France and the UK will jointly develop a new medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV that could enter service in 2015. The two countries are also likely to combine forces on future unmanned combat air systems (UCAS), by launching a “joint technology and operational demonstration” to run for six years, beginning in 2013. The decisions form part of the cross-channel agreement between the two countries.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
News and issues relating to civil and military unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) of all kinds and sizes, including those used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), combat (unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs), law enforcement, research and other applications. Of particular focus is the FAA's planned integration of UAS into the U.S. national airspace system.
Israel’s Elbit Systems and French company Sagem Défense Sécurité agreed on September 15 to form a joint venture by early next year. To be based at Eragny and Montluçon in France, the joint venture will market UAV systems in France and other designated markets, and will take over existing initiatives.
An improved version of the Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk mini-UAV is now operating with the British Army in Afghanistan. The hand-launched system has an improved video sensor and a larger wing. The UK is the only announced customer for the Desert Hawk.
Boeing has been awarded a three-year $9.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop and demonstrate technologies that enable multiple small unmanned aerial vehicles to coordinate with each other and a manned airborne control station to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Derivatives of the ScanEagle UAV are proliferating, as Boeing exploits its ownership of Insitu, the company that originally designed it for commercial applications. At the Navy League convention, Boeing Phantom Works unveiled the MagEagle, a UAV equipped with a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).
Evergreen Helicopters is flying in unmanned systems teams using an Elbit Systems Skylark I mini man-pack UAV to map Haitian relief. The small UAV was used to search for signs of life at orphanages in the remote mountains outside Port-au-Prince following the January earthquake. Boulder slides cut off ground access to many of these facilities. The Skylark flew at altitudes up to 5,200 feet.
Singapore-based Stratech Systems Ltd. yesterday signed an agreement covering the establishment of a joint venture with Israeli UAV specialists Aeronautics. The new entity, Stratech Aeronautics, will operate from Singapore and will initially fo-
cus on the Asia-Pacific region. Not only will the new teaming enhance and market its existing products, but will ultimately develop new offerings.
The U.S. Air Force is wresting with the manpower, training and cultural issues that surround the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In his presentation to the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC) last November,* USAF commander General Norton Schwartz outlined the new terminology and career fields that the service is introducing in response.
Helicopters can perform a wide array of useful tasks that cannot be done at all or as well in a fixed-wing aircraft, so it probably stands to reason that an unmanned rotorcraft would soon prove its worth alongside fixed-wing unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 is fast finding acceptance for a variety of applications, such as pipeline surveillance for an undisclosed customer in Malaysia.