French air force commander General Jean-Paul Palomeros, speaking on the recording of full-motion video (FMV) from airborne platforms–especially UAVs, said, “The challenge today is to exploit the amount of ISR data gathered and then disseminate it in a useful way to different customers.” A huge amount of expert manpower is required, he told AIN, but the general is not convinced that automatic target recognition software is the answer. Artificial intelligence would be best applied to make UAVs fly autonomously, he believes.
UAVs and drones
The latest UAV from ST Aerospace, the Skyblade 360–a mini-UAV that has been designed to use fuel cell technology to extend its endurance to an impressive six hours–is on display for the first time here at the show. ST Engineering has identified unmanned systems as one of seven competency clusters within its aerospace sector, and has been working with DSO National Laboratories to develop a number of vehicles.
Thales has adapted a Spanish-designed UAV named Fulmar for maritime border surveillance. The French company revealed that the UAV is already operational in an unspecified South Asian country.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) is stepping up promotion of the jet-powered Predator C Avenger UAV, after flying a second, larger version for the first time on January 12. GA-ASI president Frank Pace claims that the stealth-shaped aircraft offers performance, cost, timescale and adaptability “that are unmatched by any other UAS in its class.” The company is pitching the UAV for the U.S.
Get ready for some serious angst. The FAA reauthorization just passed by the U.S. House and Senate includes specific direction to the FAA regarding unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Elements of the legislation include a Sept.
The Neuron UCAV demonstrator was officially unveiled last week inside a hangar at Istres airbase in southern France to representatives of the six governments funding the €400 million ($520.4 million) effort. France, Italy and Sweden each produced UCAV-like flying prototypes before joining Greece, Switzerland and Spain on the Neuron project in 2006.
EADS Cassidian and Alenia Aeronautica signed an MoU to explore cooperation on the next generation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). This is the latest maneuver within a European aerospace industry that is united in the desire to develop UAS capabilities, but divided by national and programmatic considerations. (Photo: EADS)
The stealthy, jet-powered Predator-C UAV may be heading for Afghanistan, where it will be operated by “a classified customer,” presumably the CIA. The U.S. Air Force published a procurement notice stating its intention to award a sole-source contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for a single aircraft to serve as “a test platform” in a “multi-agency role” as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Iran claimed December 4 to have shot down a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV along the country’s eastern border. Five days later, an almost intact airframe closely resembling the secret airframe was shown on Iranian television. The NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul admitted that operators of “a US unarmed reconnaissance UAV” had lost control of it during “a mission over western Afghanistan late last week”.