European missile house MBDA unveiled the results of its latest Concept Visions initiative yesterday: the CVS301 Vigilus. This concept seeks to define a system that could provide manned and unmanned aircraft with on-demand effects from around 2035.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
Aurora Flight Sciences is displaying its Diamond DA42 optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) on the Diamond Aircraft stand here (OE18). The low-cost intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solution is compatible with NATO standards, and “combines the best of manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft capabilities,” said U.S.-based Aurora.
Called the Centaur, the OPA can be self-deployed, as its ground control equipment fits in the aircraft’s cargo compartment. Conversion from manned to unmanned-configuration takes two crewmembers less than four hours.
L-3 Communications CEO Michael Strianese has been urging the various divisions of this diverse defense systems and services group to collaborate more fruitfully with each other to exploit shifting opportunities in their various markets.
Airborne full-motion video technology (FMV) is advancing so fast that the NATO standard (STANAG 4609) cannot keep pace, according to George DeCock, director of international EO/IR sensors, L-3 Wescam. The digital revolution has been closely followed by high-definition TV, uncooled infrared detectors, four-axis stabilization and processing and display innovations.
Compelled by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the FAA released information in April identifying the public and private entities authorized to operate UAVs in U.S. domestic airspace.
Aerovironment revealed that 19 countries have now bought “thousands” of Puma, Raven and Wasp hand-launched UAVs. At the Satory arms fair in Paris, the company announced new orders from Sweden for the Puma and Wasp, and from Denmark for the Puma. Denmark acquired the Raven in 2007.
The developer of a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that is orders of magnitude smaller than other radars was awarded a $24 million contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Natick, Mass., to build a “lightweight, ultra-wideband” SAR for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for completion in 2017.
Jamming of GPS signals by North Korea may have contributed to the fatal crash of a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAV near Incheon, South Korea, on May 10. The small helicopter crashed into its ground control van, killing a Schiebel engineer and injuring the two remote pilots, both Koreans. The jamming started on April 28 and disrupted passenger flights into Seoul’s two airports, Kimpo and Incheon. South Korean government officials told local media that the jamming originated from the border town of Kaesong.
Northrop Grumman gained a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract to supply five Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs with advanced multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) radars for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.
We’ve been hearing about unmanned aircraft strikes on suspected terrorists in the tribal regions of Pakistan, in Afghanistan and lately in Somalia and Yemen, for years now. So it’s surprising that the U.S. government’s first official acknowledgement that it uses remotely piloted aircraft—drones, if you must—to take down terrorists came just one week ago.