Powered by quiet motors and armed with conventional and infrared cameras and other specialized sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more and more attractive to law-enforcement agencies. Not surprisingly, both the FBI and the Office of Homeland Security are investigating how they might use UAVs for covert surveillance of suspected criminal or terrorist activity in the U.S., by night and day and in all-weather conditions.
Plano, Texas Police threatened to close the airspace over future news events after helicopters from nearby television stations disrupted their attempts to end an armed, 12-hour standoff in March. Police said noise from orbiting television stations’ news helicopters hampered tactical officers’ ability to communicate with the suspect.
Some FlightSafety International students will start evaluating a prototype biometric student identification card at the company’s facility in Vero Beach, Fla., where much foreign-airline ab initio training is conducted. The card, developed by the National Air Transportation Association, contains a photograph and fingerprint of the student.
The U.S. is pushing ahead with a plan to share Global Hawk data and operations with Pacific Rim countries, but has still to define the scheme. Gen.
With no fewer than three on show, the Elbit Hermes 450 outnumbers any other machine type in the static park at Singapore ’08. The UAV has proved a major success for Elbit, with a number of important overseas sales, including to Singapore. The type has now logged more than 70,000 hours–mostly in operations supporting the Israel Defence Force. It can carry a 150-kilogram payload and flies at 16,000 to 18,000 feet.
The proposed Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system for NATO was scaled back when program officials quietly dropped plans to convert four Airbus A321 airliners after deeming it too expensive. NATO also cancelled development of the Transatlantic Cooperative AGS Radar (TCAR), which would have been the main airborne sensor for the AGS.
China’s Air Traffic Management Bureau has selected Sensis to deploy automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) equipment at two airports in central China. The ground sites at Chengdu Shuangliu International and Jiuzhai Huanglong Airports will mark the country’s first formal trial of 1090 ADS-B technology for use by commercial aircraft. China eventually plans to roll out a nationwide network of ADS-B sites.
Before September 11, biometrics was just one of the hundreds of new high-tech buzzwords flooding into the English language, and one that was meaningless to most people in the aviation industry. But experts say that over the next 12 months, few of us will not have experienced, and benefited from, its effects.
Dominating IAI’s exhibit area here at Le Bourget is the Heron TP, a turboprop-powered medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV. It is the first public showing of this craft, whose 85-foot wingspan nearly rivals that of an ATR 72 airliner, which is five times heavier. Heron TP is the latest and largest of a long line of UAVs developed by IAI’s Malat Division.
Claimed to be the first UAV system to be built in accordance with the new international UAV Systems Airworthiness Requirements, the Ruag Aerospace Super Ranger has been designed to fill an important gap. The company’s market research has shown that some existing UAV tactical systems operators want a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance UAV (MALE) capability but cannot afford it.