Puma Gets Perceptive With New Turret

OWEGO, N.Y., Nov. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) partner Altavian Inc. has been awarded a $4 million contract to provide gimbaled sensor payloads for the Army’s RQ-20 Puma small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  These payloads will feature the Lockheed Martin Procerus Technologies Perceptor gimbaled imaging sensor, which provides advanced stabilization and sharper images, along with dual-band imaging and laser illumination capabilities.

“The latest Perceptor payload technologies will provide the warfighter with unparalleled capabilities,” said Kevin Westfall, director of unmanned solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. ”Its advanced imaging and stabilization will enhance operations such as gathering intelligence, providing situational awareness, and keeping the warfighter out of harm’s way.”

The jointly-developed Altavian and Lockheed Martin Puma Perceptor payload has successfully completed Army product verification testing.  Having completed these demanding tests, the payload is now available to all branches of the military and Special Forces that require improved imaging capabilities on their RQ-20 Puma UAS.

Lockheed Martin has five decades of experience in unmanned and robotic systems for air, land and sea. From the depths of the ocean to the rarified air of the stratosphere, Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems help our military, civil and commercial customers accomplish their most difficult challenges.

Dassault and BAE Systems unveil FCAS UCAV

   © Dassault Aviation

BAE Systems:  Dassault Aviation and ourselves along with industrial partners have been awarded a £120m contract by the UK and French governments for a two-year co-operative Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Feasibility Phase study, formally signalling the start of work.

Dassault: Dassault Aviation, BAE Systems and their industrial partners have been awarded a €150m/£120m contract by the French and UK governments for a two year co-operative Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Feasibility Phase study, formally signaling the start of work.  This is the first step towards what could become a full demonstration programme that shapes the future of combat aerospace in Europe.

Atlante UAV Put Forward for European Civil Certification

Airbus Defense and Space formally submitted its Atlante unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for civil certification — the first ever such application in Europe. The application was made to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the body responsible for certifying all aircraft designed or operated in Europe.

 The Atlante is a 570 kg, single-engined, propeller-powered UAV with a wingspan of eight meters. The second version recently made its first flight. It is equipped with the latest-generation technology (automation, sensors, protection systems, etc.), and has been designed according to the standards used for manned aircraft. This gives it unique features in terms of airworthiness and certification that will allow it to operate in civil airspace, unlike systems that are limited to operations in conflict scenarios.

 This ability makes the Atlante the first tactical UAV capable of carrying out both civil and military missions, such as urban and rural surveillance, search and rescue, natural disasters, forest fires, monitoring of sporting events, etc.  The company and EASA will now work together to develop a certification process for this new UAV based on the process normally used for manned aircraft, which will set the standards for future UAV certifications in Europe.

 ”UAVs represent a rapidly growing activity in commercial aviation that will have a very significant economic impact in the near future,” said Miguel Ángel Morell, head of engineering for military aircraft at Airbus Defense and Space. “The launch of the Atlante application will help EASA to secure a world-leading position in the establishment of the appropriate regulatory framework under which such systems will be designed, produced and maintained.”

PSBJ: Big cargo carrier reduces fleet, a bad omen for Boeing 747′s future

One of Europe’s largest air freight companies on Friday announced plans to dump most of its freighter planes in favor of putting more cargo in the bellies of passenger jets.

Back in Everett, that’s bad news for Boeing’s beleaguered 747-8F, which is virtually unwanted, with just 18 orders….

A Boeing spokesman declined to confirm the ownership status of the three green 747s, saying this is customers’ business, but G2 Solutions principal Michel Merluzeau said it at least suggests how weak the market is for dedicated 747 freighters.

“Demand is overall fairly soft,” he said. “The 747-8F is an expensive (list price $468 million) cargo aircraft. It’s a niche product, very compelling in terms of performance, but it is an aircraft marketed in a very soft market.”

Aurora’s Centaur Gains a Foothold

Aurora Flight Sciences is displaying its Diamond DA42 optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) on the Diamond Aircraft stand here (OE18). The low-cost intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solution is compatible with NATO standards, and “combines the best of manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft capabilities,” said U.S.-based Aurora.

Called the Centaur, the OPA can be self-deployed, as its ground control equipment fits in the aircraft’s cargo compartment. Conversion from manned to unmanned-configuration takes two crewmembers less than four hours.

The Centaur OPA is capable of fully autonomous operation, including waypoint navigation, with control via a Ku-band satellite datalink. A video link is beamed to a C2 station or Rover vehicle.

Control when unmanned is via the existing Aurora system, which has been shown to be reliable, with high levels of redundancy in line-of-sight (LOS) and beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) operations. The company points out that the aircraft is “an excellent solution for clandestine operations” as it “blends in visually into the general aviation landscape to a casual observer.”

Unmanned, the aircraft can fly for 24 hours with a 200-pound payload (or less time with up to 800-pound payload) and a range in excess of 2,000 nm. Top speed is 175 knots with a normal operating speed range of 135 to 160 knots. Service ceiling is 18,000 feet manned or, if unmanned, the aircraft can operate at anything up to 27,500 feet.

U.S. Navy’s UCLASS Requirements Continue to Shift

The striking power and stealth of the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) concept was reduced to protect the role of the service’s next-generation of manned fighters, USNI News has learned.

 In particular, the change in UCLASS from a deep strike stealthy penetrator into the current lightly armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) focused aircraft was — in large part — to preserve a manned version of the F/A-XX replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, several Navy, Pentagon and industry sources confirmed to USNI News.

Industry, Pentagon and Navy sources outlined a, “bureaucratic and cultural resistance to the introduction of unmanned aircraft onto the carrier.” Those sources outline a conflict inside the service between naval aviation traditionalists locked onto preserving manned strike aircraft against separate elements that want to shift more of the burden of strike to unmanned systems.

“Broadly speaking, the naval aviation community is kind of one mind on UCLASS and unmanned systems on carriers,” a former senior naval official familiar with the ongoing UCLASS requirements discussion told USNI News on Monday.
“If you didn’t want that unmanned air vehicle to compete with what’s likely to be a manned replacement for the F/A-18, what would you do? You’d make it ISR only or ISR/limited strike and make it for a low threat environment so that it really can’t complete against a manned fighter.”

Airbus Teams Up with Perlan Project


Perlan Project Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit aeronautical exploration and atmospheric science research organization that utilizes sailplanes (gliders) designed to fly at extremely high altitudes is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Airbus Group – a global leader in aerospace – to fly a glider to the edge of space (+90,000 feet – 27,432 metres).
Airbus Perlan Mission II was unveiled today at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention, the largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts and professionals in the U.S., by Jean Botti, Chief Technical Officer at Airbus Group, and Einar Enevoldson, Chairman, Founder and Pilot at Perlan Project Inc. 


Radar for Fire Scout C in the Works

The US Naval Air Systems Command is seeking information on radar technology that could be flown on board the service’s Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned air vehicle.

A request for information solicitation was released on 9 July, and calls for interested vendors to provide information on radar suitable for integration with the Bell 407 helicopter-derived UAV. The deadline for information is 11 August.

“PMA-266 is surveying the industry for current airborne radar/antenna capabilities that can serve to meet MQ-8C Fire Scout radar capability requirements,” the RFI reads.

asset image

US Navy

Operational capabilities of the radar will include: surface search; synthetic aperture radar (SAR); inverse SAR; and weather modes. It should be equipped with an antenna/array with a minimum 180˚ field of regard, the RFI notes.

The radar being sought will weigh up to 81.7kg (180lb) without the radome, and have a maximum external volume of 305mm (12in) below the aircraft, with a 762mm-diameter antenna pedestal and array allocation. Internal allocation will be 686 x 1,170 x 508mm.

NRC Outlines Autonomy Impacts Within Unmanned Aerial Systems

As unmanned systems evolve rapidly from remote piloting through automated flying to autonomous decision-making, civil aviation will not escape unscathed. Beyond unmanned aircraft, the technology is expected to find its way into aircraft cockpits and air traffic control centers to increase efficiency and safety.

Ensuring safe and reliable behavior by systems that can adapt to their environment is the barrier to increasing autonomy in civil aviation, says a report by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC), commissioned by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate The report identifies key barriers and provides a national research agenda for enabling the introduction of autonomy into civil aviation.