In November the UK Royal Air Force’s UAV Battlelab plans to integrate an unmanned air vehicle into a military exercise for the first time, as part of Project Sabrina. An earlier attempt in June was cancelled due to technical difficulties, but the Battlelab is optimistic that the UAV’s participation in the next Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor (CQWI) exercise will go ahead.
AGS Industries, a recently formed joint-venture company headquartered in Ottobrunn, Germany, is working on a response to a formal request for proposal for the design and development of NATO’s alliance ground surveillance (AGS) system.
Responding to the rapid growth in demand for training in the area of unmanned aerial systems, Qinetiq’s Empire Test Pilots’ School, located at the UK Ministry of Defence MOD Boscombe Down site, late last month completed its first “Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Trials and Evaluation” short course. Fourteen delegates from the UK armed forces and civilian personnel from Qinetiq attended.
The key technologies being investigated in the current UCAV programs are advanced flight control for tail-less, blended-wing-body configurations; autonomous operation using reconfigurable software; open architecture avionics; secure datalinks; low-cost composite construction; and low observability (for example, stealth).
NASA’s announcement last month that–effective from the start of FY06 on October 1 this year–it will cancel all further support of U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development has sent a shock wave through the industry.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in civil, non-segregated airspace took another step forward early last month at the unmanned systems trade show at the ParcAberporth research and development center on the west coast of Wales when Thales UK and Elbit Systems of Israel demonstrated their Hermes 450. The flight was the first of a pilotless aircraft weighing more than 330 pounds in non-segregated UK airspace.
Once the exclusive domain of the military and, with few exceptions, flying outside controlled airspace, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now slowly nudging their noses under the civil tent. Already, USAF RQ-4 Global Hawks routinely fly across the U.S.
A new chapter in civil aviation history opened recently when the FAA issued the first airworthiness certificate for a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the General Atomics Altair. But the operating restrictions on the UAV should limit any interference with civil aircraft and ATC.
This month’s 46th International Paris Air Show is already scheduled to feature the world’s largest passenger aircraft and the airliner with the longest range, and if the Ukrainians bring their Antonov An-225, the show will boast the world’s largest aircraft as well.
At least a dozen unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are to be flown at the Unmanned Systems show to be staged at the UK’s ParcAberporth aviation business park on September 7. The event will be Europe’s largest UAV flying demonstration in controlled civil airspace and should be an important benchmark for how pilotless aircraft can coexist safely with manned flights.