A new version of the General Atomics Predator/Reaper UAV series with multiple sensor control is ready for deployment to Afghanistan after successful trials. A U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle was fitted with two additional EO/IR sensors under each wing.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) earlier this month introduced the Shadow M2, a growth version of its Shadow 200 UAS with increased payload capacity for signals intelligence, electronic warfare and other new missions.
L-3 Unmanned Systems of Dallas has completed a series of capability enhancements to its Viking 400 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) supplied to the U.S. Special Operations Command under a 2009 contract. Added under the Block 1A upgrade are a new electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret and digital datalink.
Boeing plans a November 2 rollout ceremony in Mesa, Ariz., for the first upgraded AH-64D Apache Block III destined for the U.S. Army.
The expected release in December of a proposed rule governing the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the U.S. national airspace system (NAS) will be a definitive step in the phased introduction of robotic aircraft in civilian airspace.
A cooperation between General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Selex Galileo will enable the integration and control of non-U.S. sensors on the Predator and Reaper UAV series. Selex Galileo has developed a “platform agnostic” open architecture named SkyIstar for unmanned aerial systems. The Anglo-Italian company will now integrate the SeaSpray 7500E radar on a Predator-B.
AeroVironment, manufacturer of a line of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used by the U.S. military and other forces, unveiled a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), man-portable UAS named Shrike.
By the time that Tripoli fell with surprising ease to rebel forces, NATO had flown more than 20,000 sorties during Operation Unified Protector. More than one third of these were strike missions, although weapons were not released on every sortie.
U.S. special or covert forces are using hand-launched UAVs disguised as large birds to monitor terrorist movements along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Pakistan Frontier Corps recovered one such UAV after it crashed on August 25 near one of its border forts in Baluchistan.