European news outlets reported last week that the German Euro Hawk Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) program will be terminated due to the prohibitive cost of modifying the platform to conform to collision avoidance requirements. If the reports are true, Euro Hawk will join a similar project which had the poor luck to be canceled not due to cost over-runs, performance, or technical issues, but due to Air Traffic Control limitations.
The XQM-93 UAV, code-named Compass Dwell, was conceived by the Air Force in the late 1960′s to fulfill a role extremely similar to the current tasking of Euro Hawk. Compass Dwell was intended to provide 28 hour endurance at an altitude of 40,000 and deliver persistence surveillance of Warsaw Pact air defense systems. Euro Hawk is believed to be tasked to provide surveillance of Eastern European military assets.
Image credit: USAF via Designation-Systems.com
Two variants of the project were built, both using a converted Schweizer sailplane. The XQM-93 airframe was built by Ling Temco Vought and mated to a turboprop power plant. The other model, built by Martin Marietta and designated Model 845, featured a turbocharged piston engine. Both airframes flew successfully in 1972, with the Model 845 achieving a flight time of 27 hours and 54 minutes. The UAVs were intended to target Soviet air defense radars and provide standoff jamming during wartime.
Compass Dwell was intended to operate high above commercial air traffic, but would still need to climb and descend through those altitudes during each mission. European air traffic controlling agencies refused to allow the XQM-93 to operate in their airspace, and the program was canceled in 1973.
The termination of these two programs demonstrates the unique challenge posed to operators of UAV systems. Despite the inherent performance benefits in unmanned systems, the limitation of sensors and need to safely de-conflict airspace remain just as much hurdles in 2013 as they did four decades ago.
Michael Glynn for TheAviationist.com
Related articlesDrones, Mali , add a comment
The Harfang is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system that undertakes ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) missions in support of Operation Serval in Mali.
For the first time since the beginning of the air campaign, along with other photographs of the UAV on the ground (showing a brand new “sharkmouth” applied to the remotely piloted plane and the hangar used to recover the aircraft), the French Ministry of Defense has released some interesting images that depict the Harfang drone ground control station at Niamey, Niger.
Noteworthy, some images have been purposely blurred to hide sensitive information displayed on operators monitors.
Image credit: French MoD
Hamas releases images of an Israeli drone lost over Gaza during Pillars of Defense November 18, 2012Posted by David Cenciotti in : Drones, Pillars of Defense , add a comment
Among several unconfirmed reports of an Israeli F-16 shot down and two crew members under custody during the third day of military offensive in Gaza, images of what could be the first Israeli Air Force drone downed or lost during Pillars of Defense, were released by Hamas.
Even if the Israeli government spokesman tweeted that the drone that Hamas showed on Al-Aqsa TV is not Israeli and not in service in the IDF, it actually seems to be one of the Israel’s robots filling the skies over Gaza.
The drone, one of those providing targeting and ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) capabilities in the area, is a Rafael Skylite B UAV.
The Skylite B is a mini-UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that uses an electro-optic payload (located on the nose of the drone), stabilized and outfitted with gimbals.
The tiny robot is among the tactical family of drones, those usually deployed for use by infantry forces and which is man-portable (in backpacks) and enables short periods of reconnaissance and surveillance.
The Skylite B is carried in a backpack, easily assembled, launched with a catapult and landed back using a parachute and an air bag.
Provided that it is not a very accurate prop and it was really captured on Nov. 15 (as happened in Syria, several fake images as this one are being spread on the Internet), based on the low quality video, the little damaged UAV was not shot down: it most probably crash landed in the Gaza strip and was later recovered by Hamas.
Image credit: Rafael
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Naval Air Systems Command (US Navy) has announced on its website that the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance has “identified a need for an aircraft carrier based aircraft system providing persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).”
It is thought that the US Navy is to release its requirements during December for the new aircraft, to be named Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance & Strike (UCLASS) . It is thought that the requirements will ask that the UCAV will need to be able to fly 2000 nautical miles from the carrier and carry a suite of weapons and sensors or a mixture of both. The aircraft would need to have stealth capability to penetrate hostile airspace and then send back the data its sensors have collected. Then, if necessary, they would have to destroy selected targets.
Many companies are developing their take on the UCLASS requirements. Lockheed Martin with their Sea Ghost UAS, Boeing (tweaked X-45C), Northrop Grumman (X-47B) and General Atomics (Sea Avenger) are the other leaders in the race to place a UAS on the decks of US carriers by 2018.
This may seem an aggressive schedule but the technology has also been tested to land a UAV onto the Deck of a carrier. Hence, it will be more than likely a case of modifying an existing design for the carrier operations.
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
The Sea Avenger in a General Atomics image
- Iran unveils new weird flying machine: a tilt-wing vertical takeoff and landing “ultra-advanced” drone (theaviationist.com)
- Iran’s new spy drone is an Israeli Hermes 450/Watchkeeper clone. Capable of carrying missiles. (theaviationist.com)
- Prototype of Turkey’s first armed drone crashes during test flight. Again. (theaviationist.com)
- Iran announces new combat drone capable of carrying missiles for air defense missions (theaviationist.com)
Iran unveils new weird flying machine: a tilt-wing vertical takeoff and landing “ultra-advanced” drone November 8, 2012Posted by David Cenciotti in : Drones, Iran , 3comments
According to the Ettelaat newspaper published on Nov. 8, 2012, the “first vertical takeoff drone in the world” with the name of Koker 1 (Koker is the name of a beautiful bird) was successfully flight-tested and about to be officially unveiled next month at island of Kish.
The tilt-wing unmanned aircraft is equipped with four noise-reduced engines and reportedly features some ultra-advanced technology as multidirectional radars, long-range optics, satellite communication devices, radar evasive devices.
It will be capable of travelling in day and night with 3 hours of continuous flight time up to 170 Km radius up to 12,000 ft, and will also be solar powered.
The drone is developed by the research team of Saman communication group from the state of Mazandaran which previously developed the “Likoo” drone.
Koker 1 will be displayed in the air show scheduled for Dec. 11-14 at Kish Island.
Obviously, it is not the first VTOL drone in the world. Nor is it the only tilt-wing robot being tested or operated: NASA and other less famous companies have been developing unmanned aircraft with tilting wings since some years.
On Oct. 14 Iran announced new combat drone capable of carrying missiles for air defense missions whereas in September, Tehran unveiled the new “Shahed 129″ a new UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) largely based on the Israeli Hermes 450 model.
H/T to Mehran for the heads up and help in translating the article
Image credit: Ettelaat