A Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance UAV from IAI has recently participated in a demonstration of unmanned operations in civilian airspace, undertaken at Murcia-San Javier in Spain. The airfield is a military training base but is also used by commercial aircraft, and the operations of the UAV were timed to coincide with those by other airport users.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
The state of Oklahoma believes that it has the resources to be among the leading U.S. states in commercializing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). But this spring, the state’s political leaders were disappointed by the findings of a UAS economic impact study that ranked California, Washington, Texas, Florida and Arizona as the top five states expected to see the most in terms of immediate job growth and revenue when UAS are integrated into the National Airspace System.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI, Chalet A206) is in the final stages of delivering a persistent surveillance radar system that is mounted on a tethered aerostat platform. The customer has not been revealed by IAI. The radar is based on IAI ELTA’s ELM-2022A multimode radar and provides a range of surveillance capabilities. It can automatically detect and track maritime targets down to periscope size in high-density environments and high sea states.
Italy’s Aerea is debuting its new weapons storage and release carriage for UAVs at the Paris Air Show (Hall 1 Stand F293). The new Ultralight Release Unit (URU) is a smaller version of similar equipment that the Milan-based company has previously developed for the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Aermacchi M346 trainer/light attack jet and the NH-90 helicopter.
In the wake of the Euro Hawk cancellation in Germany, the future of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system based on the similar Northrop Grumman Global Hawk UAV is in doubt. Germany intends to offer for AGS whatever alternative platform it decides to employ for the Cassidian integrated signals intelligence system (ISIS) that was the payload on the Euro Hawk. The Royal Air Force Raytheon Sentinel R.1 ground surveillance aircraft is also on offer.
Boeing said the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is the first payload customer for its Phantom Eye high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system. On June 5, the Department of Defense (DOD) agency announced a $6.8 million contract modification with Boeing to incorporate an unspecified payload aboard future test flights of the aircraft.
At an unmanned vehicles forum in Bonn this week, EADS Cassidian was again promoting what it now calls a Future European Male (Female) system. But the prospects of a pan-European program to match or improve on Male (medium-altitude long-endurance) UAV offerings from Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere have receded. France has decided to buy two GA-ASI Reaper systems, and there are indications that the UK will retain its Reapers beyond 2015, rather than retire them upon leaving Afghanistan.
The U.S. Navy will likely issue a request for proposals (RFP) in the coming weeks for a 10-month preliminary design phase of the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system (UCLASS) program, according to Lockheed Martin, one of the interested contractors.
L-3 Cincinnati Electronics says that its new NightWarrior 640 mid-wave infrared imaging system is a major technical advance. Designed for carriage by unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and other small applications, the camera is five times smaller and lighter than previous MWIR systems, and draws four times less power, according to the maker.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is playing a prominent role in shaping the way unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be introduced into the National Airspace System. The Pentagon is already represented on federal interagency and government-industry groups that were formed to facilitate UAS integration with other air traffic in unrestricted airspace. With progress toward that goal lagging and the DOD’s need for airspace access building, the department wants to bring to bear its decades of UAS experience to expedite the process.