Northrop Grumman unveiled a new optionally piloted vehicle in the medium-altitude, long-endurance (Male) class, which is currently dominated by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems with its Predator/Reaper series. The Firebird will fly in piloted and multisensor configuration later this month at Empire Challenge 2011, a military intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) exercise hosted by the U.S.
In a significant move, the U.S. government has cleared an unarmed version of the Predator UAV for wider export, including to the Middle East. Until now, the Predator and Reaper series has been exported only to the UK and Italy, and offered to a few other U.S. allies. Long-endurance UAVs are included in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR), a voluntary 34-nation agreement.
When it comes to defense coverage, AIN naturally focuses on airborne systems and platforms, including some very high-tech stuff, of course. But my visit to the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Conference and Exhibitionin London last month was a reminder that what happens on the ground is equally, if not more, important.
AeroVironment has become the first company to fly a stratospheric, very-long-endurance UAV as part of the U.S. government’s Global Observer initiative. The 175-foot-wingspan aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base on August 5 and flew for one hour, reaching 4,000 feet.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) recently completed flight tests of its new Lynx advanced multi-channel radar (AMR) on its own Predator B unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The AMR combines the functions of a synthetic aperture radar and a ground moving target indicator.
L-3 Communications is here at the Farnborough airshow highlighting some of the technology with which it has been able to assert itself as a leader in systems developed to greater capability to existing military aircraft. The U.S.
Most Farnborough exhibitors are here showing the fruits of years of laboratory work, but Lockheed Martin has brought the laboratory itself. The U.S.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) chose the Navy League convention to introduce a carrier-capable version of its Predator C UAV. GA-ASI has proposed the Sea Avenger for the emerging U.S. Navy Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UClass). It is based on the jet-powered, stealthy development of the Predator series that GA-ASI has funded through design, development and into flight test.
The UK’s Secretary of Defense, Bob Ainsworth, confirmed on March 22 that the Royal Air Force would receive three Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft to provide its signals intelligence (Sigint) gathering capability, the final agreement having been reached on March 19. The announcement brought to an end any lingering speculation concerning the immediate future of RAF Sigint.
Singapore-based Stratech Systems Ltd. yesterday signed an agreement covering the establishment of a joint venture with Israeli UAV specialists Aeronautics. The new entity, Stratech Aeronautics, will operate from Singapore and will initially fo-
cus on the Asia-Pacific region. Not only will the new teaming enhance and market its existing products, but will ultimately develop new offerings.