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Guardium Undergoing Operational Testing

Above: Unmanned Little Bird
Below: Black eagle 50

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September 2009 Unmanned Systems Brief

IAI Shows Progress with Mosquito Micro UAV

IAI is nearing the first delivery of a prototype version of the Mosquito micro UAV, as part of the technological evaluation of this new concept UAV. Similar to 'micro class' UAVs, Mosquito weighs in the sub kilogram range, but unlike other systems scratching the top of the weight class, Mosquito weighs only 500 grams. Nevertheless, it can operate on a 30 minute mission, at distances up to 3,000 meters from the launch point. According to IAI officials the Mosquito can endure winds and gusts up to 25 knots. The system is not new, Defense Update has first reported on the Mosquito in 2005. In the past four years the development of the systemcontinues, alas at a slower pace, lacking a clear customer requirement or market. But IAI's developers persisted in their effort to improve the system, with encouragement from Israel's MOD Defense Research & Development Directorate (DR&DD). (Read more...)

Israel Embarks on a development of advanced UGV

G-NIUS will Develop the Next-Generation Unmanned Ground Vehicle dubbed Nahshon for the Israeli Defense Forces. The new unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) will offer improved operational flexibility and performance beyond the level provided by the current Guardium, designed for security operations and will provide combat support. (Read more...

August 2009 Unmanned Systems Brief

Unmanned Vehicles Having a Field Day at AUVSI's 5th Unmanned Systems Demonstration

The 5th biennial unmanned systems demonstration hosted by the U.S. Navy PEO U&W and Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) was held 10 August at the Webster Field Maryland, an auxiliary airfield adjacent to U.S. Navy Patuxent River naval air station. Two years ago, Defense Update covered the 4th demonstration held at the same location and our current coverage will relate to the previous event, highlighting the evolution of systems displayed in both events and the trends evident from the current demonstration. (Read more...)

July 2009 Unmanned Systems Brief


Patroller UAV Completes Flight Testing Campaign

Sagem and Stemme have successfully carried out the first series of test flights of the Patroller long-endurance UAV system. The first flight took place on June 30, 2009 at Kemijarvi in Finland. This facility provides the test site of Robonic Ltd, a Finland-based subsidiary of Sagem, specializing in manufacturing pneumatic driven catapult launchers for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Dominator II - an Unmanned DA-42 Performs First Flight

Last week, Israel-based Aeronautics Defense Systems successfully completed the first flight of the 'Dominator II' Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (Israeli code name "Oz"). The Dominator II is based on the Austrian Diamond DA-42 manned aircraft. The system's flight testing evaluated the performance of a variety of sub-assemblies integrated into the system to convert it into an unmanned platform.

Global Hawk Shows Progress

The first Block 40 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft was unveiled at Northrop Grumman. The aircraft will begin flight testing next year and will be one of 15 to operate from the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, beginning in 2010. Designated AF-18, this Block 40 aircraft was the 27th Global Hawk built since the program's inception in 1995 and is scheduled to begin flight testing next month. Carrying an advanced, all-weather multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) system as its primary sensor, the Block 40 aircraft will provide air and ground surveillance detecting and tracking numerous moving target in the air and on the ground, providing warfighters with unprecedented situational awareness and targeting capability. (Read more...)
Further progress is reported with the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) version of the Global Hawk. According to an operational analysis provided by Northrop Grumman, the new unmanned aircraft is the only asset that could effectively support the counter-piracy task force in the Indian Ocean. (Read more...)

UAVs sales are booming

UAVs sales are booming around the world, with the USA presenting the highest demand for unmanned systems. U.S. spending on unmanned systems has steadily increased since 2001. According to a Forecast International study, the Pentagon has set aside about $5.4 billion in its FY 10 budget for unmanned systems, 18.4 per cent above FY 09 allocations. FY 10 spending consists of $3.55 billion for procurement and $1.82 billion for research and development with the Air Force and Army competing for the largest segment - both are allocating $2.13 billion for acquisition and R&D. (Read more…)

Unmanned Cargo Deliveries

Studying UVS new roles and applications, the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is evaluating new means to resupply forward units; among the systems to be evaluated are the unmanned version of the K-MAX helicopter, developed by Kaman and Lockheed Martin and the A160T Hummingbird developed by Boeing under a DARPA program. "The Marines have identified an urgent need for unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver supplies in lieu of putting trucks and personnel on dangerous roads," said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. (Read more…) The MULE, a smaller load carrying aerial vehicle capable of carrying about 300kg and operate safely in urban or jungle area is being developed in Israel, by Urban Aeronautics and is expected to make its first flight soon (Read more...)

Gearing Up for Tier II/STUAS

Another US Marine Corps program drawing a growing attention among UAV manufacturers is the STUAS, formerly known as 'Tier II UAV'. Several companies have already announced their intentions to bid, including AAI, betting its newly announced Aerosnde 4.7, Raytheon, competing with the KillerBee 4 system originally designed by Swift. After Northrop Grumman acquired Swift UAV business, Raytheon secured access to the system and practically bought the relevant segment from Northrop Grumman. Other companies competing for STUAS are Elbit Systems, teaming with General Dynamics, offering the new Hermes 90 platform. Boeing is offering the Integrator, beefed-up Scan Eagle for the Marine Corps program. (Read more...)

U.S. Southern Command Evaluates the role of UAVs in Counter Drug Ops

Under another test program, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has evaluated the use of unmanned systems in its drug interdiction warfare in Central America. SOUTHCOM completed the evaluation of an Israeli IAI/Malat Heron I unmanned system that operated for several weeks from el-Salvador. The command plans to continue its capabilities assessment with future evaluation of AeroVironment's Aqua Wasp and Puma mini-UAVs, as well as Northrop Grumman's MQ-8B Fire Scout and A-160T Hummingbird. (read more…)

AeroVironment Reports Progress With DARPA UAV Programs

AeroVironment has inched a step forward with DARPA's Persistent, Perch and Stare Air Vehicle System (SP2S) program, receiving a $5.5 million award to continue development beyond the current phase, which calls for the delivery of five 'Block 0' systems for testing. The new contract will pay for 10 additional systems to be used for limited user test by the military. (Read more…) AVis also working on another DARPA program, exploring a nano-air-vehicle that uses flaping wings to hover and fly. In January the vehicle performed a groundbreaking 20 second flight, AV has recently been awarded a follow-on contract to further develop the system. (Read more...)

Technology Paves the Way for Integrating UAVs in Controlled Airspace

A new consortium established by the European Defense Agency (EDA) is seeking to establish technological standards and solutions for the integration of unmanned aerial systems in controlled airspace. The group will study and develop 'sense and avoid' technologies and assess their use in future unmanned aerial systems, enabling 'Mid Air Collision Avoidance System' (MidCAS). (Read more…) More work is undertaken by Rockwell Collins, seeking advanced procedures and techniques facilitating UAV operations in crowded airspace. (Read more)

Vertical takeoff Unmanned Aerial Systems at the Paris Air Show

As evident at the Paris Airshow, unmanned Vertical Take off and Landing is becoming a mature technology, with a number of systems presented by European, American and Israeli companies. Among these systems were the Mule and Picador form the Israeli companies Urban Aeronautics and Aeronautics Defense Systems. Another company that has not made it to Paris, recently launched a small, autonomous Black Eagle 50 rotorcraft in Israel. Steadicopter has introduced a lightweight, unmanned rotorcraft designed for surveillance and security applications for military and commercial sue. The new helicopter employs a proprietary flight control system enabling fully autonomous operation. It will use a new and lightweight multi-sensor payload developed by TopiVision. (Read More...)