As Japan, and indeed the world, struggles to comprehend the devastation resulting from the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, countries around the world have rushed to offer support in a number of ways. Amongst the aid flowing from the U.S. is a U-2 high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft that will be used to capture high-resolution, broad area synoptic imagery to help the Japanese identify the location and extent of damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami. Read More
The first of the next generation of Northrop Grumman’s Block 40 configuration RQ-4 Global Hawk has successfully completed its first flight. The two hour flight took the aircraft from Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California to Edwards Air Force Base, California. Designated AF-18, the Block 40 configuration of the high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) will carry the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) active electronically scanned array radar that will help warfighters detect, track and identify stationary and moving targets. Read More
The MQ-9 Reaper, a hunter-killer UAV with long loitering capability, has completed its first operational mission in Iraq. The craft has been used in Afghanistan since 2007, clocking 3,800 hours and attacking 16 targets with 500-pound bombs and Hellfire missiles. Read More
November 12, 2007 Britain's most sophisticated unmanned surveillance system, the Reaper UAV, has been deployed into active service in Afghanistan. Read More
September 11, 2007 Using new solar array technology and a tailor-built autopilot system, QinetiQ’s Zephyr High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has nearly doubled the official world record time for the longest duration unmanned flight with a 54 hour flight achieved during trials at the US Military's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Read More
August 31, 2007 The US Airforce has announced the deployment of a new squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Capable of carrying a payload of 3,750 pounds, the jet-fighter sized MQ-9 Reaper can fly at 300mph, reach 50,000 feet and stay airborne for 14 hours at a time. The "hunter-killer" UAV also incorporates Infrared, laser and radar targeting and is capable of deploying precision guided weapons. Read More
August 10, 2007 Northrop Grumman has announced that it will equip its unmanned aircraft with technology that makes it safer to share airspace with piloted aircraft. Known as “Sense-and-Avoid”, these systems have been in development for more than five years. Read More
December 15, 2006 Australia’s new military helicopter is currently being checked out by France's Delegation Generale pour l'Armement (DGA) in Australia and part of the process took place last week at the Woomera Testing Range in South Australia. The French brought their own pilot to try out a combination of the Tiger and Lockheed Martin’s combat-proven HELLFIRE II air-to-ground missile. All went well, as the first-time French gunner, using a lock-on-before-launch technique, scored a direct hit with the HELLFIRE II missile on a target six kilometers away. On top of the HELLFIRE's seven-for-seven performance in earlier test flights from the ARH, the combination of the Tiger and HELLFIRE together make a formidable weapon system. A total of 22 new ‘Tiger’ helicopters will be bought by the Australian Defence Force, with the majority being built by Australian Aerospace in Brisbane at a cost of US$1.0 billion. Read More
November 2, 2006 Raytheon has unveiled what it calls its Universal Control System (UCS) - a first of its kind unmanned aerial system (UAS) "cockpit" that revolutionizes operator awareness and efficiency, while providing the ability to control multiple unmanned aircraft, reduce potential accidents, improve training, and decrease costs. The announcement was made during the Shephard UV North America 2006 conference in Tysons Corner, Va. Read More
October 20, 2006 Aircraft AI-001, the first Army I-GNAT ER unmanned aircraft produced for the U.S. Army, is continuing the illustrious General Atomics Predator family tradition, recently passing 5,000 flight hours. Initially deployed in March 2004, the aircraft has been involved in continuous operations ever since, and achieved this major milestone on its 428th combat mission. Its key attributes of long endurance (over 40 hours), large payload capacity, ease of use, low maintenance and very low cost-per-flight-hour make it one of the most durable and operationally flexible UAS ever built. The I-GNAT is an improved version of the original GNAT-750 began operation in 1989 and is designed to takeoff and land conventionally from any hard surface. Read More