Textron’s Lycoming Engines division has found new markets for its man-rated piston engines in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) segment. For Lycoming, which is celebrating its 85th year manufacturing aircraft engines, its participation in current UAS developments isn’t the company’s first foray into providing engines for unmanned aircraft.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
The U.S. Army’s 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB), based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, has fielded the latest model Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter in Afghanistan with impressive results, Army and Boeing officials said. The deployment has also afforded the “Tigersharks” an opportunity to direct unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) using the AH-64E’s UAS tactical datalink.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is introducing new helicopter safety technology that allows flight in degraded visual environments. The program is an example of how the group is diversifying its activities to achieve a more balanced portfolio between civil and defense markets. Another example is its new TaxiBot system for more fuel-efficient airliner taxiing, which has just completed certification testing at Germany’s Frankfurt International Airport.
With its unmanned air vehicles having achieved more than 1.2 million operational flight hours and serving with more than 50 operators, IAI is one of the leading companies involved in this sector. Here at Farnborough International 2014 it is promoting a wide range of its UAVs, from the 10,230-pound Heron TP to the nine-pound vertical takeoff Ghost, along with related technologies such as advanced electro-optical, sigint (signals intelligence) and maritime patrol payloads.
If you build it, they will come. The UK National Aeronautical Centre (Hall 1 Stand C9) has answered the first part of that challenge by making available the facilities to fly large unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) beyond a pilot’s visual line of sight, in an environment that also accommodates manned aviation. The center now awaits a response from what is expected to be a boom market for commercial UAS.
The International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites (ICATS) welcomed CATUAV Tech Center (CTC) in Barcelona as its fifth member here at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday, adding Spain to the list of countries involved in the partnership. The other countries represented in the group include Canada, the U.S., the UK and France.
In response to increased scrutiny of armed UAV operations by human rights groups, British legislators and the United Nations, the British Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) has stepped up efforts to reassure the public. Late last year, it allowed media (including AIN) access to the Royal Air Force Reaper ground control station (GCS) at RAF Waddington for the first time. New documents describing UK operational procedures, including targeting, have been released. The UK is one of only three countries to have fired weapons from UAVs in combat, the others being Israel and the U.S.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is showcasing its T129 ATK attack helicopter and its Anka Male UAV here at Farnborough International Airshow for the first time. The burgeoning aerospace giant needs to find export customers soon if TAI is to go some way toward self-sufficiency. It is no surprise then that marketing efforts of the T129 ATAK (tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter) have been stepped up this year, with the company also displaying it at the Bahrain International Airshow in January and ILA Berlin in May.
Integrating remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) into civilian airspace in Europe is not going to be easy. Official programs are many, work is extensive, detailed and ongoing, but anyone expecting an early resolution is going to be disappointed. This was the picture gleaned from a series of presentations at last month’s RPAS Today: Opportunities and Challenges conference, run by the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.
The European agency tasked with keeping watch over the EU’s external borders, Frontex, is enthusiastic about adopting remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to help them in that job. But significant challenges–some technical but the majority legal–mean that unmanned aircraft are unlikely to be deployed to help defend EU borders in the near future.