General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and the U.S. Army have demonstrated a precision-guided mortar for use on small UAVs. The test, conducted under the Army’s Air Drop Mortar program, was intended to show a rapid target response capability sought by the Army, Marine Corps and special forces.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin testing and evaluating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) this month near Lawton, Oklahoma, under a federal and state initiative to study UAS applications for emergency response. The DHS is also considering the use of small UAS by its constituent organizations: the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency.
Rheinmetall Airborne Systems revealed a new fixed-wing/VTOL hybrid UAV at the ILA Berlin airshow. Displayed in full-scale model form, the Tactical Utility TU-150 is a joint development with Swiss UAV, the company that produced the VTOL UAV now marketed by Saab as the Skeldar.
On the day after the merger talks between EADS and BAE Systems became public this week, the French and German governments signed a cooperation agreement on future medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs. The two nations will develop a common operational requirement, and may also jointly operate an interim solution. Both countries currently fly the Israeli Heron 1 system in Afghanistan, but their respective air forces have been pressing for a replacement.
Photographs have recently appeared on Chinese Internet sites showing a Xian Y-7 transport aircraft that has been heavily modified to serve as a testbed for a carrier-borne airborne early warning and control (AEW) aircraft. These recent photos follow one that appeared in May 2011, which provided the first grainy visual evidence of development of a “Chinese Hawkeye” by Xian.
The AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute (ASI) released a new interactive online course focused on unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System. Topics include what unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are and how they operate; their effect on general aviation; how manned and unmanned aircraft can safely share the airspace; and how UASs are operating in the NAS. It was developed in collaboration with the Department of Defense.
Stakeholders in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry are coming to accept that introducing UASs into the national airspace system (NAS) will occur gradually, and that a September 2015 deadline for “safe integration” established by Congress is more a waypoint than a destination.
“Decision errors in aviation are typically not slips or lapses, but mistakes,” concludes the introduction to the European Helicopter Safety Implementation Team’s new guide to rotorcraft decision making. “In other words, the problem doesn’t lie with a failure to execute a correct decision, but with making a poor decision in the first instance.”
FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta offered a glimpse into the agency’s plans for integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into U.S. domestic airspace during the August 7 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Las Vegas, but details about precisely how the FAA plans to make the integration of UAVs into domestic airspace work left some skeptics scratching their heads.
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.