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Thread: UAV's, UCAV's and other such matters

  1. #1051

    Another more realistic micro-air unmanned system.............via Soldier Systems blog.........

    Datron Scout

    August 27th, 2011

    If you’re at the Soldier Equipment & Technology Expo & Conference next week at Fort Bragg be sure to stop by Datron’s booth and take a look at the Scout Air Reconnaissance System. The Scout is a lightweight vertical take off and landing unmanned air system. It features hot-swappable payloads and missions profiles that include beyond line of sight or nighttime routes due to its GPS-based controls.


  2. #1052


    SOURCE:Flight International

    Denel completes assembly of Seeker 400 prototype

    By Craig Hoyle

    South Africa's Denel Dynamics plans to conduct the first flight of its prototype Seeker 400 unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in the first quarter of 2012, having announced the completion of manufacturing activities.

    Denel unveiled a mock-up of the Shadow 400 at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Show in Cape Town last year. It has self-funded development work on the tactical UAV, and could launch series production from late next year.

    "There is already a launch customer for the Seeker 400 who operated the [Israel Aerospace Industries] Seeker I tactical UAV in the early 1990s," it said.

    "Two other countries which currently operate the Seeker II are also interested, because the new aircraft can be controlled by using their existing control stations."

    © Denel Dynamics
    Denel has exhibited a model of the Seeker 400 carrying two Mokopa anti-tank missiles

    The Seeker 400 has a planned endurance of up to 16h carrying a twin payload, with line-of-sight operations possible over a range of 250km (135nm). The addition of a satellite communications fit would increase this to 750km, the manufacturer said.

    The company recently displayed a model of the Seeker 400 with another growth option - two of its Mokopa anti-tank missiles.

    "A number of countries have already expressed interest in an armed version of the UAV," it said.

    The up to 10km-range Mokopa has previously been trialled using South African Air Force Rooivalk Mk 1 combat support helicopters.

    Meanwhile, Denel said work on its Bateleur medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV has been placed on hold to enable it to complete development of the Seeker 400.

  3. #1053

    Weird, Birdlike Mystery Drone Crashes in Pakistan

    By Spencer Ackerman August 29, 2011 | 10:30 am

    It looks a bit like silver bird. It probably was used to spy on insurgents. And now it’s in the hands of the Pakistanis.

    WIRED editor-in-chief Chris Anderson flags pictures of an unusual, unfamiliar drone that reportedly crashed crashed over southwestern Pakistan late last week. It’s a surveillance drone, with a camera attached — recovered from the crash but not apparently visible in this photo — rather than the larger, deathly flying robots that shoot missiles. This one looks tiny, with a wingspan not much longer than a man’s outstretched arms, and clearly light enough for a grown man to carry.

    The Pakistani Frontier Corps in Baluchistan province recovered the drone. And they confidently declare it to be an “American surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.” But as Anderson points out, it doesn’t look like anything the U.S. flies — or at least acknowledges flying. What’s the deal?

    Danger Room asked some of our favorite drone and aviation enthusiasts for their perspective on the small mystery drone. And we weren’t the only ones who thought it looked decidedly avian.

    Check out the SmartBird, a drone designed by the engineers at Festo and modeled explicitly on the herring gull:

    It’s clearly not the same drone, as the wings are obviously different: the mystery drone’s wings are straighter and more sharply angled than the SmartBird’s sleeker, more rounded wings, which mimic those of the gull. Judging from the light of the second picture, the SmartBird’s wings — which flap to enable autonomous flight — are made of more than one type of material, which doesn’t appear to be the case with the downed drone. What’s more, the downed drone’s wings have ailerons and its nose kinda-sorta looks like it hosted a propeller, two features the SmartBird lacks. One of our eagle-eyed experts points out to us that since the SmartBird is designed to weigh less than a pound (!), it probably couldn’t have carried a camera in its belly.

    But the two drones look fairly similar, especially with their fantail design in the rear, and their dimensions appear to roughly align. (.PDF). TechCrunch has a cool video from last month of the SmartBird flying above a TED talk given by Festo’s Markus Fischer.

    And there’s a recent push to design small drones to look more like birds that extends beyond Festo. Back in the spring, AeroVironment launched a pint-sized drone that looks like a hummingbird. That drone didn’t look anything like the one that crashed over Pakistan. But masquerading a spy robot as a bird has obvious benefits to the stealthy drone program that hunts al-Qaida in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

    Of course, all this speculation overlooks the simplest explanation: Forge is back in his mutant workshop.

    Photo: Via DIY Drones; Festo

  4. #1054

    More pics of this mystery UAV via Defense Tech.................

    Update: Teal’s other UAV guru, Steve Zaloga tells DT that it might be a modified Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk.

    It may be a Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk with the tail plane modified to look
    more like a bird for camouflage. Just a guess, but the overall size and
    other features are in that ball-park. The Desert Hawk is operated mainly by the
    British, but the SOF community also operates a lot of small UAVs of
    mysterious provenance.
    Read more: http://defensetech.org/2011/08/29/my...#ixzz1WSq81sWx

  5. #1055

    Matternet delivers drugs by robocopter

    By: Rafe Needleman August 27, 2011 6:00 AM PDT

    Matternet's Andreas Raptopoulos with a prototype of his drug delivery system.
    (Credit: Rafe Needleman/CNET)

    The best thing I saw atCES in 2010 was the Parrot AR Drone, aniPhone-controlled quadcopter. It was a really fun toy, but an expensive one, and not that reliable either, as I learned when my demo unit dropped out of the sky. But this platform, the quadcopter, can be a serious player in solving real-world problems. Aeryon, which I covered in 2009, played an important part in the Libyan rebellion: one of its flying bots helped the rebels see over their heads to where their opposition was gathering.

    And at the graduation ceremony of the Singularity University this week, I was introduced to another real-world, save-the-world company that's applying quadcopter technology: Matternet.

    This particular class of S.U. was focused on solving problems for "the next billion people," those without access to modern technology. Matternet tackled the problem of getting drugs and diagnostic or test materials to people in rural areas in developing countries that don't have access to passable roads during rainy seasons.

    The company proposed building a network of robotic drones to deliver medication quickly and very cost-effectively--even less than a guy on a dirt bike costs.

    Matternet team leader Andreas Raptopoulos told me the nominal range of his quadcopters is 10 kilometers when carrying a 2-kilogram load (range changes with load). Landing pads act as beacons to augment GPS and guide the copters to precise landings.

    While the company is building its prototype business around quadcopters, Raptopoulos told me Matternet is platform-agnostic. That makes sense, since fixed-wing drones would be faster and have much greater range (but they couldn't land as precisely).

    In phase two of the company's rollout, it plans to add automated recharging stations to its networks, both to improve turnaround time and reliability, and to allow the installation of way stations that could swap or recharge batteries automatically to extend the range of the copters.

    The business is straightforward: Matternet will charge aid companies for delivery services. Currently, Raptopoulos says, the Dominican Republic is financing a pilot project for the company.

    The Matternet quadcopters are based on open-source technology from DIY Drones. The automatic control systems and flight programming tools are well-developed, Raptopoulos says. The flying vehicles themselves are custom built, for robustness. They should cost a few hundred dollars each.

    Almost all the demos at the Singularity event were for real-world and really clever products, but this one flipped the most switches for me. Matternet is trying to create, essentially, a modern, long-distance version of the pneumatic tubes that hospitals use to shuttle samples and papers around. Building a network of robotic drug delivery helicopters is just as out there, when you think about it, as building giant Habitrails into buildings must have seemed at the time. But look how pervasive they became.

    I'm also fascinated that this autonomous-helicopter form factor (four rotors, each with its own motor, on a platform about 3 feet across) is becoming a standard development platform for low-cost flying bots. I wonder where we'll see these things pop up next.

    Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-19882_3-20...#ixzz1WV3LG6Ed

  6. #1056

    AeroVironment unveils Shrike VTOL UAV

    August 30, 2011

    AeroVironment, Inc. today introduced its lightweight and man-portable Shrike VTOL unmanned aircraft system.

    In August 2008 AeroVironment announced the receipt of a contract from DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop a portable, stealthy, persistent perch and stare (SP2S) unmanned aircraft system. Shrike VTOL represents the conclusion of this development effort.

    "With more than four years of customer funding behind it, our new Shrike VTOL unmanned aircraft system is designed to address the need for a small, light-weight hovering aircraft that delivers unique surveillance and intelligence capability not provided by current solutions. Not only does Shrike VTOL hover for more than 40 minutes with a high resolution video camera, but its innovative design also allows for the transmission of several hours of live video as a remotely emplaced perch and stare sensor," said Tom Herring, senior vice president and general manager of AeroVironment's UAS business segment. "This new solution adds an important set of new capabilities to our existing and battle-proven family of small unmanned aircraft systems that are saving lives in theater today."

    Herring said the Shrike VTOL system delivers the superior imagery, endurance and encrypted video found in all AeroVironment small unmanned aircraft systems. Operating quietly enough to go virtually undetected, Shrike weighs approximately five pounds and is small enough to fit in a backpack.

    Source: Aerovironment

  7. #1057

    Green X to Demonstrate Robird Bird Strike Control at EC UAS Panel Workshop at Eurocontrol in September

    Posted on August 31, 2011 by The Editor

    The Green X Robird will be demonstrated during the upcoming European Commission UAS Panel Workshop at Eurocontrol in Brussels, Belgium on 13-14 September 2011. Robirds have been developed to closely resemble birds of prey and precisely imitate their flight profile, and thereby be an effective tool to decrease the risks of bird strike for aviation.

    Neither, humans, animals, birds nor radar can tell the difference from real birds of prey. For this development, Green X was awarded the UVS International Innovation Award at the UAS 2011 Conference in Paris.

    Bird strikes pose an increasing problem to air traffic as:

    ■ due to environmental measures, the number of birds is rapidly increasing;
    ■ birds adapt to urban settings and airports;
    ■ modern aircraft get faster and quieter;
    ■ modern aircraft generally have two engines, instead of four engines as in the past, and
    ■ air traffic is increasing.

    As a means of bird control, the Robird, a flapping wing UAS, is the only solution to remove birds lastingly in the desired direction, as it uses the natural response of birds to the presence of birds of prey.

    Peregrine Falcon

    When spotting a bird of prey, birds flock together and try to out climb the predator. When this happens, the Robird is flown around the flock, like a shepherd dog, to direct the birds out of harm’s way. This natural response of birds only happens when they spot a bird of prey flapping its wings. Birds know that when soaring, birds of prey do not hunt. When birds realise that an airport is the habitat of a bird of prey they will stay away for extended periods of time.

    In conjunction with bird radar, Robirds can be used to prevent birds from coming to the airport and, to reroute migrating birds that might possibly cross the flight paths of aircraft on and outside the airport. Fitted with cameras Robirds can be used for inspection and surveillance, as it is very difficult to distinguish them from real birds by humans and radar alike.

    For additional information visit www.greenx.nl and www.hellerdesign.nl

    Source: Press Release

  8. #1058

    US Army Tests Manned-Unmanned Aircraft System Integration

    Posted on August 31, 2011 by The Editor

    The US Army will mount the largest yet demonstration of manned and unmanned aircraft systems interoperability. The manned unmanned systems integration concept (Music) exercise will take place September 15 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

    Music will demonstrate new manned-unmanned teaming concepts. These include the use of a universal ground-control station (UGCS) to manage multiple, different UAS platforms, and the ability of a soldier on the ground to steer a UAS sensor payload using the one-system, remote-video terminal (OSRVT). The first iteration of the army’s mini-universal, ground-control stations (M-UGCS) will be rolled out, demonstrating movement toward a common controller for small UAS, including the Aerovironment RQ-11B Raven and Puma AE. The service also plans to demonstrate M-UGCS control of the sensors on a larger General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

    Other participating aircraft will be AH-64D Block II Apache and OH-58D Kiowa helicopters and AAI Corp. RQ-7 Shadow and Northrop Grumman MQ-5 Hunter UAS. Music will be “the largest demonstration of interoperability between manned and unmanned systems ever conducted,” Tim Owings, Army deputy project manager for UAS, told the Army News Service. AAI Corp. is the contractor for both the UGCS and the OSRVT.

    The truck-mounted UGCS will be used to control the Shadow, Gray Eagle and Hunter. Dismounted soldiers using the OSRVT with new bidirectional data-link can take control of the sensor payloads of these platforms and “steer the payload to where the operator needs to look,” the Army says.

    Also to be demonstrated will be the ability of the remote terminal to receive video from the Raven and Puma, as well as the Apache and Kiowa. Under the manned-to-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) concept, the Apache can receive UAS sensor video in the cockpit and retransmit video to the ground via the OSRVT. The Kiowa is also capable of re-transmitting video from UAS to the ground, increasing the range of video available to ground troops.

    Reportedly, the UAS control segments and mission- and flight-control systems operate off a very secure software platform developed by Green Hills Software of Santa Barbara, Calif. AIN was unable confirm this, although Green Hills did introduce an autonomous-vehicle, open-software platform at the recent Unmanned Systems North America conference.

    Source: AIN Online

  9. #1059

    Kansas State University at Salina’s UAS Programme Gets FAA Airspace Authorisation

    Posted on August 31, 2011 by The Editor

    Interesting to see the number of UNi's getting seriously into UAS's............

    Kansas State University at Salina’s unmanned aircraft systems programme office has landed key authorisation from the Federal Aviation Administration that will benefit programme offerings and students.

    The office recently became one of only a few civil entities granted a certificate of authorisation within Class D airspace from the Federal Aviation Administration. The authorization allows the program, based at the Salina Municipal Airport, to operate its unmanned aircraft, an Aerosonde Mk 4.7, in the national airspace system.

    “K-State’s certificate of authorisation allows our students to practice handing control over to the next ground station, practice simulated lost-link procedures, and experience scenario-based mission deployments, all of which will prepare them for possible search-and-rescue mission deployments in the future,” said Josh Brungardt, director of the unmanned aircraft systems office. “This certification of authorisation enhances the unmanned aircraft training capabilities already available at K-State Salina.”

    Brungardt estimates a minimum of 10 students will assist with each practice mission. “Our unmanned aircraft systems classes are filled to capacity this semester,” said Kurt Barnhart, aviation department head. “Students recognize that we provide a unique training programme and they are excited for the hands-on experience.”

    Even though unmanned test flights are new for the Salina runway, the airport does not foresee any complications. “The Salina airport hosts a variety of manned aircraft, and unmanned procedures are no different,” said Tim Rogers, an accredited airport executive and executive director of the Salina Airport Authority. “Runway 17-35 is ideally suited for K-State unmanned aircraft systems operations and training missions.” The training flights will not close any runways and a notice to airmen will be filed at least 48 hours in advance of each flight.

    “K-State is advancing the use of unmanned aircraft and sensors for future commercial missions,” said Dennis Kuhlman, CEO and dean of K-State Salina. “Students in our unmanned aircraft systems bachelor’s degree program play an active role in this research, preparing them for exciting career opportunities after graduation.”

    K-State’s unmanned aircraft systems programme office collaborates with military organizations and the private sector to develop unmanned flight in the nation’s airspace and training pilots and operators of unmanned aircraft systems.

    K-State also establishes criteria for unmanned aircraft system flight operations, including activity at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range and eventually at the Herington unmanned aircraft system flight facility. The university’s programme office establishes policies and procedures to enable both military and civilian organizations to fly and test at the area facilities

    Source: Press Release

    Minnesota College Starts Unmanned Aircraft Technician Training Programme

    Posted on August 31, 2011 by The Editor

    Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, is training students to repair and maintain unmanned aircraft. The programme just started this month, but officials there say companies are already trying to recruit graduates.

    Three years ago the aviation mechanic programme at Northland Community and Technical College nearly shut down because of a lack of students. Consolidation in the airline industry eliminated mechanic jobs and student interest in the profession.

    That’s when school officials decided to focus on unmanned aircraft systems. This autumn, the college will have 70 new students in its unmanned aviation programme, Dean for Aviation Jim Retka said. “Obviously the development of our new UAS programme had a lot to do with that,” Retka said of the number of students in the technicians programme.

    Students need to pass a standard aircraft maintenance programme before they can take the six-month specialized unmanned aircraft training. Over the next couple of years, Northland also hopes to attract former Northwest Airlines mechanics who already have basic skills and could go directly into the UAS programme.

    The unmanned aircraft technician training is so new there’s not yet a test to certify graduates meet industry standards. Northland UAS and Aviation Chief Operating Officer Scott Fletcher said the college asked the unmanned aviation industry what should be included in the curriculum. The school also worked with an industry group, the national Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies, to develop standards for unmanned aircraft technicians. Fletcher said a national certification test should be ready by early next year when the first students graduate. Jobs will be waiting.

    “There is a significant need for qualified maintenance technicians in the UAS arena,” he said. “Some of the manufacturers have expressed an interest in coming in to recruit our graduates. So the jobs are there.”

    Source: MPR News

  10. #1060

    The Second European Commission UAS Panel Workshop

    Posted on August 31, 2011 by Peter van Blyenburgh

    On 23 June 2011 the European Commission officially announced the creation of the EC UAS Panel at the Paris Air Show. The objective of the EC UAS Panel is to produce a policy document, describing the current global UAS situation and the key challenges facing UAS development and operation in Europe. The policy document should provide concrete recommendations to policy-makers on how obstacles can be removed so as to promote the development of the UAS market in Europe.

    The policy document will take civil and military UAS aspects of insertion into non-segregated airspace as well as frequency spectrum requirements into account. It will cover the entire UAS spectrum, from light UAS to HALE, irrespective of weight.

    The European Commission, EUROCONTROL, EASA, industry experts, potential users and other interested stakeholders will work together on preparing for the safe use of UAS in non-segregated European airspace.

    The title of the upcoming second workshop is: “UAS insertion into airspace and radio frequencies” and it will address all associated issues, including standards, international rules and radio frequency management. This workshop is the second in a series of five run jointly by the European Commission’s DG MOVE and DG ENTERPRISE on the insertion of Unmanned Aerial Systems into European controlled airspace. The overall objective of the series is to gather information on how to remove obstacles to the use of unmanned aircraft systems in Europe.

    This second workshop will identify the obstacles to the insertion of UAS into non-segregated airspace and outline the requisite remedial actions. In this context, the provisional programme will cover the following topics in separate consecutive sessions: Assessment of current UAS regulatory developments; National ATM/CNS perspectives & experience; Civil/military aspects; Frequency spectrum; Security; R&D innovative solutions; the industrial perspective.

    The “chef de file” (organiser) of the second workshop is Luc Tytgat, EUROCONTROL’s Director Single Sky. This workshop will take place at EUROCONTROL’s headquarters at 96 rue de la Fusée, B-1130 Brussels, Belgium (in the Europa meeting room) from 14.00 to 17.45 on 13 September and from 09.00 to 17.00 on 14 September 2011.

    Written contributions for the second can be addressed to the European Commission at ENTR-UAS@ec.europa.eu . These written contributions will be used formulate the workshop Discussion Paper.

    Prior registration is mandatory and can be done on-line at http://www.eurocontrol.int/content/2...?event_id=2498)

    Additional information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/secto...s/index_en.htm

    Questions concerning this workshop can be addressed to: entr-uas@ec.europa.com and single.skycontact@eurocontrol.int

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