Reconnaissance

  • As part of DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, Reston Virginia-based company Leidos is building the first robotic autonomous vessel for locating and tracking extremely quiet diesel submarines.
  • As part of the 70th-anniversary commemoration, RAF Tornado jets from II (Army Co-operation) Squadron (II (AC) Sqn) recreated that historic D-Day recon mission over Normandy, giving us a glimpse of how far aerial reconnaissance has come in three generations.
  • This April, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and the US Army used an autonomous Black Hawk helicopter to perform an unmanned cargo flight. That same chopper has now been enlisted to deliver an all-terrain vehicle to a remote site, where that vehicle will autonomously explore at ground level.
  • Boeing has flown its new light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in its production configuration. A prototype of the AH-6i was taken through preliminary tests in a flight lasting less than 20 minutes. The flight brings the model one step closer to full production.
  • The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.
  • The UK Ministry of Defence has announced the Watchkeeper UAV has been awarded a Release To Service, clearing the way for flight training to begin with the Royal Artillery.
  • DARPA is looking to share the cargo load around with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.
  • The Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System (SPARCS) built by Singapore-based ST Engineering replaces a warhead with a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized receiver; turning disaster teams, police, and foot soldiers into recon units.
  • Last month, the US Pentagon released a report that presents a blueprint of what it sees as the future of military robots over the next quarter of a century, projecting likely developments in new unmanned technologies against a background of shrinking budgets and shifting strategic policies.
  • Although the technological advances and proliferation of drones has accelerated over the past decade, 2013 was the year that the technology really entered the public consciousness. So let’s have a look back at Gizmag’s pick of the top drone stories of 2013.
  • There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base.
  • When the last SR-71 Blackbird was grounded in 1998 it was a double blow. Not only did aviation lose one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, but also one of the most beautiful. Now, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has revealed that it is building a successor to the Blackbird: the SR-72.