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 →
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.
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International 2015
It’s called the Unmanned Systems 2015 Conference & Trade Show, “Powered by AUVSI”(Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), so I get it — vehicles of all sorts whose operation doesn’t require a person to physically occupy them. The ones that crawl or roll along the ground are called unmanned ground systems, while the vehicles operating on or under water are described as unmanned surface vehicles or unmanned underwater vehicles. Fair enough. How to describe the objects that land on the White House lawn or buzz the Eiffel Tower, or more recently defaced a New York billboard, is an entirely different matter. From what I’ve heard while walking the huge Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, drone is becoming the de facto nom de guerre.
The United States is turning to F-16 Vipers to supply airframes for full-scale aerial targets (FSAT). Boeing, in cooperation with BAE Systems, is building the QF-16 Air Superiority Target to support the Pentagon’s FSAT program. The aircraft will make its operational debut in 2016, and Boeing could manufacture 126 QF-16s and perhaps as many as 210.