK industry globally competitive.
To many, the notion that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will one day fly alongside passenger airliners and other aircraft, in fair weather and foul, still seems like science fiction. Yet civil aviation authorities in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and elsewhere are now finalizing rules under which these operations will take place, possibly as soon as 2010.
If anyone can make UAVs sexy, it must be the Italians. For 30 years, Galileo Avionica’s Meteor division has been building and selling the sleek, jet-powered Mirach target drone. Now the company is turning the drone into a high-subsonic, multi-purpose reconnaissance vehicle that will fly for the first time later this year.
“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.
Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS): As well as its “black world” programs such as the Lockheed Martin “son of DarkStar” that was reportedly used in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role over Iraq, the U.S. is developing a UCAV in a publicly visible program to satisfy the needs of the U.S. Air Force and Navy.
Companies in both the U.S. and Europe are forging ahead with technology demonstrations for unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAV), but the military has yet to establish exactly what it wants from its future UCAVS. While this question remains unanswered, the development of production UCAVs will be delayed and budgets withheld.
A number of multirole airborne systems for earth remote sensing (ERS) have been developed by Irkut to equip both unmanned and optionally piloted aerial vehicles. The systems are the result of research and development carried out by the company and its partners since 1999 for the systems detection and monitoring of emergencies. Tasks envisioned include the search for survivors and provision of information to rapid response agencies.
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.