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.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
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.
EADS is moving forward with its Talarion medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, with an eye to flying it in 2014. In the meantime, its Barracuda demonstrator is gearing up for a series of trials to demonstrate the employment of UAVs in a netcentric environment.
The U.S. Air Force has finally acknowledged the existence of a stealthy air vehicle operating over Afghanistan, after another photo of the so-called “Beast of Kandahar” was published on the French Web site Secret Defense. Designated the RQ-170 Sentinel, the tailless flying wing was designed by the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, and is providing reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward-deployed combat forces, the USAF said.
Kazak Operator Receives Two More AW139s
Selex Galileo, which produces the Falco tactical UAV, has recently integrated multiple reconnaissance sensors on the vehicle. With an mtow of only 1,078 pounds, the Falco may be the smallest UAV to carry both video and radar sensors. The Anglo-Italian company manufactures the sensors and the ground control system, as well as the air vehicle and its avionics.
Goodrich ISR Systems has been on the acquisition trail and some of the resulting technology is on display here at the Dubai Airshow (Stand W360). Best known for the DB-110 aerial sensor it has sold to six countries, the Goodrich unit is now marketing additional aerial sensors after buying Recon/Optical Inc. (ROI) last year.
Last month Saab announced a partnership with Ultra Electronics’ UK-based Communication and Integrated Systems division covering the joint exploration and exploitation of the market for vertical takeoff and land unmanned aerial vehicle systems (VTUAS). Earlier, in May, Saab announced another partnership with Swiss UAV, which added the Neo and Koax vehicles to create a VTUAS family along with the Saab-developed Skeldar.