viernes, 26 de septiembre de 2014

Interesting picture

Interesting picture released by USAF, showing an MQ-9 Reaper carrying -perhaps- the latest version of the Gorgon Stare WASS. The picture was taken last 18th August at Kandahar.

US shortfalls exposed by IS

Defense Department Undersecretary Michael Vickers said last week the march of IS “has exposed, along with some of the instability in North Africa, shortfalls that we believe we now have in some capacity areas,” specifically surveillance and reconnaissance drones, according to the report.

Drones like General Atomics' MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remain key in surveillance efforts in the Middle EastWith the IS continuing to hold more than a quarter of Iraq and U.S. efforts to increasing, there will likely be a renewed emphasis on the program and a need for a bigger fleet.

CAE wins defence contracts

CAE (Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd) announced that it has won a series of contracts valued at approximately C$115 million to provide a range of training systems and services for global defence and security customers.

These include contracts to continue providing MQ-1 Predator/MQ-9 Reaper aircrew training to the United States Air Force (USAF), a contract to update the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CP-140 simulator, and a contract to design and manufacture a UH-72A flight training device for the United States Army.

“CAE is a skilled and capable training systems integrator that offers defence and security forces around the world a comprehensive portfolio of training centres, training services and simulation products,” said Gene Colabatistto, Group President, Defence and Security, CAE. “We are continuing to execute on a solid foundation of existing programs, and remain encouraged by the pipeline of global opportunities we have in front of us.”

107th Airlift Wing welcomes MQ-9 Reaper

Its new mission is a high-tech one: flying MQ-9 Reaper drones.

Reapers are remotely piloted and are primarily used for intelligence gathering. But according to the U.S. Air Force’s website: “Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-laser, convoy/raid overwatch, route clearance, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9’s capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.”

Nearly 600 people work for the 107th, making it one of Niagara Falls’ and Niagara County’s largest employers. Some have transferred to the 914th or transitioned into other roles with the Air Force, but the rest remain with the 107th, on the drone mission. The wing served as the 107th Air Refueling Wing from 1994 to 2008, flying a Boeing 707 configured to fuel fighters in mid-air. It became the 107th Airlift Wing in 2008, flying C-130s in partnership with the Air Force Reserve’s 914th Airlift Wing.

“The world changes, and we want make certain that our base is keeping on the cutting edge of what’s happening out there,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. “When military technology changes, the roles of military organizations change. That means that activities at bases change. I welcome the fact that we now have a new mission here, that looks like it’s a mission that’s going to be here to stay.”

“They continue to do great work here, and this is the transitioning of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, to always prepare itself to be able to accept new missions. And this marks the closing of one mission, but hopefully the opening of a new one,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.

miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

IAI unveils advanced intelligence system for unmanned platforms

Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled a sensor system for air, sea, and groundbased unmanned platforms, which enables them to build up an intelligence picture of their surroundings based on the signals emitted from other military platforms.

IAI released an image of its Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicle, which is used by the Israel Air Force and several foreign air forces, with the system on board. It will also go on display for the first time next week in Orlando, at a trade show organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International.

The COMINT (COMmunications INTelligence) system, called ELK-7065 3D HF, is made by IAI’s subsidiary, ELTA. It identifies and tracks the sources of surrounding signals, such as power, radio broadcasts, or geo-location communications, and creates an intelligence database known as an “electronic order of battle picture,” IAI said in a statement.

The system “allows for better classification and distinction of incoming signals,” IAI added. If installed in drones, it requires “comparatively very small antennas,” IAI said. If installed in ship-based or ground unmanned platforms, a small antenna is sufficient. “This revolutionary product has aroused keen interest from multiple customers around the world for symmetric and asymmetric warfare applications. Until now, this type of intelligence capability was enabled only by antenna arrays measuring tens of meters. This compact installation enables smaller platforms to perform the COMINT mission with unparalleled mobility and flexibility,” IAI continued.

Lockheed Martin-Built GPS Satellites Reach 200 Collective Years of Operational Life

Making these milestones even more significant is the fact that the GPS IIR and IIR-M satellites were designed to last 7.5 years, or collectively about 150 years. All 12 IIR satellites are currently operating beyond their design life with the oldest operating for more than 16.5 years. Three of eight GPS IIR-M satellites have surpassed their expected life span and all satellites will have done so in 2017.

Originally launched between 1997 and 2009 to add capabilities to the GPS constellation and to replace other aging satellites, the 12 GPS IIR and eight IIR-M satellites have maintained an availability record of 99.96 percent, which represents only 10 minutes of down time per satellite during all their years of operation.

The 200-year milestone will be celebrated with a brief cake-cutting “ceremony” during ION GNSS, on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., at the Lockheed Martin booth. “This is a tremendous GPS operations and sustainment performance milestone, and we applaud the men and women of the Second Space Operations Squadron of the Air Force’s 50th Space Wing, as well as the industry team who support them,” said Mark Stewart, vice president for Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area. “The world relies on GPS every day for things like synchronizing global banking and investing, shipping and transportation, search and rescue operations, ATM transactions and even precision farming.”

To meet evolving GPS user demands, Lockheed Martin is developing the next-generation GPS III satellites. These satellites will deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, and include enhancements which extend spacecraft life to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest Block IIF satellites. GPS III will be the first generation of GPS satellite with a new L1C civil signal designed to make it interoperable with other international GNSS.

New Stratasys 3D Manufacturing material

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylateis an all-purpose thermoplastic 3D printing material used to produce prototypes, manufacturing tools and finished goods.

Owners of Stratasys 3D Production Systems in the UAV industry can now benefit from ASA's UV stability, strength and durability, as the company has introduced the new material to be used with its Fortus 360mc, Fortus 400mc and Fortus 900mc.

Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq:SSYS), headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel, is a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions. The company's patented FDM®, PolyJet™, and WDM™ 3D Printing technologies produce prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files or other 3D content.

Systems include 3D printers for idea development, prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. Stratasys subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape, and the company operates a digital-manufacturing service, comprising RedEye, Harvest Technologies and Solid Concepts. Stratasys has more than 2500 employees, holds over 600 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally, and has received more than 25 awards for its technology and leadership.

Inflatable UAVs

At the Tianjin International UAV Exhibit, a Chinese manufacturer debuted an inflatable UAV.

It is designed for low speed, low altitude roles, such as conducting aerial survey, remote sensing and reconnaissance. Militarily speaking, the smaller footprint of an inflatable UAV means that it would enable smaller groups of soldiers (at the squad and platoon levels) to carry higher and further flying UAVs than they normally could.

Of course, inflatable UAVs do have their drawbacks; they would take a lot longer launch due to the time needed to inflate itself and may be less maneuverable, and certainly slower than most systems.