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Unmanned

Artist's concept of the HammerHead UAV on a mission (Photo: Piaggio)

There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.  Read More

The MHI-Super Giraffe can handle 15 degree slopes and works for 5 hours on a rechargeable ...

While the world watches anxiously as the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) begins its most dangerous operation yet in the ongoing clean-up of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, large Japanese corporations continue to design and build robots to help go where people cannot. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has built a new remote-controlled robot called the MHI-Super Giraffe, which has an extendable arm capable of reaching up to 8 m (26 ft), and borrows battery technology from Mitsubishi Motor's electric vehicles.  Read More

The MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter's maiden flight lasted seven minutes (Photo: Alan...

The next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has taken to the air for the first time at Naval Base Ventura County in California. Built by Northrop Grumman around a Bell 407 helicopter, the MQ-8C is designed to boast twice the endurance and three times the payload capacity of the MQ-8B variant that has clocked up over 5,000 flight hours in Afghanistan.  Read More

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has carried out the first gliding approach and landing tes...

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) carried out the first gliding approach and landing test of their Dream Chaser spacecraft at Edwards Air Force Base on October 26. The vehicle dropped from its carrier aircraft at 11:10 am, and carried out gliding and landing maneuvers flawlessly. However, the left landing gear door did not function, causing the test spacecraft to flip on landing.  Read More

The Flexrotor UAV takes off autonomously from the skiff

Northrop Grumman's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) may have grabbed headlines earlier this year with its first launches from and landings aboard an aircraft carrier, but Aerovel Corporation has completed an equally impressive launch, flight and landing of its Flexrotor UAV from a somewhat smaller carrier. And in this case, not only was the aircraft unmanned, so was the boat.  Read More

Unmanned F-16 fighter jet going through combat maneuvers in the Gulf of Mexico

Boeing has announced that it has retrofitted a number of retired Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets with equipment enabling them to be flown remotely without a pilot. In conjunction with the US Air Force, the company recently flew one of these unmanned jets, performing combat maneuvers and a perfect center line landing.  Read More

This UAV competes in Eurathlon, a mock disaster-response competition for robots

Roboticists are competing in Europe this week to prove their superiority at bomb disposal and other dangerous tasks, but the teams are not comprised of military or emergency response personnel. Instead, unmanned autonomous vehicles and their human operators have gathered in Berchtesgaden, Germany at the first ever Eurathlon, a competition and convention designed to push innovation in smart robots that perform tasks that are too risky for humans.  Read More

The solar-powered Puma AE prototype readied for hand launch (Photo: Courtesy AeroVironment...

A solar-powered variant of AeroVironment’s hand-launched Puma AE small UAS has matched the continuous flight time of over nine hours attained by a hybrid fuel cell-powered model in 2008.  Read More

Condor Aerial's Maveric UAV (Video still: Condor Aerial)

Florida Keys authorities are turning to unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with infrared cameras in their ongoing battle to control mosquitos.  Read More

The X-47B making the first UAV arrested carrier landing

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator put another page in the history books on Wednesday with its first unmanned arrested-wire carrier landing. The drone flew 35 minutes from Patuxent River Naval Air Station to the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia, where is landed at about 145 knots (167 mph, 268 km/h) with an arresting wire catching its tail hook and bringing it to a stop in 350 ft (107 m).  Read More

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