Don’t be alarmed if you see some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) going about their business in the skies over Switzerland. While authorities in the U.S. and the rest of Europe try to reconcile safety issues with a growing demand to allow UAVs to fly in civil airspace, Switzerland already has been proving the concept.
A new chapter in civil aviation history began yesterday when the FAA issued the first airworthiness certificate for a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the General Atomics Altair. The UAV, a high-altitude version of the U.S. military's Predator B, is designed to perform scientific and commercial research missions. The Altair has an 86-foot wingspan, a 52,000-foot ceiling and an endurance of 30 hours.
Honeywell announced that its 13-inch-diameter, 12.5-pound surveillance aircraft has successfully completed its first untethered free flight at a test facility near Laguna, New Mexico. The ducted-fan micro air vehicle, developed as part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency advanced concept technology demonstration program, is designed to provide soldiers with improved situation awareness without exposing them to enemy fire.
Qinetiq (Hall 2B in the UK Pavilion, Stand J13/4) announced it had received a contract from Belgian space systems company Verheart to build a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft designed to fly at 60,000 feet for months at a time. The Pegasus high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (HALE UAV) is part of a €11 million project awarded to Verheart by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.
To prioritize and promote unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the United Kingdom, the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVS) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see resources focused on accelerating the implementation of UAV systems and making UK industry globally competitive.
To many, the notion that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will one day fly alongside passenger airliners and other aircraft, in fair weather and foul, still seems like science fiction. Yet civil aviation authorities in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and elsewhere are now finalizing rules under which these operations will take place, possibly as soon as 2010.
Companies in both the U.S. and Europe are forging ahead with technology demonstrations for unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAV), but the military has yet to establish exactly what it wants from its future UCAVS. While this question remains unanswered, the development of production UCAVs will be delayed and budgets withheld.
A number of multirole airborne systems for earth remote sensing (ERS) have been developed by Irkut to equip both unmanned and optionally piloted aerial vehicles. The systems are the result of research and development carried out by the company and its partners since 1999 for the systems detection and monitoring of emergencies. Tasks envisioned include the search for survivors and provision of information to rapid response agencies.
Having flown for the first time on May 29, Alenia Aeronautica’s Sky-X unmanned technology demonstrator is making its debut at the Dubai show, appearing in the static display. The Italian group is also hoping to attract regional orders for its C-27J transport, and ATR 42MP and ATR 72ASW maritime patrol platforms, models of which are on display at its stand (C301).
The Firefly throwaway micro unmanned aerial vehicle (MUAV) system displayed for the first time by Integrated Dynamics (Stand W301) places the Pakistani company in the forefront of this technology. Designed to enable a soldier to see what is behind a building or over a hill, the Firefly is a rocket-boosted glider carrying a day/night digital camera.