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The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System flying with its landing gear up during a test flight ...

Having completed its first flight earlier this year, the Northrop Grumman-built U.S. Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft achieved another milestone on September 30 with its first flight in cruise mode. Part of the on-going “envelope expansion” program to demonstrate the aircraft’s performance under a variety of altitude, speed and fuel load conditions, the flight took place at Edwards Air Force Base and saw the aircraft retracting its landing gear and flying in cruise configuration for the first time.  Read More

DARPA's HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle, which prematurely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on ...

The first – and perhaps only – video footage of the ill-fated second test-flight of DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) has been released. Shot with a handheld camera by a crewmember aboard the Pacific Tracker, the first monitoring vessel able to visually track the HTV’s initial entry into the atmosphere, the video shows the HTV-2 hurtling across the sky on August 11 at Mach 20 before its “controlled descent” into the Pacific Ocean.  Read More

QinetiQ's DR10 is intended for military and first responder duties

QinetiQ North America has unveiled its latest Micro Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MUGV) based on its Dragon Runner platform. The new Dragon Runner 10 (DR10) is built around the basic Dragon Runner design and is intended for military and first responder duties. At just 15 inches (38 cm) long, 13.5 inches (34 cm) wide and 5.8 inches (15 cm) tall, and weighing just under 10 pounds (4.5 kg), the DR10 is small and light enough to be carried in a standard-issue pack and be thrown into buildings and hostile environments for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.  Read More

The HTV-2 is designed to travel at speeds of Mach 20

On Thursday, DARPA's unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2) was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard an Air Force Minotaur IV rocket, which inserted the aircraft into the desired trajectory. After separation from the rocket, the vehicle transitioned to Mach 20 (approximately 13,000 mph/21,000 km/h) aerodynamic flight but a little after nine minutes of monitored flight the signal from the vehicle was lost with initial indications that the second test flight has ended in the same way as the first - with a crash into the Pacific Ocean.  Read More

Long Distance Tele-Operation technology will allow UGVs such as the TALON robot to be cont...

The U.S. military is currently able to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in far away countries from the U.S., while ground robotic systems such as the TALON can be remotely operated at distances of up to 1,000 m (3,280 ft). Now U.S. Army engineers have provided unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) with the long distance tele-operation capabilities of a UAS to allow them to be controlled from anywhere in the world and keep soldiers even further out of harm’s way.  Read More

Lockheed Martin's HALE-D is launched

With the use of airships for passenger transport decreasing in the early 20th century as their capabilities were eclipsed by those of airplanes – coupled with a number of disasters – they were largely resigned to serving as floating billboards or as camera platforms for covering sporting events. But the ability to hover in one place for an extended period of time also makes them ideal for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes, which is why Lockheed Martin has been developing its High Altitude Airship (HAA). The company yesterday launched the first-of-its-kind High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D) to test a number of key technologies critical to development of unmanned airships.  Read More

'Build Your Own Underwater Robot' teaches children - and adults - how to build the SeaPerc...

If you like gadgets, and you like the ocean, then you must like ROVs – it’s just that simple. For the uninitiated, ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) are small unmanned submarines that are used for underwater operations deemed too deep, dangerous or difficult for human divers. They’re tethered to a support ship, from which a human operator controls them in real time, watching a live video feed from an onboard camera. It’s all incredibly appealing to those of us who are fascinated by the prospect of what secrets lurk beneath the surface of the ocean... or of the local pond. A few dedicated souls go so far as to trying to create their own homebuilt ROVs, many of them turning to what has become the bible on the subject, Build Your Own Underwater Robot and other Wet Projects. Gizmag had a chance to talk to the two authors of the book, and found out what inspired them to pursue such an unlikely project.  Read More

The X-37B after landing on Dec. 3 (Boeing photo)

Until now the only space vehicle capable of returning to Earth - in a controlled manner anyway - was the Space Shuttle. With that craft scheduled to be retired from service next year the U.S. Air Force's Boeing X-37 program is focused on demonstrating a next generation unmanned reusable spaceplane. On April 22 this year the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On December 3, after an experimental test mission lasting over 220 days, the craft successfully de-orbited and landed safely at Vandenberg Air Force Base, making it the United States' first unmanned vehicle to return from space and land on its own.  Read More

An integration exercise will feature Apache helicopter pilots controlling Shadow (pictured...

The U.S. Army is planning the largest ever demonstration of its Manned Unmanned Systems Integration Concept (MUSIC). The technology, which we first covered back in 2006, allows pilots to control the payload of a nearby Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) from the cockpit of an Apache Attack helicopter. The demonstration to be held at Dougway Proving Ground, Utah, is aimed at analyzing the progress of evolving manned-unmanned teaming technologies and will showcase level-4 UAS interoperability, which includes the ability to control the payload and view feeds from UAS systems in real-time from the cockpit.  Read More

The tilt-rotor Panther UAV

Tilt-rotor aircraft such as the Bell-Boeing built V-22 Osprey that use powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing for lift and propulsion combine the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is bringing these benefits to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with its new Panther and Mini Panther UAVs that were unveiled last week at the Latrun Conference in Israel.  Read More

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