Israel’s Elbit Systems announced a multimillion-dollar contract to supply its Hermes 450 and 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to a “Latin American customer.” The buyer was identified in press reports as Colombia.
Unmanned Aircraft System
Northrop Grumman is marketing an unmanned aircraft that could be a low-cost alternative for training the operators of its own MQ-5B Hunter and the Predator and Reaper UAVs made by General Atomics.
Industry and government executives involved in the development and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offered airline pilots assurances that air vehicles piloted from the ground will be introduced safely and incrementally to the U.S. national airspace system (NAS). “We’re doing this in an organized and structured fashion,” said Richard Prosek, manager of flight technologies and procedures in the FAA’s UAS Integration Office.
The U.S. Army has validated the design and functionality of a second-phase ground-based sense and avoid (GBSAA) radar system that will support training flights of MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAVs in unrestricted airspace beginning in 2014.
The draft FAA rule that will provide a regulatory framework for operating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) of about 55 pounds or less in unrestricted airspace will likely limit those aircraft to flying 400 feet agl or below, within visual line of sight of an observer on the ground and during day VMC. The “sense-and-avoid” aspect of keeping safe separation from other aircraft will be provided by a ground observer, said Ted Wierzbanowski, chairman of ASTM International Committee F38, which is developing UAS standards under an agreement with the FAA.
The U.S. Marine Corps has extended the deployment of two K-Max unmanned helicopters used for cargo resupply missions in Afghanistan by six months, through March next year. The extension, announced on July 31, is the second this year and includes an option to extend the deployment through September next year.
The UAV community that will meet soon in Las Vegas for Unmanned Systems North America might draw some wisdom from the effort to introduce unmanned aircraft in UK civil airspace.
AAI Textron Systems is upgrading more than half of the U.S. Army’s RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to incorporate a tactical common datalink (TCDL) supporting interoperability with other manned and unmanned aircraft. The company has a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps to arm the Shadow using the larger wing added through the Army modifications.
Insitu revealed here this week that Singapore was a customer for the ScanEagle unmanned aerial surveillance system (UAS), and that the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) would evaluate it.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) proclaims that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) represent quite possibly the most significant advancement in aviation in decades. The AUVSI says it also believes responsibility for safe operations is paramount.