The first UAV Payloads conference will be held in London on June 24 and 25 with a focus on capabilities such as SIGINT/EW (signals intelligence/electronic warfare) and search and rescue, as well as applications involving electro-optical/infra-red (EO/OR) sensors for medium- and high-altitude long endurance (MALE and HALE) aircraft.
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.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) awarded Israel’s Elbit Systems a contract to supply a Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft system (UAS), “which will be equipped with a new and advanced intelligence-gathering system considered a breakthrough operational solution,” Elbit announced on March 26.
Manufacturer MBDA said its dual-mode Brimstone missile fired from an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft scored direct hits against a range of targets during recent trials at U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, in California. The U.S. and UK militaries sponsored the trials, which were held in December and January.
Europe’s first purpose-built center for UAV research activities has opened in Spain. Known as Atlas (air traffic laboratory for advanced unmanned systems), the facility was officially opened on March 21 by the president of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, whose regional government has funded much of the €4.5 million implementation of the project from EU allocations. Additional funding has come from national government, and the site has been developed in close cooperation with potential customers, such as Boeing.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed that his country will buy MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft to operate alongside the eight Boeing P-8A Poseidons it plans to purchase. Abbott announced the Triton acquisition during a March 13 visit to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base at Edinburgh.
An administrative law judge with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dismissed the $10,000 fine the FAA levied against Raphael Pirker for flying a small unmanned aircraft, casting doubt on the agency’s ability to regulate their commercial use.
The UK Ministry of Defence has finally signed off on the Watchkeeper tactical unmanned air system for the British Army, awarding the system a formal Release to Service. The RTS award brings to an end a process to certificate the Watchkeeper for military service that has dragged on approximately three years longer than originally anticipated.
Vertical lift UAV developer CybAero said the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls approved export permits for a €5.5 million ($7.5 million) order a Chinese customer placed for its APID 60 unmanned helicopter, the company’s largest order.
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced development unit is building an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air vehicle under a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to demonstrate a cargo UAV capable of carrying interchangeable mission payloads.
New Singapore Airshow exhibitor Beijing ZhongHanZhi Technology Co. (ZHZ) is displaying its TD220 unmanned helicopter at Booth U08 in the main exhibition hall. The TD220 is a 660-pound class UAV with coaxial main rotor blades, equipped with the company’s “HeliAP” autopilot. ZHZ says it can fly missions of up to six hours automatically with a 110 pound payload. Among applications are powerline, forestry and oil-pump monitoring and aerial mapping. Tian Gangyin, ZHZ chairman, said the company thus far has 10 customers in China, and 15 more orders.