The United States has selected Boeing as its contractor for the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial tanker. Boeing won an $805 million engineering and manufacturing development contract to provide four aircraft. The MQ-25 Stingray will allow for better use of combat strike fighters by extending the range of deployed naval combat aircraft, according to the U.S. Navy. Continue reading →
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. Image: USAF Photographic Archives
George Mason University was recently awarded a $25.5 million contract for the Mobile Unmanned/Manned Distributed Lethality Airborne Network (MUDLAN). Under the contract, airborne high-bandwidth, multibeam common datalink, autonomous connectivity will be demonstrated between tactical datalinks and swarming unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems. Continue reading →
Despite some recent management troubles, Denel remains stable. The company plays a key role in the self-sufficiency of South Africa’s defense industry, and the government will continue to support the firm with work. That said, government work has been declining of late due to tight budgets, forcing Denel to adapt. Continue reading →
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Guardian maritime with sonobuoy capability.
The SSQ-955 HIDAR, produced by Ultra Electronics, first made inroads into the sonobuoy market through its ability to combat the ambient noise levels of coastal waters. This feature made it an attractive item for littoral conflicts. Also, the SSQ-955’s several adaptable variants and low to average cost are features that could motivate budget-conscious defense departments to procure the system and award replenishment contracts. Continue reading →
The announcement that Germany would pursue the lease of Heron TP (Eitan) unmanned air vehicles for an interim medium-altitude, long-endurance requirement could mean good things for Israeli sensor manufacturers. On January 12, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced that the country would pursue Israel Aerospace Industries’ UAV over the rival MQ-9 Reaper offered by General Atomics. So, Germany not only selected an Israeli aircraft over an American one; it is also likely to go with an Israeli electro-optical/infrared system and radar. Continue reading →
Under the terms of a $39.1 million modification to a pre-existing contract, Northrop Grumman will continue the process of remedying the MQ-4C Triton’s troubled sense-and-avoid, air-to-air radar subsystem. The radar, once operable, will allow the unmanned aerial vehicle to autonomously sense and avoid other aerial objects, giving the platform true “drone” capabilities. Continue reading →
The Paris Air Show is the world’s largest aerospace trade show, and organizers say that the 2015 event will host 2,260 exhibitors from 47 countries, surpassing the record 2,215 exhibitors hosted in 2013.
One of the highlights of the 2015 exhibition will be the return of the U.S. military, which skipped the 2013 Paris show due to sequestration-related budgetary issues. A large static display of several U.S. military aircraft and rotorcraft is planned for the 2015 show, including a possible last hurrah at Paris for the A-10 close air support aircraft, which the U.S. Air Force has been trying to retire against the wishes of Congress. One notable absence will be the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is not scheduled to make the trip to Paris. None of the U.S. military aircraft are slated to perform in the show’s daily flying display. Continue reading →
The U.S. Navy came out as the clear winner in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the FY16 defense authorization bill, receiving funding for additional aircraft, ships, and weapons. The results were more mixed for the Air Force and Army. The legislation, approved by the SASC on May 14 by a vote of 22 to four, supports the president’s budget request level of $612 billion for the Department of Defense and security programs in the Department of Energy. That level exceeds current defense budget caps, so the committee provides an additional $38 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which is not subject to spending limits. This move mirrors the GOP budget resolution, as well as the House’s version of the FY16 defense policy bill.
With the Unmanned Systems 2015 Conference & Trade Show in full swing, I’ve noticed a difference between this year’s event and the one that took place last year in Orlando. Specifically, a proliferation of relatively small drones featuring four, six or even eight electric-powered rotors have popped up at many booths. The versatility of these increasingly ubiquitous air vehicles cannot be overstated and explains their popularity. Applications are limited only by one’s imagination, and extend to real estate property overview (inside and outside a house), law enforcement, aerial survey work, movie production, and disaster relief, to name only a few.
RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk (Source: Northrop Grumman)
Despite all the talk about commercial unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) market remains dominated by military customers. Although overall production is falling, the value of this market continues to grow.
The UAS market has seen a remarkable transformation over the last 12 years. This radical change occurred in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent global war on terror launched by the United States and its allies.