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Not only Le Bourget: given the number of new events in the field of unmanned aircraft announced at the Paris Air Show (see our report in this issue), one could have expected that little else had not been specifically 'earmarked' for this French grand aerospace meeting. What follows proves the contrary.


The use of blimps and airships controlled 'a la unmanned air vehicle' has been visited in past issues of Armada, but here comes a new breed of drone, courtesy of D-Star Engineering. Known as the Aerolenscraft, this new vehicle is designed for very long endurance (up to one year) operation at 65,000 ft, and therefore constitutes a first step in bridging the gap between hales and satellites.

The operating principle behind the Aerolenscraft is to gather solar energy solar energy, any form of energy radiated by the sun, including light, radio waves, and X rays, although the term usually refers to the visible light of the sun.  during the day and store it as hydrogen for night operation. Due to its high internal volume the craft does without high-pressure tanks, compressors and heat exchangers. The gas provides both the necessary buoyancy to the craft as well as the energy to run its onboard systems, with thin-film, solid-oxide fuel cells converting the hydrogen into water during the night, which is stored onboard for conversion back to hydrogen during the daytime. Unfortunately, D-Star will not unveil at this stage any details regarding the structural components of the Aerolenscraft.

Although D-Star had announced the existence of this project in August 2007, work had been underway for some time, as indeed a company official told the author that the US Air Force Research Laboratories-sponsored project had completed its Phase 1 in June and was entering Phase 2. Phase 1 entailed conceptual development and preliminary design and analysis, while Phase 2 will cover design optimisation as well as hardware exploration of the ship's aerodynamics aerodynamics, study of gases in motion. As the principal application of aerodynamics is the design of aircraft, air is the gas with which the science is most concerned.  (which includes stability and control in a wind tunnel wind tunnel, apparatus for studying the interaction between a solid body and an airstream. A wind tunnel simulates the conditions of an aircraft in flight by causing a high-speed stream of air to flow past a model of the aircraft (or part of an aircraft) being tested. , as well as further work on energy harvesting Energy harvesting (also known as Power harvesting or energy scavenging) is the process by which energy is captured and stored. Frequently this term is applied when speaking about small autonomous devices, like those used in sensor networks.  and storage). Asked about the probable date of a maiden flight Noun 1. maiden flight - the first flight of its kind; "the Stealth bomber made its maiden flight in 1989"
flying, flight - an instance of traveling by air; "flying was still an exciting adventure for him"
 the same official was more evasive and disclosed that this could be part of Phase 3.


The advantage of such a concept is that the craft would be able to stay aloft for a year (or more), remain out of hales' and traditional aircraft's way and difficult to reach for anti-aircraft weapons, while being able to displace itself at a speed of 200 kts, loiter loiter v. to linger or hang around in a public place or business where one has no particular or legal purpose. In many states, cities, and towns there are statutes or ordinances against loitering by which the police can arrest someone who refuses to "move along.  and provide better resolution images than satellites that orbit at altitudes ten times higher.


According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 several e-mail messages received by the author just before print deadline, South Korea has yet another drone manufacturer. Wares from Ucon (Remoeyes series) and Korean Aerospace (Night Intruder) have already been covered in these columns, but the new entrant surprisingly comes under the name of Korean Air This article or section is written like an .
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using .
, which, apart from being the known airline, also licence-manufactures the Black Hawk Black Hawk

(born 1767, Sauk Sautenuk, Va.—died Oct. 3, 1838, village on the Des Moines River, Iowa, U.S.) Sauk Indian leader. Long antagonistic to whites, Black Hawk was driven into Iowa from Illinois in 1831.

The hitherto unnamed fixed-wing drone is apparently being developed with funding from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Energy is a branch of the South Korean government. It is concerned with regulating economic policy, especially with regards to the industrial and energy sectors. The ministry also works to encourage foreign investment in Korea.  with a view to eventually providing the military with a battlefield observation system. The drone has been under development for over three years, has an endurance of 2.5 hours and an operational (datalink) range of 40 km. A further model is envisaged to boost endurance and range to six hours and 80 km.

Proxy Flies for USAF

Proxy Aviation, which develops 'optionally piloted unmanned aircraft', performed an interesting experiment over a period of nine days at Creech Air Force Base Creech Air Force Base (IATA: INS, ICAO: KINS) is a United States Air Force base in Indian Springs, Nevada, about 35 miles north of Las Vegas.

The host unit is the 432d Wing, which has six operational squadrons, one maintenance squadron, and six Reapers and
 in early July. Involving a Sky Watcher and a Sky Raider (see title picture) flying nine missions, the tests were aimed at demonstrating the capability of multiple drones to perform fully autonomous co-operative missions. The tests also involved two simulated unmanned aircraft Unmanned Aircraft (UA) is a term used in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) definition of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). UA refers to the aircraft portion of the system required to operate it, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  managed by their own 'onboard' virtual pilot, meaning that all four elements had to communicate over a common mesh network A communications network in which there are at least two pathways to each node. If one of the paths fails, the other is still available.

A "fully meshed" network means that every node has a direct connection to every other node, which is a very elaborate and expensive architecture.
, allowing one person to operate them through the use of the system's Sky Force network-centric software which actually is designed to simultaneously handle twelve drones and 20 ground nodes. Equipped with Flir Systems | company_name = FLIR Systems

| company_type = Public (NASDAQ: FLIR) | foundation = 1978 | location = Wilsonville, Oregon,
United States | key_people = Earl R. Lewis

}} FLIR Systems
 Saphire III gimballed sensors, the aircraft logged 49 flight hours during the nine missions. In the process the US Air Force, which had established the co-operative flight objectives, tested Proxy's systems in a series of <<complex and dynamic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance may refer to:
  • the US Joint Command see'' Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
  • the military term, see'' Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance.
 and hunter-killer scenarios>>. The flights included target search, simulated weapon and multiple sensor employment, dynamic mission re-tasking, formation flying, collision avoidance See collision avoidance system.  and automatic take-off and landing.


While the Sky Watcher is designed for medium-endurance, low- and medium-altitude ISR (Interrupt Service Routine) Software routine that is executed in response to an interrupt.  missions, the Sky Raider is engineered for heavy-payload missions requiring the carriage and release of external stores. It also features a retractable re·tract  
v. re·tract·ed, re·tract·ing, re·tracts
1. To take back; disavow: refused to retract the statement.

 landing gear.

New from Italy

Selex has developed a new series of electrically powered mini-drones known as Strix, Otus and Asio that can be operated in automatic or semiautomatic modes. They are programmed by and operated from a common ground station and feature automatic take-off and landing. According to the company they can be operated independently or as part of a <<critical node An element, position, or command and control entity whose disruption or destruction immediately degrades the ability of a force to command, control, or effectively conduct combat operations. Also called target critical damage point.  in a fully integrated network surveillance system with payloads that can be controlled manually at any time during flight>>. The systems have recently been demonstrated at the Parc Aberporth range in Wales Wales, Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff. .

The Strix has a flying wing configuration and, in spite of its three-metre span, is man portable and can be carried in an ad-hoc backpack. Weighing 20 kg fully loaded the backpack holds the aircraft (ready to fly in 15 minutes), the cameras, the ground control module (which includes the datalink system) and the user manuals. The stabilised platform accommodates a 320 x 240 array sensor, 7.5-13.5 Im infrared camera with a 36[degrees] angle of view (with a x2 digital zoom), or a 537 x 597 pixel day/night camera with a x10 optical zoom proving a 62[degrees] to 7[degrees] field-of-view (the camera also has a x10 digital zoom).

Like the Strix, the smaller Otus can be enclosed in a backpack and can be launched by hand or from a catapult. At a mere eight kilos the fully-laden backpack is, however, less than half the weight of the Strix. The more conventionally pod-and-wing-configured aircraft is ready to fly in under ten minutes, but carries the same payloads as the Strix.


The vertical take-off and landing Asio is described as a 'hover and stare' drone for battlefield surveillance, forward scout and special operations missions but uses the same sensors as the Strix and the Otus. Like the latter, the structure of the backpack serves as a stand for the vertical aerial.

Selex has also unveiled a model of its latest creation, the Damselfly damselfly: see dragonfly.

Any of numerous predaceous insects of the suborder Zygoptera (order Odonata) having eyes that project to each side.
. This aircraft is reminiscent of a miniaturised Harrier as it also uses vectoring thrust nozzles to transition from vertical take-off to horizontal flight, a useful feature for operation in an urban environment, and when range and endurance are required. It goes without saying that some rather advanced avionics are required to stabilise the aircraft and synchronise the thrusters according to available wing lift. Due to the aircraft's potentially high resistance to lateral forces, Selex sees the Damselfly as an ideal system for use from ships and in 'urban canyons'.


The US Air Force has recently taken delivery of its first Aerovironment Batmav system as part of its Beyond Line of Sight programme. Aerovironment, which had been awarded a contract in December 2006, has recently received an order for 30 systems through the programme's indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract, which provides for purchases of up to $ 45 million over a period of five years. The system's aircraft is the onepound (450 grams) Wasp III. This has has a wingspan of 73.5 cm and carries integrated forward- and side-looking electro-optical colour cameras as well as a modular forward-or side-looking electro-optical or infrared payload. The system is capable of operating for up to 45 minutes at up to five kilometres from the transceiver.
Strix Data

Wingspan:                3 metre
Length:               1.17 metre
Height:               0.30 metre
Max payload weight:       1.0 kg
Datalink range:          12.5 km
Operational speed:         40 kt
Altitude:              10,500 ft
Max rate of climb:       4 m/sec
Endurance:               >1.5 hr

Asio Data

Span:                   1.5 metre
Length:                 0.9 metre
Height:                0.30 metre
Max payload weight:        1.0 kg
Datalink range:             10 km
Operational speed:    15 to 45 kt
Max rate of climb:        4 m/sec
Endurance:                  >1 hr

Otus Data

Wingspan:               1.5 metre
Length:                 0.9 metre
Height:                0.30 metre
Max payload weight:        1.0 kg
Datalink range:             10 km
Operational speed:    15 to 45 kt
Max rate of climb:        4 m/sec
Endurance:                >1 hour
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Title Annotation:Drone update
Author:Biass, Eric H.
Publication:Armada International
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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