General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and the U.S. Army have demonstrated a precision-guided mortar for use on small UAVs. The test, conducted under the Army’s Air Drop Mortar program, was intended to show a rapid target response capability sought by the Army, Marine Corps and special forces.
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) awarded a $10 million contract to Boeing’s Phantom Works research and development unit last month to study a long-endurance, autonomous UAV for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and potentially for strike capability. The four-year study of Boeing’s Dominator UAV will also investigate carriage of the Textron Common Smart Submunition (CSS).
In the last few days Selex Galileo has flight-tested its Falco UAV for the first time with the company’s Gabbiano T20N radar installed. Typically the Falco carries the Selex Galileo PicoSAR multi-mode AESA radar in the nose, but the Gabbiano provides an option giving enhanced maritime capability.
On October 6 Israel shot down a UAV over the northern Negev desert, south of Hebron and near the country’s nuclear weapons site at Dimona. The UAV entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean and was intercepted by F-16s from Ramon air base. According to Israeli media reports, the first Python missile fired at the drone missed, but a second was successful. The Israeli air force has released a video purporting to show the engagement.
Rheinmetall Airborne Systems revealed a new fixed-wing/VTOL hybrid UAV at the ILA Berlin airshow. Displayed in full-scale model form, the Tactical Utility TU-150 is a joint development with Swiss UAV, the company that produced the VTOL UAV now marketed by Saab as the Skeldar.
Bombardier Aerospace recently delivered a Global 6000 to the U.S. Air Force, the fourth Global-series aircraft added to the existing USAF inventory with E-11A military designation. The Air Force plans to equip this new addition with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, in time for deployment next summer. This system will allow battlefield communications systems to share data.
“Decision errors in aviation are typically not slips or lapses, but mistakes,” concludes the introduction to the European Helicopter Safety Implementation Team’s new guide to rotorcraft decision making. “In other words, the problem doesn’t lie with a failure to execute a correct decision, but with making a poor decision in the first instance.”
Embraer Defense and Security delivered the first of three EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the government of India on August 13. The aircraft, fitted with an Indian-developed airborne early warning radar, was delivered at Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
France and the UK signed MoUs for the first phase of a Future Combat Air System (FCAS) based on a UCAV, and for industrial and military cooperation on the Watchkeeper tactical UAV. But although British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond reported “excellent progress on UAVs” after a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, no agreement was reached on joint-study funding for a Male UAV.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) selected Pilatus to provide a complete pilot training system based on the PC-21 turboprop trainer. The package will include ground-based training devices and extensive logistics support and maintenance. The newly established QEAF air academy will receive the first of 24 aircraft in 2014 so that training can start in mid-2015. Pilatus has signed a long-term performance-based support contract.