The 2012 Farnborough International airshow will fly in the face of still-tough business conditions, according to organizers of the biennial event, to be staged in the UK from July 9 to 15. “The last two years have seen a very difficult economic environment, but 2012 is looking like it will be a really great show,” said Farnborough International chief executive Shaun Ormrod.
UAVs and drones
BAE Systems announced this week that its Mantis Male (medium-altitude, long-endurance) unmanned technology demonstrator is to fly again, starting next year. The UAV first flew on Oct. 21, 2009, and undertook a short and successful flight trials campaign from the remote Woomera base in South Australia. The vehicle returned to BAE Systems Warton and has been laid up since.
A demonstrator for the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) UAV crashed near NAS Patuxent River on June 11. The UAV crashed into swampland about 20 miles east of the base and was destroyed, after what the Navy described as a routine flight. The accident came just four days before Northrop Grumman unveiled the first MQ-4C, the full-specification Bams UAV, at Palmdale, Calif.
Aerovironment revealed that 19 countries have now bought “thousands” of Puma, Raven and Wasp hand-launched UAVs. At the Satory arms fair in Paris, the company announced new orders from Sweden for the Puma and Wasp, and from Denmark for the Puma. Denmark acquired the Raven in 2007.
Northrop Grumman broke a long silence on the long endurance multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) this week, when an official told the website wired.com that the much-delayed hybrid air vehicle (HAV) will fly for the first time next week. Earlier, when contacted by AIN, the sponsoring U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC) declined to predict a date for that event. Meanwhile, the U.S.
Jamming of GPS signals by North Korea may have contributed to the fatal crash of a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAV near Incheon, South Korea, on May 10. The small helicopter crashed into its ground control van, killing a Schiebel engineer and injuring the two remote pilots, both Koreans. The jamming started on April 28 and disrupted passenger flights into Seoul’s two airports, Kimpo and Incheon. South Korean government officials told local media that the jamming originated from the border town of Kaesong.
Northrop Grumman gained a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract to supply five Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs with advanced multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) radars for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.
Northrop Grumman received a contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) to build the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter based on the Bell 407 airframe. The contract, announced April 23, has a not-to-exceed cost ceiling of $262 million for two demonstration and six production MQ-8Cs.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) revealed two options to extend the endurance of the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, also known as the Predator B. Wing-mounted fuel tanks and a 22-foot wing extension could be installed in the field in the “near term,” according to the company. They would complement the modified main landing gear, announced previously, that increases the Reaper’s max takeoff weight to 11,700 pounds from 10,500 pounds.
Despite news reports last week to the contrary, the State of Hawaii is not stuck with a useless remote-controlled drone, at least according to its builder, Paul Schultz, CEO of Hawaii-based Hawaiya Technologies.