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September 07, 2007

Swarms of 'smart' UAVs may decide tomorrow's battles

"Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, have come up with a new technology that would allow Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) to control themselves.

Future battles could see the deployment of UAVs, but controlling a sky full of them, when communication links with ground become patchy, pose a possible problem.

However, Yossi Ben-Asher and his colleagues say that if the UAVs create their own communications network and swap the information needed to calculate flight paths and avoid collisions, then that would completely eliminate the need for constant communication with the ground."

Read more at Swarms of 'smart' UAVs may decide tomorrow's battles

Outmoded drones put us at risk, soldiers say

"Canadian troops in Afghanistan are being put at risk because of the limited capabilities of the aerial drones that provide them with surveillance, say soldiers on the ground.

The use of Sperwer unmanned aerial vehicles, known as UAVs, in Kandahar is being hindered by extremely hot temperatures, the aircraft's limited endurance as well as serviceability issues, military officers said privately. Those limitations also have resulted in gaps in surveillance during recent firefights in the Kandahar area, putting soldiers at risk, they add."

Read more at Outmoded drones put us at risk, soldiers say

Hosing Down Hot UAVs

"U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs operating in the Middle East have a unique heat problem. Being relatively small, unmanned, aircraft, they do not have industrial strength air conditioning for their electronic systems. There are a lot of electronics on this bird, most of them spy satellite grade sensors. These things are built to operate a high altitudes where it is very cold, very much below freezing. But on the ground in the Persian Gulf, just taxiing from an air-conditioned hanger to the runway and takeoff, and even doing this at night, can allow the electronics to heat up enough for some of fail. Take-offs have been aborted because within a space of ten minutes or so, the hot outside temperature, and all those electronics took the internal temperature of the aircraft to over 40 degrees Celsius. One key component fails, and the UAV aborts the take off."

Read more at Hosing Down Hot UAVs

Predators improve fire mapping

"NASA and the U.S. Forest Service have teamed up to test a remotely piloted, unmanned Predator aircraft to improve data collection for fighting wildfires.

The Predator is developed and tested at General Atomics Aeronautics facilities in El Mirage and Adelanto.

From mid-August through September, a NASA Predator B named Ikhana will carry sophisticated new imaging and real-time communications equipment for up to 24 hours continuously over wildfires in the western United States. "

Read more at Victorville Daily Press : Local News: Predators improve fire mapping | wildfires, ikhana, fire

Russia unveils pilotless 'stealth' bomber

"Russia unveiled on Thursday the mock-up of a pilotless bomber plane that its constructors say will be even better than the famous US stealth fighter at evading enemy radars and anti-aircraft fire.

NTV television showed a full-sized model of the bat-like plane known as Skat, which means "stingray," at an airshow just outside Moscow -- the first public glimpse of the project run by Russia's MiG corporation."

Read more at Russia unveils pilotless 'stealth' bomber

August 19, 2007

Flying drone photographs Zaca Fire

'An unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a camera flew over the massive Zaca Fire on Thursday, providing a tool to peer through smoke and pinpoint hot spots while delivering real-time data, officials said.

The UAV based at Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster flew at 25,000 feet above the fire, before taking a similar tour of blazes in Northern California.

The cooperative agreement grew out of the U.S. Forest Service assisting NASA after the Columbia space shuttle broke apart on its way to landing at Cape Canaveral, Fla., in 2003.'
Read more at Flying drone photographs Zaca Fire

August 17, 2007

Navy plans to deploy unmanned aircraft on frigates; orders study

"The Canadian navy could soon be looking for a few good drones.

National Defence plans to conduct a study next year on how the country's frigates can safely launch and recover unmanned aerial vehicles - UAVs - at sea, and is asking for private companies with expertise to step forward. "Currently, sensors are installed on the ships' masts to position them as high as possible to aid early detection of threats," said a background document accompanying the tender."

Read more at Navy plans to deploy unmanned aircraft on frigates; orders study

August 14, 2007

Predator soars to record numbers of sorties

"When terrorists tried shooting mortar rounds at Balad Air Base in July, they didn't count on the tireless, unblinking eye of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle overhead, transmitting their every move to Airmen on the ground here.

Airmen assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron here kept the Predator overhead July 24 watching the men while they confirmed what they were seeing with a joint terminal attack controller on the ground.

After confirmation, the order was given for the Predator to launch an air strike and moments later a Hellfire air-to-ground missile struck the terrorists' car when they fled, killing the three terrorists. "

Read more at Predator soars to record numbers of sorties

Army Eyes Helicopter Drone for Iraq

"The Army is considering sending a revolutionary new kind of unmanned aerial vehicle to Iraq that can hover at 20,000 feet over the battlefield for more than eight hours, transmitting infrared and optical imagery to commanders on the ground.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout tactical unmanned aerial vehicle system - which only a few years ago seemed all but dead - is one system Army Vice-Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody requested this summer as a possible answer to an urgent battlefield need for unmanned surveillance in Iraq."

Read more at Army Eyes Helicopter Drone for Iraq

MQ-1 Predator On Duty

"When terrorists tried shooting mortar rounds at Balad Air Base in July, they didn't count on the tireless, unblinking eye of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle overhead, transmitting their every move to Airmen on the ground here.

Airmen assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron here kept the Predator overhead July 24 watching the men while they confirmed what they were seeing with a joint terminal attack controller on the ground.

After confirmation, the order was given for the Predator to launch an air strike and moments later a Hellfire air-to-ground missile struck the terrorists' car when they fled, killing the three terrorists."

Read more at MQ-1 Predator On Duty

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