On the same day a new large, classified UAS (unmanned aerial system) for ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) developed by Northrop Grumman and dubbed RQ-180 was unveiled, a new image of the nEUROn UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) was released by Dassault.
The new image shows the European UCAV from a new angle as it provides a view of the drone’s belly.
nEUROn is a project involving France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Greece. The first example of this full-scale technology demonstrator rolled out on Jan. 20, 2012, after five years of design, development, and static testing.
Its shape reminds that of the American X-47B, that, actually, is quite similar to the RQ-180 concept unveiled by AW&ST: a sign that future U.S. and European spy or weaponized UAVs will be look alike drones.
The U.S. Navy has successfully launched an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) from a submerged submarine, the first step to “providing mission intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the U.S. Navy’s submarine force.”
Then the Sea Robin launch vehicle with integrated XFC reaches to the ocean surface where it appears as a spar buoy.
Upon command of the submarine, it is then vertically launched from Sea Robin to a marginal altitude where it assumes horizontal/conventional flight configuration thanks to the its X-wing airfoil autonomously deployed by the folding-wing XFC.
During the first launch, the drone flew for several hour mission “demonstrating live video capabilities streamed back to Providence, surface support vessels and Norfolk before landing at the Naval Sea Systems Command Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), Andros, Bahamas.”
The XFC is a fully autonomous, all electric fuel cell powered folding wing UAS with an endurance of greater than six hours. The non-hybridized power plant supports the propulsion system and payload for a flight endurance that enables relatively low cost, low altitude, ISR missions. The XFC UAS uses an electrically assisted take off system which lifts the plane vertically out of its container and therefore, enables a very small footprint launch such as from a pickup truck or small surface vessel.
On Nov. 16, a Northrop Grumman BQM-74 target drone hit guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) punching a three to four foot hone in the side of the warship.
The mishap occurred at 01.25 local time during a “tracking exercise during an air tracking event,” resulting in “minor injuries to two sailors,” according to Navy officials.
The target drone hit the side of the warship, near the ship’s Command Information Center (CIC), where the control room for the Aegis radar system is located; the ship was conducting Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) to assess the onboard Aegis combat system.
During the test, the operator of the BQM-74 that simulated an enemy aircraft or missile, lost control of the drone that eventually punctured the ship without any of the onboard self-defense systems could be activated to shoot it down.
The UAS (Unmanned Aerial System), unveiled earlier this year, is designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and believed to be capable of flying up to 45,000 feet for more than 16 hours.
Italy plans to purchase 10 such drones for reconnaissance and immigration control.