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unmanned systems

Vehicle Flies Rapidly Into The Next Generation

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Rita Boland

An aircraft developed by a U.S. corporation is serving as a test-bed for advanced unmanned aerial systems. The internally funded program will employ a fighter-size prototype the company previously designed for a now-defunct military program. The applications for the platform have yet to be determined but will be based on customer desires and requests. The first flight is scheduled to launch late next year, and the company believes it will help shape the future of autonomous air technologies.

Robo Boats On the Horizon

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

Autonomous unmanned vessels soon may be patrolling harbors and conducting coastal reconnaissance missions. The prototype for these future robo boats can operate cooperatively with other robotic surface craft and navigate to a destination without human guidance. Designed for use in shallow waters, the boat can connect to and be controlled by U.S. Navy ships via tactical communications networks.

Combat Robot Ready for Limelight

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Henry S. Kenyon

An armed ground robot with its own sensors and weapons is undergoing operational trials with U.S. troops. Designed to support soldiers in nonlethal and direct combat situations, the robot features a variety of sensors to locate enemy forces and a machine gun and grenade launchers to suppress them. The machine is also equipped with safety and communications equipment allowing coalition forces to operate it at considerable distances for reconnaissance and infiltration missions.

Unmanned Vessels Sail Closer to Shore

July 2007
By Rita Boland

Ships without captains or crew are cruising from the open seas to the coastline. These developmental craft from both the public and private sectors will improve security and capabilities near land and keep sailors and others out of danger.

Crewless Craft on Steady Course

July 2007
By Maryann Lawlor

Unmanned aerial vehicles have become such an integral part of missions that it is difficult to remember a time when the U.S. military relied solely on manned aircraft. As the U.S. Navy prepares to launch into a similar brave new world where crewless platforms propel warfighters out of harm's way, the service faces challenges beyond the technical hurdles. Some issues can be resolved by industry; others will require a worldwide national-level consensus that will change the maritime domain with ramifications not seen since the dawn of modern shipbuilding.

Air Vehicles Deliver Warrior Data

July 2007
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

Soldiers operating in built-up neighborhoods can receive more timely and complete information about enemy forces by harnessing low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles. An autonomous system emerging from development in a far-reaching program coordinates delivery of video from unmanned aerial platforms and other military reconnaissance assets.

Mighty Minis Find Foes

June 2006
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

Diminutive but potent, a versatile unmanned micro air vehicle leaps tall buildings to look for rooftop shooters or hovers and stares through windows to search within for hidden enemies. New applications continually tumble forth for a 14-pound ducted fan vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. This nascent platform rapidly is being recognized for its important platoon-level infantry and cavalry reconnaissance capabilities.

Missiles Aim for Mach 4 Capability

May 2006
By Rita Boland

A demonstration technology program underway is developing U.S. military weapons that can travel at greater supersonic speeds. The Revolutionary Approach to Time-critical Long Range Strike, or RATTLRS, system will expand high-speed flight capabilities and improve performance for expendable supersonic vehicles.

Experimental Power System Expands Flight Capabilities

March 2006
By Rita Boland

Recent flights of the Spider-Lion fuel-cell-powered unmanned aerial vehicle have shed light on the potential for deploying fuel-cell technologies in the future. Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory designed the Spider-Lion, and while the aircraft itself is not intended as a tactical device, it will serve as a high-impact research platform for testing fuel-cell technology. The two successful flights mark the first time a fuel-cell-powered unmanned aerial vehicle has flown for several hours.

Israel Deploys Robot Guardians

March 2006
By Henry S. Kenyon

A close U.S. ally is focusing its unmanned systems development on homeland security. Israel has a history of adopting innovative technologies to suit its strategic needs, and its armed forces were among the first to develop and adopt unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and electronic warfare operations. The nation's aerospace industry has become adept at creating a variety of unmanned air, ground and sea platforms to meet changing requirements and to fill new roles.

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