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Reconnaissance

Artist's concept of the Philae lander that is set to touch down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Ger...

After you become the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid, what do you do for an encore? For ESA’s Rosetta comet probe, the answer is to get ready for the first soft landing on a comet nucleus. Only weeks after going into orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the unmanned Rosetta explorer is engaged in a fast-paced reconnaissance of the comet and has identified five candidate sites for putting down the Philae lander in November.  Read More

AHRLAC is being touted as Africa’s first home-grown military aircraft

Claimed to be Africa’s first home-grown military aircraft, the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC), is designed to integrate a range of military and civilian support technologies in one multi-role package. Aimed at performing duties similar to both attack helicopters and reconnaissance planes, the AHRLAC is designed to carry surveillance equipment, weapons, radar and electronic warfare systems.  Read More

The Leidos ACTUV is part of DARPA's submarine tracking program (Image: DARPA)

As part of DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, Reston Virginia-based company Leidos is building the first robotic autonomous vessel designed to locate and track the extremely quiet diesel submarines that are finding their way into the navy fleets around the world.  Read More

D-Day beaches recce photos from 2014 and 1944 (Photo: Ministry of Defence)

Seventy years ago, the greatest military operation in history was launched as the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe in what history recalls as D-Day. We’re used to seeing newsreel images of marines and infantrymen rushing from landing craft in the face of the German guns, but overhead there was another war raging as men in fragile aircraft risked their lives to capture vital images of the battle’s progress. As part of the 70th-anniversary commemoration, RAF Tornado jets from II (Army Co-operation) Squadron (II (AC) Sqn) recreated that historic D-Day recon mission over Normandy, giving us a glimpse of how far aerial reconnaissance has come in three generations.  Read More

The autonomous Land Tamer vehicle, which will be dropped off to explore a rugged area by a...

This April, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and the US Army used a one-of-a-kind autonomous Black Hawk helicopter to perform an unmanned cargo flight demonstration. Known as the Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator, that same chopper has now been enlisted to take the autonomy concept even further. In the new Extended Operational Reach with Autonomous Air and Ground Vehicles project, it will deliver an all-terrain vehicle to a remote site, and that vehicle will then autonomously explore the site from ground level.  Read More

Boeing has tested its AH-6i light attack helicopter for the first time in its production c...

Boeing has flown its new light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in its production configuration. A prototype of the AH-6i was taken through preliminary tests in a flight lasting less than 20 minutes. The flight brings the model one step closer to full production.  Read More

The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo...

The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More

The Watchkeeper UAV has be given the go ahead for military flight tests (Photo: Richard Se...

Since first taking to the air in June 2009, trials of the UK's homegrown Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle have been conducted by industry partners including QinetiQ. The UK Ministry of Defence has now announced the aircraft has been awarded a Release To Service, clearing the way for flight training to begin with the Royal Artillery.  Read More

DARPA's ARES consists of a VTOL flight module capable of carrying several different types ...

Helicopters are an invaluable military resource for transporting supplies, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance, and evacuating casualties from rugged terrain. Unfortunately, they are also a finite resource. That's why DARPA is looking to share the load with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.  Read More

The SPARCS round round has a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized r...

Imagine a scenario where an earthquake brings down an industrial complex, trapping the survivors inside and as the disaster response team arrives, they unpack a grenade launcher and start lobbing rounds into the air. This may seem like madness, but there’s method in it. In this hypothetical case, the grenades are part of the Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System (SPARCS) built by Singapore-based ST Engineering. Instead of a warhead, each 40 mm grenade round has a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized receiver; turning disaster teams, police, and foot soldiers into recon units.  Read More

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