Boeing has been awarded a three-year $9.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop and demonstrate technologies that enable multiple small unmanned aerial vehicles to coordinate with each other and a manned airborne control station to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
Boeing successfully flew its ScanEagle Compressed Carriage (SECC) unmanned airborne system (UAS) at a test facility in eastern Oregon on May 12, the company announced this week. The 75-minute flight evaluated the unmanned aircraft’s flight characteristics in a simulated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission.
Humans beware. Computers want your job, and considering that they’re smarter, better looking and will work for no pay, they’ll probably get it someday. For professional pilots that could mean preparing for the day when the captain is a software app and you’re just along for the ride.
Unmanned air vehicles for cargo duties have been studied for some years, but the current difficulties being experienced by U.S. and other forces in Afghanistan has lent a new urgency to development of this concept. IEDs and ambushes have taken a heavy toll on the MSRs (main supply routes) along which the military is forced to move its materiel.
Singapore-based Stratech Systems Ltd. yesterday signed an agreement covering the establishment of a joint venture with Israeli UAV specialists Aeronautics. The new entity, Stratech Aeronautics, will operate from Singapore and will initially fo-
cus on the Asia-Pacific region. Not only will the new teaming enhance and market its existing products, but will ultimately develop new offerings.
Elbit Systems (Stand N65) is showing a big-screen multimedia presentation here at Singapore entitled “Networking in Action.” The presentation features real-life combat situations and demonstrates how the “systems’ interoperability, in offensive operations on enemy territory, enables achievement of crucial objectives.” It also allows viewers to experience combat experiences and missions with special effects replicating how the systems work.
As was true of much of the industry, Israel Aerospace Industries saw a fairly steep dip in sales during 2009, largely due to a marked softening in demand on the civil side of its business. Published financial results for the first three quarters of 2009 showed sales slipping by about 25 percent on 2008 and there were few signs that the fourth quarter numbers will have reversed this trend.
The U.S. Air Force is wresting with the manpower, training and cultural issues that surround the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In his presentation to the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC) last November,* USAF commander General Norton Schwartz outlined the new terminology and career fields that the service is introducing in response.
Helicopters can perform a wide array of useful tasks that cannot be done at all or as well in a fixed-wing aircraft, so it probably stands to reason that an unmanned rotorcraft would soon prove its worth alongside fixed-wing unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 is fast finding acceptance for a variety of applications, such as pipeline surveillance for an undisclosed customer in Malaysia.
Singapore last year joined the expanding list of countries that have tested and/or introduced the ScanEagle, a UAV that was designed in the 1990s as a maritime monitoring tool that could be launched and recovered by fishing ships. The world being a dangerous place, military surveillance applications have long since become the staple diet for the makers, Insitu.