Armed UAVs are not new: back in the days when UAVs were known as RPVs (remotely piloted vehicles) Ryan Aeronautical made several proposals to arm its BQM-34 Firebee target drone, the earliest dating to 1953.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
With the air war in Iraq increasingly dominated by close-air support (CAS) operations and the need to engage rapidly emerging targets in heavily populated areas, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles armed with precision weapons has also increased. Before and during Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. Air Force Predator UAVs routinely carried weapons, and the practice has now become an everyday part of U.S. military operations.
EDO Corp. (Stand ADT 117) is to provide a weapon carriage and release system for the U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aircraft. The initial design and development contract from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is worth just $1.4 million, but EDO noted that it plans production of “well over” 100 Predator Bs.
Singapore Technologies Aerospace is seeking local or overseas partners for unmanned systems development. “We want to be a world-class niche player in this business, as we have become in the MRO field,” said Dr. Tan Jiak Kwang, the company’s director for advanced systems. Tan spoke at the Unmanned Systems Asia-Pacific 2006 conference. in Singapore on Sunday
AIN has learned that FAA officials are considering the introduction of TCAS-III to meet collision-avoidance needs when large unmanned aircraft start to operate in civil airspace.
Athena Technologies’ CEO Dr. David Vos is in no doubt that after many false starts, the age of the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) really has dawned. His company has become the key element in most of the major UAV programs, including the U.S. Army’s Shadow and the USAF’s Target UAV.
Last month AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven B small unmanned air vehicle (SUAV) passed its initial operational test and evaluation. It is already in high-rate production, having been awarded an initial production contract in last October for use by the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Full-rate production is expected next year, but by then the Raven B will already be widely deployed.
The FPT Industries division of GKN Aerospace has been selected to supply an ultra-lightweight fuel system for the Korean Smart unmanned air vehicle to help enhance critical performance factors such as its ‘loiter on target’ time, range and payload.
Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems UK has become the first major tenant at the new West Wales UAV Centre (WWUAVC) at the ParcAberporth technology park. On July 7, during the ParcAberporth Unmanned Systems 2006 exhibition, Andrew Davies, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, officially opened the center.
The UK Ministry of Defence is preparing to issue an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for an unmanned aerial surveillance system to help British troops fight Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Some–maybe all–of the likely contending systems are on display here.