Saab has been steadily building its airborne ISR portfolio and hopes to secure its first deal in the maritime surveillance/patrol market in the near future. Saab has two offerings in this sector: the Saab 340 MSA (maritime surveillance aircraft), for which the company has produced a demonstrator that was on show at Farnborough; and the larger and more capable Swordfish. Saab has been keeping the UK aware of its developments in this field, although any formal requirement for a UK maritime patrol aircraft is not expected until after a strategic defense review next year.
Boeing has added to its portfolio of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft a “multi-int” platform based on the Beechcraft King Air 350ER. The company’s Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-Intelligence System (Ramis) was originally developed as a demonstrator for the U.S. Army and is now being offered to customers.
The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft is progressing through its flight-test program, but still without a “sense-and-avoid” system that would protect against collisions with other aircraft. The program office said it is taking a “layered approach” to meeting the requirement until it finds a technology solution.
Austrian remote-sensing specialist Airborne Technologies has unveiled its latest product at the Singapore Airshow. Known as the S.C.A.R.(self-contained aerial reconnaissance)-Pod, the system requires no aircraft system modification, and only needs a standard hardpoint to be ready for immediate use.
Boeing sees its new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) based on the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet as potentially a starter platform for countries eyeing the higher-end P-8 Poseidon the company is supplying to the U.S. and Indian navies.
The U.S. Navy is rethinking prime contractor Northrop Grumman’s selection of an Exelis-built collision avoidance radar for the unmanned MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance aircraft. The plan was to fit the Global Hawk derivative with the first Department of Defense (DOD) program of record “sense-and-avoid” radar, to comply with international airspace requirements and prevent midair collisions. However, “we’ve made a decision to pause on the development of that capability,” Capt. James Hoke, the Navy’s Triton program manager, said at the Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) and Northrop Grumman said the MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft completed its first flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility on May 22. The Global Hawk maritime derivative flew for 80 minutes in restricted airspace and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.
Aurora Flight Sciences is displaying its Diamond DA42 optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) on the Diamond Aircraft stand here (OE18). The low-cost intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solution is compatible with NATO standards, and “combines the best of manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft capabilities,” said U.S.-based Aurora.
Called the Centaur, the OPA can be self-deployed, as its ground control equipment fits in the aircraft’s cargo compartment. Conversion from manned to unmanned-configuration takes two crewmembers less than four hours.
As UAVs become more prevalent, their capabilities will continue to develop. If you haven’t seen the videos demonstrating the nano-quadrotor UAVs under development at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, then you are missing something.