Fifty applicants from 37 states responded to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s screening information request (SIR) for public entities interested in operating test ranges for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An all-Spanish drone has made its first flight and is claimed to be “the first tactical UAS capable of carrying out civil and military missions.” The Atlante UAS development is led by EADS Cassidian Spain and involves more than 140 subcontractors. The venture capital partners are Indra, GMV and Aries.
Elbit Systems announced new orders from home and abroad for its top-of-the-line Hermes 900-series UAV system. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) placed a follow-on order on December 31 last year, having first bought the system in 2010. The IDF has also funded some new features, including quick reconfiguration of payloads, in a separate contract placed in January worth $35 million. The company also sold a Hermes 900 system comprising multiple UAVs and ground stations to “a customer in the Americas.“
Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators in the U.S. would have to file and fly instrument flight plans and equip their aircraft for position reporting with transponders and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast Out (ADS-B Out) transmissions based on GPS.
The British Army is using what may be the world’s smallest UAV yet deployed on military operations. The Black Hornet “nanocopter” is eight inches long with a rotor diameter of about five inches and weighs less than two pounds. It can provide video and still imagery of difficult-to-reconnoitre targets such as walled compounds and even the interior of buildings. It was recently introduced in Afghanistan and demonstrated in public for the first time last week during a pre-deployment exercise on Salisbury Plain in the UK, for the next British Army task force to be sent there.
This week’s IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi provided the first public view of the Saab 340AEW, purchased by the UAE Air Force and Air Defense as an interim airborne early-warning solution. One of two aircraft in service made a single flypast during a brief force demonstration. The air force’s latest acquisition, the Airbus A330 MRTT, also flew past, accompanied by four Mirage 2000-9 fighters, just days after being delivered. The remaining pair from the UAE’s order will be delivered later this year.
Boeing and Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (Adasi) signed a teaming agreement on February 18 to support Boeing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the UAE, and to help develop that country’s own technical capabilities. The parties signed the agreement at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
Embraer Defense and Security and AEL Systems, the Brazilian subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, signed an agreement to accept unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developer Avibras as a shareholder in their UAS-focused joint venture, Harpia Systems.
The FAA issued a much-anticipated screening information request (SIR) that seeks proposals from public entities including state and local governments and universities to operate six test ranges for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The problematic use of “drones” to prosecute the U.S. war on terror is very much in the news again. On February 7, during a hearing that was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, senators questioned John Brennan, President Obama’s CIA director-designate, about the administration’s heavy reliance on “targeted killings” by unmanned aircraft.