Tag Archives: UAVs

Aerosonde: At Work in any Latitude

UAV Aerosonde Antartica

How UAS can assist non-military projects regardless of conditions.

By George Jagels

Textron Systems’ Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has logged tens of thousands of hours for the U.S. military. The “Group II” system, weighing between 50 and 75 pounds at takeoff, is launched expeditiously either on top of a vehicle or by catapult and recovered through a net or belly landing. Aerosonde, according to Textron, is the only unmanned aircraft in its class using an FAA-certified manufacturer (Lycoming) to make its engine. (more…)

Northern Exposure: The Future of Unmanned Systems in the Arctic

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Will AUVs and UAVs help open the earth’s northern reaches?

By K. Joseph Spears

The Arctic is one of the world’s last remaining frontiers. Though mapped long ago, much about this massive area remains unknown. For example, only ten percent of Canadian Arctic waters are charted to modern hydrographic standards. Scientists know more about the physical characteristics of the moon and Mars than about the waters of the planet and of the Arctic, in particular.

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Coordination from the Cloud

A New Solution Fuses Intelligence and Operations

By George Jagels

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Evermore capable, advanced, and expensive systems and software have proliferated in modern militaries. A November 2013 essay in Small Wars Journal by three Army officers, however, hit on an important paradox: Does it matter how capable a program is if it is too difficult to use? They were writing about the suite of Army Battle Command Systems, which have come under criticism from lawmakers and soldiers for their “atrocious user interface and poor, almost non-existent interoperability,” but the authors’ sentiment touches on a wider issue of managing information and the helpful but complicated array of systems on the battlefield.

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Pocket Change: A Nano Air Vehicle Proves Its Worth

The PD-100 Black Hornet fits onto a combat vest and is designed to look around corners without risking the user life or being detected by the enemy.

By George Jagels

As equipment improves, the average weight a soldier carries keeps rising. A 2009 Army study showed the average soldier humped 100 pounds of gear on patrol. And with budget freezes and force cuts, training specialists at the squad level is less and less feasible. Thus when one thinks of adding an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to a small unit, words like “unfeasible” and “unnecessary” might be the reaction. But what if that system took two days to learn and weighed 2.8 pounds, fitting into a soldier’s combat vest?

Prox Dynamics, a small UAS company based in Norway, builds just such a system. The PD-100 Personal Reconnaissance System, or Black Hornet, is a nano air vehicle (nano UAV) with many of the capabilities and potential of much larger, more complicated devices. In a field with ever more competition— witness the extraordinary expansion of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade group—the Black Hornet seems in a class of its own. With the little heard from Aerovironment’s Hummingbird since 2011, my research shows operationally useful nano UAVs are confined to the Black Hornet.

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Today’s Links

  • At Fort Sill, the Army holds a meeting to discuss Anti-UAS measures:

U.S. ground forces detect an enemy unmanned aircraft performing reconnaissance  over their forward operating base. Now the soldiers must determine how to  neutralize the Unmanned Aerial System threat: whether to jam the electronic  signal from its ground controller, kill the ground controller or shoot down the  Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS.

  • The Afghan Army is not retaining its soldiers too well these days, but at least they’re not joining the Taliban:

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