Raytheon’s Multispectral Targeting System in High Demand

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The Multi-Spectral Targeting System is a turreted electro-optical and infrared sensor used in maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Raytheon photo illustration created by Grant Parsley)

Variants of Raytheon’s Multispectral Targeting System are expected to be produced in steady numbers over the next several years for the U.S. and its trusted allies. The MTS is a key component of unmanned air vehicles such as the MQ-9 Predator and the Reaper.  The system is also in use aboard U.S. military MH-60 Sierra multimission combat helicopters and AC-130U Spectre gunships. Continue reading

Denel Taps New Markets, Seeks New Partners at Home and Abroad

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

Denel’s Rooivalk Attack Helicopter. Source: Denel

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

Germany’s UAV Selection Is Likely Boon for Israeli Sensor Manufacturers

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

RAAF Heron UAV

Heron UAV

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

In the Future, the MQ-4C Triton Will Use Radar to Autonomously Avoid Crashing

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

MQ-4C Triton (Source: U.S. Navy)

MQ-4C Triton (Source: U.S. Navy)

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 Proliferating Small Drone

By Ray Peterson, VP, Research & Editorial, Forecast International.

IMG_1350 (Medium)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.

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Military Drone Market Slows, but Value Not Dropping

by Larry Dickerson, Unmanned Vehicles Analyst, Forecast International.

RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk (Source: Northrop Grumman)

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.

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A Rose by Any Other Name

By Ray Peterson, VP, Research & Editorial, Forecast International.

AUVSI 2015

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.

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Commercial UAV Market: Will Sales Match the Lofty Forecasts?

by Larry Dickerson, Unmanned Vehicles Analyst, Forecast International.

Lockheed Martin's Indago VTOL Quad Rotor (Source: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin’s Indago VTOL Quad Rotor (Source: Lockheed Martin)

Despite the recent fascination with unmanned air vehicles, the market for commercial UAVs has been around for a long time.

Anyone who has walked through a mall has seen someone demonstrating a small remotely controlled helicopter.  These UAVs are very simple and relatively inexpensive, but are part of product lines that offer far more sophisticated systems.

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Finmeccanica Finally Begins to Transform

By Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

AgustaWestland AW189 to be a top seller for the company

AgustaWestland AW189 to be a top seller for the company

It has been a long and difficult road, but Finmeccanica is finally getting its house in order. CEO Mauro Moretti, who took the helm in early 2014, has wasted no time in examining the conglomerate’s issues and quickly acting to correct course.

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EISS & ASIP Endure, in Turbulent Air

by Zachary Hofer, Forecast International. 

RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk (Source: Northrop Grumman)

RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk (Source: Northrop Grumman)

The EISS and ASQ-230 ASIP are living in tumultuous times. Northrop Grumman’s Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) and ASQ-230 Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) make up the two primary electronics systems on board the U.S. Air Force’s RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV). They are expensive and they require constant RDT&E funding in order to stay relevant. While the EISS has the benefit of being fitted to international-spec Block 30s, the ASQ-230 ASIP, containing far more sensitive intelligence technologies, has been deleted globally. The ASIP does hold one advantage over the EISS, however, in that it has also been specified for another, even more rarified application: the U-2 spy plane.

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