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.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
I have to admit that my interest in drones–or unmanned aircraft systems, as the FAA prefers to call them–has been re-energized by my students at Vaughn College of Aeronautics. Sure, like most aviation enthusiasts, I’m interested in anything that flies and have been a model airplane fan from childhood.
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.
The first formal agreement between a major global avionics manufacturer and a Russian-based aviation solutions provider was enacted via a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 8040) and St. Petersburg, Russia-based Transas Aviation.
Donald Shinnamon, Sr., the recipient of the MD Helicopters Law Enforcement Award here at Heli-Expo 2014, credits his father with his interest in both aviation and law enforcement. Though not involved in aviation work, during World War II his father was stationed at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, home of the Naval Test Pilot School, where he acquired his enthusiasm for aviation. After the war, the elder Shinnamon became a police officer in the Baltimore County Police Department.
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.
Israeli defense specialist Rafael (Booth N51) has unveiled a new system to tackle short-range mortar and rocket threats, and close-in air threats such as UAVs. Rather than employing a projectile to destroy incoming threats, the new Iron Beam system uses a high-energy laser (HEL).
Boeing sees its new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) based on the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet as potentially a starter platform for countries eyeing the higher-end P-8 Poseidon the company is supplying to the U.S. and Indian navies.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has once again come to the Singapore Airshow to display a diverse selection of its products. Despite the economic turndown, the group has maintained a strong financial position through the focused application of its technological capabilities, and a healthy research and development effort across its portfolio.
The FAA should allow non-military drones access to fly in rural areas now, rather than wait for the agency to complete its broader integration into civil airspace following the rulemaking process, according to the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Drones are too valuable to be kept on the ground and the agency is moving too slowly in creating applicable safety regulations, said AUVSI president Michael Toscano.