viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

Northrop Grumman’s Unmarked Gray Helicopter Drone

It appears to be a smaller version of the company’s MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter drone, which was tested for the first time earlier this month by the U.S. Navy.

Navy buys one Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.,awarded an $8.8 million contract this week to Boeing Insitu Inc. in Bingen, Wash., for one low-rate-initial-production of RQ-21A Blackjack UAV, to include air vehicles, ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, and air vehicle support equipment.

The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 is a twin-boom, single-engine, monoplane UAV for surveillance and reconnaissance. The Blackjack — so-named last September — is eight feet long with a 16-foot wingspan designed to carry multi-sensor payloads in large pod below its nose. The UAV can fly as fast as 104 miles per hour, cruises at 63 miles per hour, can fly as long as 24 hours, and can fly as high as 19,500 feet.

It is a version of the Insitu Integrator UAV. The multi-mission RQ-21A Blackjack’s open-architecture payload bays can be customized with visible-light and infrared cameras, communications and other tools to give warfighters on the forward edge of battle situational awareness information. The Blackjack’s standard sensor payload consists of a visible-light imager, mid-wave infrared imager, laser rangefinder, infrared marker, communications, and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

The RQ-21A will provide persistent maritime and land-based tactical Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) data collection and dissemination capabilities to the warfighter. For the Navy the Blackjack will provide persistent RSTA information to Navy ships, Marine Corps land forces, Navy expeditionary combat command forces and Navy special warfare units. In the future the U.S. Air Force may use the RQ-21A for persistent RSTA for security forces, integrated base defense, convoy protection, and weather analysis.

UAS offer Journalists a Wider View

UAVs have proved most valuable in providing film footage or photography of things that are difficult to reach, like wildlife or geographic formations. “What drones give you is anywhere, anytime access to the sky,” said Chris Anderson, a former editor of Wired magazine who runs a drone company. “That perspective is something a journalist just wouldn’t have unless he waited for officials, or hired a plane.”

Journalism programs, including those at the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, have started drone journalism courses. Columbia does not teach hands-on skills, but students at Missouri have used drones over the Missouri River for a report about hydraulic fracturing and over the prairie for a story about controlled burns.

Earthflight, a 2011 BBC documentary about birds, offers one vivid example of the technology. A drone with especially small and quiet rotors took astonishing shots of a flock of two million flamingos. Whereas a helicopter would have spooked the skittish birds, the narrator explains, “the drone hardly ruffles a feather as it captures a view of the greatest gathering of flamingos seen for 20 years.”

viernes, 22 de noviembre de 2013

Netherlands selects MQ-9 Reaper

The Netherlands is to purchase four General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and related ground stations, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 21 November.

The first Reaper should be fully operational in 2016, the last the following year. As opposed to MQ-9/RQ-9 Reapers in service with the US Air Force and the UK Royal Air Force, the Dutch version will not be armed, although this could change in the future "with a minimum of modification", the MoD stated.

The Reaper was the only system available, the MoD said, that met its requirement to conduct surveillance-missions with an endurance "exceeding 24 hours". The sensor load will be as standard for the platform:
  • EOIR
  • SAR
  • GMT

but will also include a special Dutch requirement to equip the UAVs with "a ground and surface radar with larger coverage" than standard and a specialised SIGINT pack.

China: Getting ready for the UAV war

China's new stealthy Unmanned Aerial vehicle (UAV), dubbed Sharp Sword by the domestic media, shows its eagerness to catch up in the field of drone technology.

It bears a striking similarity in its overall shape to the bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel, built by the US company Lockheed Martin and operated by the Americans since around 2007. China is thus well-behind the Americans but is fast developing an impressive UAV capability of its own.

What is clear from recent air shows and the Chinese technical press is that China has developed a variety of UAVs matching virtually every category deployed by the US. They range from small tactical drones of limited endurance to much larger systems that look strikingly like US Reaper or Predator models, and just like their US counterparts some of these Chinese drones are equipped with hard-points on their wings to carry munitions.

The two leading players in the drone club - the US and Israel - have developed UAVs for a variety of purposes. These range from intelligence-gathering to strikes against targets on the ground. Not surprisingly, China sees UAVs in exactly the same light. UAVs are fast becoming an especially useful tool for Beijing in monitoring activity over contested areas of the South China and East China Seas. China is believed to have converted a number of out-of-date J-6 fighters into UAVs, which may well be being used to monitor the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.

China also has the ability to arm some of its drones. Earlier this year, an interview in the Chinese Global Times newspaper provided a striking insight into Beijing's thinking about drones. A senior official in the public security ministry's anti-drugs bureau acknowledged that China had considered using an armed drone against a wanted drug trafficker in northern Burma, also known as MyanmarIn the event the attack was never carried out, but the clear implication is that Beijing has drawn some conclusions of its own from Washington's use of UAVs to take out targets across borders.

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

Algeria shows interest in Yabhon

Algeria is considering the Adcom Systems Yabhon United 40 Block 5 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to fulfill its Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirement, a company official said at the Dubai Air Show 2013.

The North African country is looking for an Unmanned Platform to track militants and traffickers in its vast southern desert regions, and while Algerian media has previously revealed that the air force is interested in the US-made General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GAASI) Predator/Reaper platform, this is the first time the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-developed Yabhon United 40 Block 5 has been touted as a possible candidate.

The Algerian Air Force does currently operate the Denel Dynamics Seeker UAV, and the Denel Seeker 400 and Selex Falco have also been touted as potential candidates. The two Yabhon United 40 Block 5 UAVs displayed at the show (both of which have been built for unspecified customers) were shown fitted with four Adcom Systems Namrod stand-off missiles (two under each wing), and two torpedoes on the centreline hardpoints (which can be equipped with a company-made wing-kit for enhanced stand-off capabilities). The internal rotating dispenser can drop munitions or 24 sonobouys.

(Read more)

Turkey: Trawls capture a Turna

Fishermen trawling off the Black Sea province of Sinop have captured an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) produced by a local firm.

The fishermen, who captured the UAV around six nautical miles off the coast of the Türkeli district, handed the drone to the İnebolu Coast Guard Command after a short examination at the port with their colleagues. The UAV, called a “Turna” (crane), is produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The TURNA Target Drone Systems program was initiated in 1995 by the TAI-TUSAŞ and entered the inventory of Turkish Armed Forces in 2001. They are actively used in the training of air-defense units.

Iran presents "Fotros"

Iran has presented its largest yet home-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), named "Fotros". This UAV can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet, has a flight endurance of 16-30 hours, and effective operational radius of 2,000 kilometers. It has been designed to carry out IRS missions, but can also perform combat operations air-to-surface. For the moment, Fotros will be used for surveillance of sea and land borders, oil and gas pipelines, as well as monitoring of post-earthquake disaster areas.

martes, 12 de noviembre de 2013

Spain: UAVs for Architectural Reconstruction

Arjonilla Studio in Segovia, Spain, is a specialized company (among other things) in video recording using unmanned aerial vehicles.

Click on the picture to see a flight demonstration of the exciting possibilities of UAVs in architectural reconstruction. The UAV was manufactured by the team of Arjonilla Studios and its typical applications include architecture and agriculture. In the words of CEO Javier Arjonilla, "Inspect old buildings from the top is a dangerous job. We have been able to accomplish the task by having all the tools at our disposal, in our study: The UAV, 3D modeling software, and more importantly, a team capable of carrying it out! "

sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2013

USAF RPA: Two Million Flying Hours

It took sixteen years for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft community to reach one million flight hours.

A short two and a half years later, the RPA is celebrating again with its two millionth hour on the job. The US Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft fleet reaches a milestone of 2 million flying hours with help from Airmen on Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

Construction Company Considers UAS for Motorway Inspections

Engineering and construction giant Balfour Beatty has revealed that it is interested in using UAS to inspect motorways. Balfour Beatty CIO Danny Reeves told Techworld at the Fujitsu Forum yesterday: “We have guys that have to work on the motorways in the central reservations. It’s inherently dangerous work and people do get hurt. If we could chuck up a UAS and it could scan a whole central reservation and no one has to cross a road or park a van on a hard shoulder that would be great.”

Norway to develop pocket UAV

U.S. Army researchers are asking a Norwegian company to develop a pocket-sized helicopter to provide a personal reconnaissance UAV for infantrymen and Special Forces warfighters.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command in U.S. are awarding a $2.5 million contract to ProxDynamics AS of Nesbru, Norway, to develop the Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS) – a one-pound force-protection micro UAV for soldiers and small infantry units.

ProxDynamics researchers will base the Black Hornet pocket UAV on the company’s PD-100 personal reconnaissance system, a mobile unmanned helicopter designed to provide infantry soldiers with immediate intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. The Prox Dynamics PD-100 PRS consists of the PD-100 nanocopter UAV and base station. The entire package weighs less than two pounds, excluding display, and measures 8 by 3.5 by 2 inches.

The PD-100 micro UAV system is for applications such as: search and rescue, reconnaissance in confined areas, look behind, between, and below obstacles, birds-eye view for situational awareness, object identification, proximity surveillance, crowd control, nuclear installation inspection, and checking chemical plants after incidents and accidents. The tiny helicopter UAV’s sensor payload has a steerable electro-optical camera with pan and tilt capability to provide live video and snapshot images.

FAA: Five-Year UAV Integration Roadmap

The FAA on Thursday released a five-year roadmap for regulated unmanned aircraft which indicates that during the next few years the use of drones will be limited to permits granted by the FAA to operators who have demonstrated procedures to reduce safety risks.

Congress has directed the FAA to integrate UAVs into U.S. skies by September 2015 but the agency has already missed several milestones toward meeting that goal. Integration will begin at six test sites that the FAA has yet to select, from applications from 24 states. Meanwhile, until testing is complete, the FAA will only grant UAS flying privileges on a case-by-case basis.

sábado, 2 de noviembre de 2013

India to Bolster UAV Fleet

India plans to spend more than US $2 billion in the next five years to boost its UAV fleet, including mini UAVs, and sharpen its border surveillance, intelligence and communications capabilities. More than a dozen domestic private-sector players are eyeing the mini-UAV market, while the DRDO concentrates on developing HALE, MALE and combat UAVs.

The Army this month floated a tender to acquire 49 UAVs to be used for real-time ISRThe tender has been sent to private Indian companies Idea Forge, Dynamatrics, Hi-tech Robotics, Ufcon, Omnipresent Technologies, Datapattern, Tata Advance Systems and state-owned Bharat ElectronicsThe mini UAVs will be used for counterinsurgency operations in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Pakistan. The UAV will have an endurance of 30 to 90 minutes carrying a camera, and be able to perform auto tracking of targets. The mini UAVs will gather intelligence and carry out reconnaissance along the Line of Control with Pakistan and the India-China border, an Indian Army official said. Mini UAVs are effective electronic eyes in the skies against border infiltrations, which have increased recently, the official added.

The Army is employing UAVs as a communication constellation and has put them to use in rescue operations, as observation posts and for medical evacuation, said Mahindra Singh, a retired Army major general. The Army and Air Force have an immediate requirement for more than 700 mini UAVs. The Army plans to have about 1,600 mini UAVs by 2017 for use by the infantry and mechanized infantry, the Army official said, adding that these vehicles would be employed to enhance the Army’s situational awareness in the border regions. The mini UAVs will be integrated into a system that will include assets such as artillery, locating radar, bigger UAVs, aerostat radars, and airborne early warning and control aircraft, which could be used as a force-multiplier, the official said. 

India: More UAVs watching

The CRPF, nodal agency overseeing deployment of security forces for the upcoming assembly elections in five states, has increased the number of UAVs in the Maoist zone of Bastar for round-the-clock surveillance.

About half a dozen UAV Netra, owned by the CRPF, are gathering real-time intelligence across about 40,000 sq km of Bastar region that votes on November 11. These indigenous UAVs can send real-time video of ground movement within a 5-km radius. Besides, the MHA has asked the NTRO, country's elite intelligence agency, to fly UAV Heron whose range — about 400 km — is much more than the UAV Netra.

The Israeli Heron is operated from airbase at Begumpet in HyderabadThe UAVs will aid planning of operations and deployment of more than 50,000 security forces inducted in Bastar's Maoist heartland for the polls, said a senior officer. The UAVs can play a crucial role in surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region where real-time human intelligence is hard to come by. Grabs sent by the UAVs help the security forces on the ground to monitor Maoist movement and plan precision strike operations in Bastar and also along Chhattisgarh's border with Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.

India's indigenous drones

To counter what they see as the rapidly transforming nature of ‘asymmetric’ as well as the standard strategic threats, the Indian armed forces are actively seeking to purchase the latest technologies and weaponry. Accordingly, the military has started a massive modernisation drive phased over the next 12 years at the cost of a whopping USD 200 billion. A large part of this is earmarked for augmenting India’s fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, commonly known as ‘drones’.