Unmanned aerial vehicle
Among the debutantes here at the 2012 Singapore Airshow is the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s latest UAV, the Heron 1 from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Singapore’s armed forces have acquired a number of Heron 1s under their “third-generation transformation” program, and they are replacing IAI Searchers with the UAV Command. Deliveries began last year. The UAVs are equipped with IAI’s TAMAM MOSP (multi-mission optronic stabilized payload) and offer a significant improvement in sensor capability, endurance and autonomous operation.
The latest UAV from ST Aerospace, the Skyblade 360–a mini-UAV that has been designed to use fuel cell technology to extend its endurance to an impressive six hours–is on display for the first time here at the show. ST Engineering has identified unmanned systems as one of seven competency clusters within its aerospace sector, and has been working with DSO National Laboratories to develop a number of vehicles.
Israel has a major presence here at the Singapore Airshow, arranged into a national pavilion under the auspices of SIBAT, the Israeli MOD’s defense export and cooperation division. Nine companies are exhibiting as part of the pavilion, between them offering what Brig. Gen. Shmaya Avieli, SIBAT’s director, describes as, “a wide range of Israeli technologies in the aviation, space and defense sectors, that together create a full and complete solution.”
Get ready for some serious angst. The FAA reauthorization just passed by the U.S. House and Senate includes specific direction to the FAA regarding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Elements of the legislation include a Sept.
The Pentagon is now spending $3.3 billion annually to develop and buy unmanned aerial systems (UAS), but this sum is still only 8 percent of the total devoted to all aircraft, according to a new report on UAS by the U.S. Congressional Research Service. The report mostly rehashes previously published material, but it does contain an updated inventory of UAS platforms in service provided by the DoD’s UAS Task Force.
I have been following with interest the developing story of how Iran has reportedly managed to capture some of the U.S.’s most sensitive surveillance technology, and I still have to shake my head at what a waste it was.
The American subsidiary of MBDA has bought the Viper Strike weapons business and production line from Northrop Grumman. The Huntsville, Ala.-based activity was Northrop Grumman’s only business unit to offer a direct-fires weapon. This is MBDA’s first acquisition in the U.S., where the pan-European company wants to expand “through a combination of acquisitions, organic growth and partnerships with other prime contractors.”
Iran claimed December 4 to have shot down a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV along the country’s eastern border. Five days later, an almost intact airframe closely resembling the secret airframe was shown on Iranian television. The NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul admitted that operators of “a US unarmed reconnaissance UAV” had lost control of it during “a mission over western Afghanistan late last week”.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) of California belatedly revealed that its Lynx multimode radar had been flown successfully on an aerostat during a U.S. Air Force exercise last July.