The U.S. Navy recently ordered five more MQ-8C Fire Scouts, bringing to 19 the number of Bell 407-based unmanned helicopters it plans to buy from Northrop Grumman. But the Fire Scout program faces scrutiny by Congress for cost overruns.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system (UClass) air segment to four contractors on April 17. The service expects to release a final RFP later this year.
A nonprofit search-and-rescue organization has asked a federal court to review an FAA order that it stop using a model aircraft to assist in its search efforts. Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search & Recovery, based in Dickinson, Texas, filed a petition for review of the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on April 21.
The FAA granted a certificate of authorization (COA) yesterday to the North Dakota Department of Commerce to fly the Draganflyer X4-ES quadcopter at the Northern Plains unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test range, the first of six national UAS test sites to begin operations. This two-year COA marks the first authorization from the FAA for a UAS test site.
The FAA granted a certificate of authorization (COA) to the North Dakota Department of Commerce to fly the Draganflyer X4-ES quadcopter at the Northern Plains unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test range, the first of six national UAS test sites to begin operations. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the authorization in Grand Forks on April 21.
Embry-Riddle Worldwide University will offer a workshop on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in San Diego, Calif., on April 24 and 25. Faculty with specific UAS operations and research experience will teach the workshop. Topics include an introduction to and discussion of the impact of UAS, design issues, legislation, certification and regulation, applications, operational profiles, business opportunities and the future of UAS. Continuing education units are available.
For the second time in less than a month, a major Internet-related company has acquired a firm developing a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which could serve as a node to provide Internet connectivity from the stratosphere.
The European Commission proposed new guidelines last week designed to harmonize rules and regulations that dictate the operation of unmanned aerial systems, which the EC designates as remotely piloted aircraft systems. Potential European operators are eager to put unmanned vehicles into service as soon as possible. The proposed new European guidelines will look at safety, security, privacy, data protection and insurance liability issues.
The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft is progressing through its flight-test program, but still without a “sense-and-avoid” system that would protect against collisions with other aircraft. The program office said it is taking a “layered approach” to meeting the requirement until it finds a technology solution.
The Grand Forks, N.D., Sheriff’s Department announced in late March that it has received FAA authorization to fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) throughout its jurisdiction at night, making it the first law enforcement agency in the U.S. to gain such authorization.