Archive for category Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
Posted by Val in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on June 29, 2011
Where will you go to learn more about this exciting field?
Worldwide commercial, government and military use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is expected to increase significantly in the future, placing unprecedented demands on scare radio resources. In fact, the Teal Group’s 2009 market study estimates that UAS spending will almost double over the next decade, from current worldwide UAS expenditures of $4.4 billion annually to $8.7 billion within a decade.
Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. You will become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues.
Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes
Determine for yourself the value of our UAS course before you sign up.
After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information.
About ATI and the Instructors
Our mission here at ATI is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses.
ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology.
Mr. Mark N. Lewellen, the ATI UAS instructor, has over twenty-five years with a wide variety of satellite, space, and aviation related projects. He is the Vice Chairman of a UAS group (in the United States) that is responsible for generating the technical basis for future UAS spectrum requirements. He was also chairman of an international group preparing for a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2012) that may revise the international Radio Regulations governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum.
Posted by Val in Defense, Including Radar, Missiles and EW, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on June 20, 2011
More than likely, “yes” and in a very near future. The engineers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are hard at work shrinking the new generation of drones to a size of a small insect as well as developing “flapping wing” technology.
The creative minds at AeroVironment are currently test-flying a hummingbird. And that’s not some code name for a little remote-control airplane that can hover and fly backwards. The Nano Hummingbird is a winged vehicle with no tail and flapping wings that it uses as its only method of propulsion. And they have even dressed it up to look like the real bird.
The Nano Air Vehicle is being developed under a Darpa contract to develop a small aircraft that can fly indoors and out. Early test flights of the hummingbird lasted only a handful of seconds, but the most recent flights have extended the range to almost 10 minutes, and it can maintain a stable hover in small gusts of wind.
The tiny aircraft weighs only 19 grams [about two-thirds of an ounce] and has a wingspan of 16 centimeters [6½ inches]. The vehicle is self-contained with its own motor, battery, communication system and a video camera. It’s being developed to be a palm-sized observation-and-surveillance platform. But instead of taking pictures of a building, it can provide a video feed from inside the building.
The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (or SUAV) developed for the U.S. military, but now adopted by the military forces of many other countries.
The RQ-11 Raven was originally introduced as the FQM-151 in 1999, but in 2002 developed into its current form. The craft is launched by hand and powered by an electric motor. The plane can fly up to 6.2 miles (10.0 km) at up to altitudes of 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above ground level (AGL), and 15,000 feet (4,600 m) mean sea level (MSL), at flying speeds of 28-60 mph (45–97 km/h).
The Pentagon now has some 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. Within the next decade the Air Force anticipates a decrease in manned aircraft but expects its number of “multirole” aerial drones like the Reaper — the ones that spy as well as strike — to nearly quadruple, to 536. Already the Air Force is training more remote pilots, 350 this year alone, than fighter and bomber pilots combined.
Posted by Val in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on April 11, 2011
ATI courses is scheduled to present Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course on June 7, 2011 in Dayton, OH and June 14, 2011 in Columbia, MD. We thought that the news below would be interesting to our blog readers.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. presented it’s last MQ-1B Predator to US Air Force March 3, 2011.
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It was created in the early 1990s for reconnaissance and forward observation roles. The Predator carries cameras and other sensors but has been modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen.
The USAF describes the Predator as a “Tier II” MALE UAS (medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV system). The UAS consists of four aircraft or “air vehicles” with sensors, a ground control station (GCS), and a primary satellite link communication suite. Powered by a Rotax engine and driven by a propeller, the air vehicle can fly up to 400 nautical miles (740 km) to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base.
Following 2001, the RQ-1 Predator drone became the primary UAV used for offensive operations by the USAF and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas. It has also been deployed in other locations. Because offensive uses of the Predator are classified, US military officials have reported an appreciation for the intelligence and reconnaissance-gathering abilities of UAVs but declined to discuss their offensive use in public.
Civilian applications have included border enforcement and scientific studies.
Read more about the circumstances that led to Leading Systems’ bankruptcy (which designed Predator’s predecessor’s Amber and GNAT 750), the key challenges overcome during the Predator’s breakthrough deployment to Bosnia in 1995 and what it takes to introduce an innovative product in the military aircraft industry. http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/03/a-history-of-predator-from-the.html
Posted by Markutus in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on April 1, 2011
Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is pleased to announce their one-day short course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors.
With the practical knowledge you will gain from this course, you can recognize the different classes and types of UAVs, how to optimize their specific applications, how to evaluate and compare UAS capabilities, interact meaningfully with colleagues and master the UAS terminology.
Are UAVs coming to airspace near you?
Do you want to learn more about UAS but:
• Don’t have time for a full semester course?
• Is the nearest campus all the way across town?
• Can’t move to North Dakota for an undergrad degree in UAS?
If one or more of situations apply to you or you are just in need of more UAS-related knowledge, then boost your career with the information needed to provide better, faster, and cheaper solutions for your customers.
Why not take our UAS short course instead?
This one-day course is designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date on the use, regulation and development of these complex systems.
Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes
If you sign up for this class, whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you will enhance your understanding of these complex systems in a short time. Here is the instructor, Mr. Mark N. Lewellen, with an introduction to his class on YouTube.
Still not convinced?
Then please see our UAS Course Slide Sampler with actual course materials. After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information.
Watch Quadrotor Drone UAV Playing Catch at the Flying Machine Arena research facility at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich
Posted by Markutus in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on March 31, 2011
Have your played catch with your UAV today?
IF you want to learn more about UAVs and see more videos, see my Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course at http://www.aticourses.com/unmanned_aircraft_systems.html
Posted by Markutus in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on March 30, 2011
Tony White, Owner at Galaxy Blimps LLC and a member of my LinkedIn UAS group, is quoted extensively in this article.
I used to work for an airship startup called SkyStation International and they do have their advantages (and disadvantages to be sure).
They (and aerostats) also work well with UAS.
Going back as far as the American Civil War,lighter-than-air vehicles — airships, hot air balloons, and aerostats — have performed a variety of missions for the military.
During World War I large military airships dropped bombs and performed surveillance. For a brief period of time in the 1930s the U.S. explored using them as “flying aircraft carriers,” says Ron Browning business development lead for persistent surveillance at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors in Akron, Ohio.
Today, U.S. forces deploy these floating platforms as eyes in the sky in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world to perform persistent surveillance, which means missions that last days, weeks, and even months up in the air.
“Persistent surveillance is around the clock — 24/7 — monitoring for an extended period of time, monitoring that is in stark contrast to that provided by aircraft, which have surveillance-time limitations dictated by fuel consumption/capacity,” says Maj. Robert Rugg, assistant product manager persistent surveillance devices for the U.S. Army Program Manager Robotic and Unmanned Systems office in Huntsville, Ala.
There are two main types of lighter-than-air vehicles used or in development for military operations — airships and aerostats, Browning says. “An aerostat is tethered while an airship is free flying,” he explains.
Two free-flying programs in development are the High Altitude Airship (HAA) being developed by Browning’s team at Lockheed Martin and the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), being designed by Northrop Grumman in Melbourne, Fla., for medium altitudes, Browning says. They are both airship platforms.
The most deployed vehicles at the moment are aerostats, which often are used with unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) or as a relatively inexpensive replacement to UASs to provide non-stop coverage of strategic areas.
“Aerostats are capable of continuous coverage over (typically) a fixed area in a wide range of operational weather conditions,” Rugg says. “UASs have a reduced operational environment and cannot continuously remain in the air for an extended period of time. However, the extended mobility provided by a UAS allows for a better view of a particular point of interest. In this way, each system is able to capitalize on its inherent advantage, while propping up the limiting aspects of the other — optimally, a force is able to utilize both systems as complementary to each other.
Aerostats and free-flying airships also are under consideration for border control instead of UASs, says Tony White, owner of Galaxy Blimps in Dallas — www.galaxyblimps.com. A UAS does not work as well on the border due to the coverage advantages that a host of aerostats airships would have, he continues.
While not easy at first to steer aerostats are more rugged than one might think. “We also can launch into heavy winds, while UASs can’t,” White says. Even in 70 knot winds in Afghanistan, aerostats were able to hold their position in the mooring station, White says. Aerostats are not as vulnerable to enemy attack as one might assume, Browning says. “We’re flying at the upper limit to be vulnerable to small arms fire,” he adds.
As Aerostats are low pressure systems so if a bullet hole or other hole pops up it “doesn’t go pop like a party balloon” Browning says. Instead the helium oozes out instead of gassing out, with degradation in lift altitude occurring over time instead of instantly, he explains. “It can fly when nothing else is flying,” Browning says.
“Despite the innovative nature of the systems, aerostats, in fact, have the great advantage of payload integration and flight qualification timelines that are much shorter than that of other aircraft,” Rugg continues. “Moreover, aerostats are typically more flexible in terms of the payloads they are able to carry. Weight limitations are the paramount issue with aerostats; some aircraft have lots of available size, weight, and power (SWAP).”
Persistent threat detection
One aerostat program currently seeing action in Iraq and Afghanistan is the Army’s Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS), which has been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom respectively, Browning says. PTDS is run by Rugg’s team in Huntsville produced by prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
PTDS is a tethered system, which flies like a kite with no propulsion, Browning says. The system, first deployed by the Army in 2004, is a 74,000-cubic-foot envelope full of helium and aerodynamically-shaped always pointed into the wind with fins and a tail system and is always buoyant, he adds. The maximum altitude is 5,000 feet above ground level, Browning says.
“PTDS has the unique sustained operations capability that exceeds 20 continuous days,” Rugg notes.
The system carries one or two electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor payloads as well as other communications payloads, Rugg says. The EO sensors are mostly commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), he adds. The EO/IR payload — the MX-20 Lite from L-3 Wescam in Toronto, Ontario — is attached on the underside of the aerostat, Browning says.
The MX-20 is a turret system that uses high-definition technology, says Paul Jennison, vice president of business development for L-3 Wescam. Included in the system is digital infrared capability, a color daylight camera, mono camera for night, and lasers for range finding and illumination — that illuminates targets for ground for troops who have night vision goggles, he continues.
The only real adjustment made for the aerostat application was adding a heat exchanger for thermal management in the static air, Jennison says. “Our system also has gone through the full spectrum of MIL-STD testing for humidity, salt, fog, and dust environments,” he adds.
The PTDS communication links have extended range for deployed troops, Browning says. The sensor can provide full-motion vision to the warfighter on the ground. “Imagine the value of that to combat teams,” Browning adds.
“Based on experience in theater, a second EO/IR sensor has been added. Furthermore, due to on site weather conditions, lightning detection equipment has been added, as well as the ability to broadcast video to mobile troops carrying OSRVT (One System Remote Video Terminal),” Rugg says. “Additionally, the mooring system has been modularized to allow transport to more remote forward operating bases.”
In addition to the aerostat, tether, and sensor payload, PTDS also has a mobile mooring platform, mission payloads, ground-control station, maintenance and officer shelter, power generators, and site-handling equipment, Browning says.
The ground-control station for an aerostat is typically on site, Rugg says. These ground-control stations are not that different from that of a UAS ground station, and “include such elements as operator consoles, workstations, tactical setup. The operating crew for a ground station is the same crew that launches and recovers the aerostat,” he adds.
Most of the electronics in the ground-control station is COTS, Rugg says. “There are two workstations for command and control of EO/IR sensors, networking equipment, UPS, aerostat flight control and monitoring computer and display as well as an Unattended Transient Acoustic MASINT Sensor (UTAMS) computer. UTAMS is an acoustic fire-detection sensor capable of locating point of impact/origin of rockets, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).”
Lockheed Martin’s HAA — being developed for the Army — will act as a surveillance platform, telecommunications relay, or a weather observer, Browning says. Different electro-optic sensor payloads will be configured for different intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, he continues. Once it reaches its location it can survey a 600-mile diameter and millions of cubic miles of airspace.
In April 2008, the HAA program transferred from the Missile Defense Agency to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, located at Huntsville, Ala. The command designing the HAA to align with the command’s mission
“The big thing to understand is that no lighter than airship has ever flown more than a few hours at more than 60,000 feet,” let alone six months, Browning says. Conventional airships have demonstrated days of endurance in the past. Current blimps for sporting events can fly for 12 plus hours, depending on conditions, he adds.
The HAA will be about 500 feet long and 150 feet high, and be airborne for six months or more at a time, Browning says. It will be launched to an area of interest and park there, he continues. It will have a sensor communication link capability for deployed troops on field to get where they want to get to, Browning adds.
“We are currently developing and demonstrating the high altitude airship concept,” Browning says. The demonstration program is called the High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D), he adds.
HALE-D will fly this summer air at an altitude of 60,000 ft and operating for a couple weeks using small, modest payload consistent with the demonstration, Browning says.
Free flying aircraft steer and navigate from one location to another so the all-electric HALE-D will need to operate at neutral buoyancy, Browning says. Goodyear blimps are always scary, taking off with heavy with fuel, which then burns, making the aircraft more light and buoyant.
One way to avoid that problem at take off is by having all-electric system that uses solar energy panels and stores the energy in batteries or rechargeable fuel cells for night flying. Propulsion units will lift the HALE-D aloft and guide its takeoff and landing during, Browning says.
The long-term operational goal — beyond the HALE-D is large with more than ton of payload onboard the HAA, Browning says. The large payload berth provides a lot of flexibility in payload design and capability, he continues. “It can really open the imagination of the sensor designer,” Browning adds.
The sensor technology is already available on a lot of aircraft, Browning says. However as with some existing airborne and spaceborne platforms the biggest challenge is reliability. Once the system is launched it won’t be brought down for several months, so you need sensors that last in tough environments.
The HALE-D sensors include a Thales MMAR modem, an L-3 Communications mini CDL, and an electro-optical system from ITT Geospatial Systems in Rochester, N.Y., Browning says.
ITT provided a long focal-length panchromatic electro-optical (EO) camera with GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) and pointing capability for the HALE-D program, says David A. Parkes, senior business development manager at ITT Geospatial Systems.
“An unmanned high-altitude platform does bring unique challenges in designing EO solutions,” Parkes says. “First, it’s very high flight altitudes bring very cold temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius and little air, which makes it challenging to both start up and maintaining proper electronics temperatures. It is more space-like than airborne. The ascent to these high altitudes also drives the need for all components to be able to outgas, so they are not damaged (e.g. optical lens). The second challenge is that current payload capacities for high altitude platforms are relatively small, which drives the need for very light weight and low power payloads.”
“The objectives and funding of this EO system were primarily for functional demonstration on this exciting high-altitude platform,” Parkes continues. “This drove a highly COTS-based solution. Future high-altitude EO systems will require designs that provide higher performance and high reliability that will leverage space systems designs without space system costs.”
Northrop Grumman’s LEMV program completed its critical design review (CDR) six months after signing the agreement with the U.S. Army. Under that agreement the company will build three airships with 21-day persistent ISR capability, according to a Northrop Grumman release. Northrop Grumman officials declined to be interviewed for this story.
“The power of the LEMV system is that its persistent surveillance capability is built around Northrop Grumman’s open architecture design, which provides plug-and-play payload capability to the warfighter and room for mission growth,” says Alan Metzger, Northrop Grumman vice president and integrated program team leader of LEMV and airship programs in the company release. “The system rapidly accommodates next-generation sensors as emerging field requirements dictate and will provide increased operational utility to battlefield commanders. Today, our system readily integrates into the Army’s existing Universal Ground Control Station and Deployable Common Ground System command centers and ground troops in forward operating bases.
“While LEMV is longer than a football field and taller than a seven-story building, it utilizes approximately 3,500 gallons of fuel for the air vehicle to remain aloft for a 21-day period of service, that’s approximately $11,000 at commercial prices.
“We’ll have hull inflation in the spring and first flight of the airship test article by mid-to-late summer,” he says. Upon completion of the development ground and flight testing phase, we expect to transition to a government facility and conduct our final acceptance long endurance flight just before year’s end. In early 2012, LEMV will participate in an Army Joint Military Utility Assessment in an operational environment.”
Northrop Grumman’s industry team includes Hybrid Air Vehicles, Ltd. of the England, Warwick Mills, ILC Dover, AAI Corp., SAIC in McLean, Va., and a team of organizations from 18 U.S. states and three countries. In addition to leading the program, Northrop Grumman leads the system integration, and flight and ground control operations for the unmanned vehicle.
Posted by admin in General, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on December 29, 2010
The orders were released under the existing U.S. Army joint small UAS program of record for AV’s Raven. This program has included contract additions from the Army, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command. The items and services provided under these awards on this multi-year contract are fully funded. Work is scheduled to be performed within a period of 12 months.
“Raven systems have proven their value and reliability to military services across the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Tom Herring, AV senior vice president and general manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems. “These backpackable, hand-launched unmanned systems provide situational awareness directly to our warfighters, increasing mission effectiveness and safety. We remain focused on supporting our customers with reliable solutions and developing ever more capable solutions.”
The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. U.S. armed forces use Raven systems extensively for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection. Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, two ground control stations and spares.
In addition to the Raven system, AV’s small UAS include Puma™ and Wasp™, which are also hand-launched and controlled by AV’s hand-held ground control station. Each aircraft in AV’s family of small UAS is interoperable and tailored to address a variety of operational user needs. AV’s UAS logistics operation supports systems deployed worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness. AV has delivered thousands of small unmanned aircraft to date. International purchasers of Raven systems include Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Norway.
The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units.