Elbit Systems (Stand N65) is showing a big-screen multimedia presentation here at Singapore entitled “Networking in Action.” The presentation features real-life combat situations and demonstrates how the “systems’ interoperability, in offensive operations on enemy territory, enables achievement of crucial objectives.” It also allows viewers to experience combat experiences and missions with special effects replicating how the systems work.
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.
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.
The movers and shakers of the airpower world were out in force here Saturday for the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference. Organized by the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis–the UAE-based think tank–the conference featured presentations from nine air force commanders or their deputies.
A second copy of the Barracuda combat UAV demonstrator made four successful flights from Goose Bay, Labrador, according to EADS. The first Barracuda crashed on an early test flight in Spain in 2006. The demonstrator flew autonomously with monitoring from the ground station for safety purposes only, EADS said. The tests form part of the “Agile UAV in Network Centric Environment (NCE)” study commissioned by the German Defence Ministry.
Israel’s Elbit showed the latest member of its UAV family for the first time at the Paris Air Show in June. The Hermes 90 has an 85-kilogram mtow, of which 25 kilograms can be sensor payload. It can be operated by a crew of two, who can turn it round between missions in about 15 minutes. Endurance is over 18 hours at an altitude of 15,000 feet.
EADS hopes to persuade France, Germany and Spain to launch development of its Advanced UAV, now named Talarion, a medium/high-altitude surveillance drone. But evidence of any progress by EADS in the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) sector was entirely missing at this month’s Paris Air Show.
Hermes 90, the latest member of Elbit’s UAV family, is on show here at Paris for the first time. Its appearance comes shortly after the creation of a joint venture between the Israeli company and General Dynamics to promote the sale of unmanned air systems into the U.S., which Elbit now considers a “home” market.
The Teal Group’s latest Market Profile and Forecast for the unmanned aerial vehicle concludes that expenditure on UAVs will rise from an annual $4.4 billion in 2009 to $8.7 billion by 2018. At the same time, the aerospace analysis group forecasts a rise in UAV payload expenditure from $2 billion to nearly $5 billion.