UAVs at the 2020 Olympics

I am so excited that the Tokyo Olympics are finally here, and things seem to be going well for USA so far. I really wanted this week’s blog to be related to the Olympics, so I searched for some aspect of the Olympics that could be related to Science and Technology.  I had to look […]

I am so excited that the Tokyo Olympics are finally here, and things seem to be going well for USA so far.

I really wanted this week’s blog to be related to the Olympics, so I searched for some aspect of the Olympics that could be related to Science and Technology.  I had to look no further than the Opening Ceremonies.  The Intel Drone Light Show was absolutely spectacular, and it reminded me of the power of UAVs.  If you missed it, you can watch it here.

In the early days of UAVs, scientists seemed to concentrate on the military aspects of UAVs, and UAVs were used mostly as instruments of war.  Now, however, UAVs are being used for so much more.

CBInsights published an article, 38 Ways Drones Will Impact Society: From Fighting War to Forecasting Weather, UAVs Change Everything.  This article reminds us that UAVs have applications in Defense, Emergency Response, Disaster Relief, Conservation, Disease Relief, Healthcare, Agriculture, Weather, Maritime, Waste Management, Energy, Mining, Construction, Infrastructure, Insurance, Realty, Urban Planning, Personal Transportation,  Airlines, Telecommunications, Internet, Outdoors, tourism, Entertainments, Sports, Hollywood, advertising, retail, manufacturing, fighting crime, fitness, food services, journalism, air travel, gaming, space, education, and security.   In fact, there are even other applications which are not even discussed in the article.  The possibilities are endless.

The Intel Drone Light Show at the Olympics was amazing.  In the future, using Drones for aerial displays may well replace Fireworks for large venues.  Although Drones may be more a more expensive option at this time, they are more versatile, and they may get cheaper, and they are certainly safer.  Think of how many fingers and limbs will be saved, as long as people steer clear of propellers.

Since UAVs are gaining in popularity, now might be a good time to brush up on your UAV Design skills.  ATI is offering a course that can help you with that.  You can read about the ATI UAV Design course, and you can register for our upcoming offering here.  

A full listing of all the courses offered by ATI can be found here.

Forget Camera Drones. This Drone is Big Enough for You and Your Camera

Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Unmanned Aircraft Systems Overview Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Sensing, Payloads & Products     The news below would be of interest to our readers. […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
  1. Unmanned Air Vehicle Design
  2. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control
  3. Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals
  4. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Overview
  5. Unmanned Aircraft Systems – Sensing, Payloads & Products
    The news below would be of interest to our readers. Camera drones have exploded onto the scene in the past few years, and they’re being used by photographers around the world as a cheap and easy way to obtain aerial photos and videos. But what if you want both the convenience of a drone and the joy of being able to see and shoot things from the air with your own eyes and camera? That’s where something like the Ehang 184 comes in: it’s a new giant drone that may one day fly both you and your camera. Ehang, a Guangzhou, China-based company, is showing off the drone at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. Roughly the size of a small car, it’s a 4-foot-tall electric vehicle that looks like the oversized love child of a helicopter and a quadcopter (it has 8 propellers on 4 arms). The 184 Personal Flying Vehicle (PFV) can carry a single person weighing up to 260 pounds and has a top speed of 62mph, a maximum altitude of 11,000 feet, a range of 10 miles, and a flight time of 23 minutes. Just like with many of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) out there, the 184 can fly itself without very much input from the passenger. Using a simple app interface on a smartphone or tablet, you can tell the drone to take off, pause, and land with just a few taps. To determine where you’d like to fly, you can set waypoints using a map in the app. Ehang says that the vehicle has a “fail safe system” that will immediately land you safely on the ground, even if any of the components malfunction or disconnect. Other features in the drone include air conditioning, some storage space, a reading light, and a 4G connection. The Ehang 184 is set to be commercially available sometime in 2016 with a price of around $200,000 to $300,000, Engadget reports. Given the increased restrictions on relatively small camera drones — the US government launched mandatory registrations— we’re guessing Ehang has a major uphill battle ahead of it if it hopes to see widespread use of the 184.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

U.S. NAVY: New Museum Drone and Strategic Malpractice

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers the following courses on Unmanned Aerial Technology: Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Sensing, Payloads & Products On Site Your Facility Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control On Site Your Facility Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jul 14-16, 2015 Columbia, MD Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals On Site Your Facility 4,000 pounds of fuel from a […]
150422-N-CE233-377 PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (April 22, 2015) The Navy's unmanned X-47B receives fuel from an Omega K-707 tanker while operating in the Atlantic Test Ranges over the Chesapeake Bay. This test marked the first time an unmanned aircraft refueled in flight. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers the following courses on Unmanned Aerial Technology:
Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Sensing, Payloads & Products On Site Your Facility
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control On Site Your Facility
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jul 14-16, 2015 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals On Site Your Facility
4,000 pounds of fuel from a KC-707 tanker aircraft. This historic achievement followed last year’s equally revolutionary series of carrier launch and recovery operations by the X-47B. You would think that the Navy, cognizant of the need to take advantage of the promise of robotics would be aggressively pushing to do further testing, to make unmanned carrier-based surveillance and strike aircraft real, and thus extend the reach and power of the aircraft carrier – the crown jewel of America’s conventional power projection forces. Instead, the Navy wants to decommission the two X-47Bs (named Salty Dog 501 and Salty Dog 502) and put them in museums, even though they have 80% of their approved flight hours left. Such an action flies in the face of the imperative to counter the most strategically troubling elements of the emerging set of anti-access/area-denial threats that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his team are aiming to offset. The need to take advantage of unmanned and increasingly autonomous systems to preserve the aircraft carrier’s operational relevance in anticipated threat environments is obvious. America’s potential adversaries are rapidly investing in capabilities designed to limit the ability of U.S. military forces to gain access to, and operate within, vast areas of the air and maritime domains. For instance, a recent report from the Office of Naval Intelligence, The PLA Navy: New Capabilities and Missions for the 21st Century (discussed in this War on the Rocks article) ably details China’s development and fielding of modern missile-armed strike aircraft and surface combatants, quieter submarines armed with advanced anti-ship cruise missiles and torpedoes, and land-based anti-ship ballistic missiles such as the DF-21D. And Moscow’s recent decision to supply Iran with the S-300 surface-to-air missile system is illustrative of the broader proliferation of increasingly capable integrated air defense systems that threaten to outmatch not only the F/A-18E/F but also the as-yet deployed F-35C. Cognizant of these emerging threats, as far back as the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, Pentagon leaders directed the Navy to “develop an unmanned longer-range carrier-based aircraft capable of being air-refueled to provide greater standoff capability, to expand payload and launch options, and to increase naval reach and persistence.” Last week’s demonstration of automated aerial refueling by an unmanned air system (UAS) was a critical component of proving that unmanned naval surveillance and strike operations are possible. While aviation buffs will emphasize its historical significance, astute strategists will zero in on the fact that the UAS in question – the Navy X-47B – is a prototype of a carrier-based, long-range surveillance-strike aircraft with the “broad-band/all-aspect” stealth design required for operating within air space defended by advanced integrated air defense systems. In combination, the X-47B’s successful carrier launch/recovery demonstration in 2013 and last week’s automated aerial refueling effectively prove that the system the Navy needs is technically feasible and within reach. With aerial refueling, carrier-based UAS will be capable of conducting missions measured not in hours, but in days. For the first time in history, this would allow carrier-based aircraft to operate at intercontinental distances, enabling both rapid global responsiveness and the ability to stage persistent surveillance-strike operations from well outside most threats to the carrier. While additional technology maturation and experimentation is surely needed before an advanced UAS can be fully integrated into carrier air wings, the Navy is at a strategic “tipping point” where a truly game-changing capability is within their grasp. The submarine-launched ballistic missile – which turned the Air Force’s nuclear “dyad” into the iconic Air Force-Navy triad that deterred the Soviets during the Cold War – is an apt analogue. Absent the submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Navy would have effectively ceded the critical strategic deterrence mission to the Air Force. Today is no different. Absent stealthy, air-refuelable, surveillance-strike UAS aboard its carriers, the Navy will invariably cede power projection – and thus the conventional deterrence mission – to the Air Force, which is developing a new stealth bomber and moving more aggressively on the UAS front. Inexplicably, however, the Navy plans to end the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) and permanently deactivate the two X-47B aircraft by sending them to museums – doing irreversible damage to them in the process – despite having utilized only a small fraction of their available flight hours. Owing to repeated Navy “de-scoping” of the UCAS-D program over the past several years, much work remains before the Navy is ready to acquire carrier-based UAS at acceptable technical risk. Given the roughly $1.5B invested in UCAS-D to date, and that more technology maturation and experimentation is clearly required, the obvious question is: Why stop now? The answer from the Navy, and from the naval aviation enterprise in particular, has been that there are no cost effective solutions for continued UCLASS risk mitigation with UCAS-D, and that a penetrating, air-refuelable, surveillance-strike unmanned aircraft would be too expensive. Both arguments are fundamentally flawed. First, there are, in fact, myriad executable options for continued work on UCAS-D that would not only mitigate technical risk for UCLASS, but also substantially enhance the Navy’s readiness to integrate an operational UAS into the carrier air wing. Key areas for future UCAS-D enabled risk reduction include carrier control-area operations, deck handling, aerial refueling, command and control, sensor and weapon integration, survivability, and fleet experimentation. The simple truth is that UCAS-D has only scratched the surface. While some have argued that continuing UCAS-D would create an un-level competitive playing field for UCLASS, it is hard to understand how requirements for “carrier suitability” set by the government in 2007 after a fair and open competition, and defined in detail in 2011, are now anti-competitive – especially when data collected during the program would be available to all contractors competing on UCLASS. Under current Navy plans, moreover, the UCLASS program is merely a Technology Demonstration effort slated to begin in roughly FY17, with first flight of the “UCLASS-D” aircraft planned for no earlier than FY20. To state the obvious, it would be much less costly and risky to utilize a flight-proven system during the technology and risk reduction phase of the procurement process rather than develop an entirely new demonstration aircraft. This is true even if continued utilization of the X-47B air vehicles required sustained, low-level investment in hardware and software modifications necessary to address different aspects of yet-to-be-finalized UCLASS requirements. Conversely, the five-year gap in carrier-based UAS flight-testing, demonstration, and experimentation inherent in the Navy’s current approach would likely delay the fielding of an operational aircraft. In other words, the Navy’s current path to carrier-based UAS acquisition is guaranteed not only to cost more and take longer, but also to introduce an unnecessary level of risk in both cost and schedule. Which brings us to the last argument that proponents of the current flawed approach are making inside the Pentagon: that a penetrating, air-refuelable, counter-anti-access/area denial UAS would be dramatically more expensive than the surveillance-focused “spotter” that the Navy currently prefers. For the latter, the Navy has specified a requirement of 14 hours of unrefueled endurance while carrying a sensor suite and at least 1,000 pounds of weapons internally in low-to-medium threat environments. Meeting that objective would require a large-wingspan aircraft with a roughly 45,000 to 65,000-pound gross takeoff weight. A carrier-based surveillance-strike aircraft with somewhat less unrefueled endurance (8-10 hours – still three to four times that of the F/A-18E/F), a higher cruise speed, significantly increased internal weapons payload (~4,000 pounds), and enhanced survivability (i.e., broadband, all-aspect radar cross section reduction) would likely be in the middle of that gross takeoff weight range. With unit cost correlating closely with gross takeoff weight, both aircraft would likely fall within a similar range for overall cost. Ironically, affordability in the age of austerity is perhaps the strongest argument for acquiring a stealthy, air-refuelable, surveillance-strike UAS. Whereas the “spotter” UAS – designed expressly to support manned fighters – would represent a purely additive air wing cost, a surveillance-strike UAS could replace the F/A-18E/F in lieu of a manned “F/A-XX” in the late 2020s. The potential cost savings are staggering. Owing to the elimination of pilot training as a driver of carrier-based aircraft force size and flight hours, if the Navy acquired a UAS instead of another manned aircraft to replace the Super Hornet, it could procure roughly half the number of aircraft (or less) and fly them fewer hours per year. Based on in-depth analysis of historical carrier-based aircraft life-cycle cost data, a forthcoming report by the Center for a New American Security projects a 25-year savings mounting into the tens of billions. This is a strategic-level cost offset that would allow the Navy to invest in additional aircraft, ships, and submarines. At a time when DoD needs to squeeze more capability out of reduced investment budgets to meet acute security challenges, a carrier-based UAS that transforms the carrier into a frontline global attack arm while dramatically reducing the overall cost of the air wing represents a historic opportunity. For the Navy to prematurely destroy the X-47B planes and forfeit the opportunity to reduce risk, experiment, and learn for the next five years constitutes strategic malpractice of the highest order. At least Congress has taken notice, with Senator John McCain, Congressman Randy Forbes, and others urging the Navy to right its course and ensure America’s aircraft carriers and their air wings can deter and defeat future adversaries. We recommend Congress add funding to the FY2016 budget to keep the UCAS-D air vehicles flying while the Pentagon completes its reevaluation of final requirements for a future carrier-based UAS and it enters into development. With Congressional leaders acting, it’s time for leaders in the Pentagon to do the same. Last year, the Office of the Secretary of Defense forestalled the Navy’s release of a flawed UCLASS request for proposals and launched a review to study UCLASS requirements in the context of the joint family of airborne surveillance and strike platforms. With the fate of UCAS-D in the balance, it is again time for the Pentagon’s civilian leaders to weigh in to keep the promise of carrier-based UAS operations alive. Secretary Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus need to act before a historic opportunity is squandered. Pentagon officials like to talk about innovation, experimentation, and halting the erosion of America’s military-technological edge. It’s time for their rhetoric to translate into action. Robert Martinage is Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Shawn Brimley is Executive Vice President at the Center for a New American Security. Both former Pentagon officials, they testified before the House Armed Services Committee on this issue in June 2014.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Commercial drones coming to skies near you!

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers the following courses on Unmanned Aircraft Technology: Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Sensing, Payloads & Products Sep 15-18, 2014 Dayton, OH Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Sensing, Payloads & Products Nov 3-6, 2014 Columbia, MD Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control On Site Your Facility Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Nov 11-13, 2014 Dayton, OH Unmanned […]

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers the following courses on Unmanned Aircraft Technology:
Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Sensing, Payloads & Products Sep 15-18, 2014 Dayton, OH
Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Sensing, Payloads & Products Nov 3-6, 2014 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control On Site Your Facility
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Nov 11-13, 2014 Dayton, OH
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Feb 17-19, 2015 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Feb 24-26, 2015 Columbia, MD
The news below should be of interest to our readers. Although drones seem to be in wide use elsewhere, the Federal Aviation Administration is nervous about letting U.S. skies fill up with them, citing safety and privacy concerns. The FAA already fined a photographer $10,000 for taking commercial pictures of a university by drone. It was overturned in court, but the FAA is appealing the decision. Meanwhile, real estate agents are having a field day, literally, flying drones over houses to show buyers a different perspective, ignoring the fact that this is against the law. Amazon head Jeff Bezos says he foresees the day when an Amazon order is delivered in 30 minutes by drone. Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s the “Divergent” series from Amazon. He has teamed up with three drone manufacturers to lobby for government permission. Those less-than-reputable journalists who try to invade private weddings, bar mitzvahs and celebrity birthday parties would love to use drones anywhere they want to get pictures. Film producers see great potential in using drones to get aerial shots with far less cost and risk. Not so fast, say U. S. regulators, including the FAA and Department of Transportation.  Congress wants regulations ready by September 2015. But nobody expects that deadline to be met. Canada, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom are far ahead of the U.S. in commercial drone use. While American hobbyists fly drones (not near airports or higher than 400 feet), most Americans seem to be leery of weird unidentified objects buzzing over their heads. Read more here. What is your opinion on this issue?  Please comment below.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: The History Goes Back Further Than You Would Think!

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) is scheduled to present the following courses on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control May 20-22, 2014 Columbia, MD Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Apr 22-24, 2014 Dayton, OH I’ve always thought that UAV technology was the invention of the end of the 20th century looking something like […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) is scheduled to present the following courses on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Guidance & Control May 20-22, 2014 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Apr 22-24, 2014 Dayton, OH
I’ve always thought that UAV technology was the invention of the end of the 20th century looking something like the video below. How wrong I was!   I think our readers will find the information below quite interesting.

Austria was the first country to use unmanned aerial vehicles for combat purposes. In 1849, the Austrian military attached explosives to five large balloons and sent them to attack the city of Venice. Some of the balloons were blown off course, but others managed to hit targets within the city.

The concept of pilotless aerial combat units resurfaced during World War I when military scientists began building devices such as the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane. This craft was essentially an airborne bomb and was controlled using gyroscopes. After witnessing the capabilities of the Automatic Airplane, the U.S. military began working on precursors to modern cruise missiles called aerial torpedoes. The first aerial torpedo was dubbed the Kettering Bomb. Developed in 1918, the Kettering Bomb could be guided by an onboard gyroscope toward targets located up to 75 miles from its launch point.

Aerial Torpedo attached to AircraftAerial Torpedo attached to Aircraft

A British World War I veteran namedReginald Denny opened a model plane shop in Hollywood in 1934. Denny eventually began producing radio-controlled aircraft that could be used for training purposes by anti-aircraft gunners. The Army hired Denny and produced thousands of drones for use during World War II. The Navy also began producing radio-controlled aircraft around this time. In 1942, a Navy assault drone successfully hit an enemy destroyer with a torpedo.

After World War II, Reginald Denny’s company continued to build target drones for the U.S. military. The drones became increasingly advanced to keep up with manned combat aircraft. During the Cold War, some of these drones were converted for reconnaissance purposes. Based on the successful Ryan Firebee target drone model, the Ryan Model 147 Lightning Bug series of drones was used to spy on targets in China, Vietnam, and Korea in the 1960s and ’70s. The Soviet Union developed its own photo reconnaissance drones, although little is known about these devices. Drones were also used as decoys during combat operations.

Unmanned aircraft vehicles were largely seen as impractical, unreliable, and expensive until 1982 when Israel successfully used the devices against the Syrian Air Force. The Israeli Air Force used the drones for video reconnaissance, distractions, and electronic jamming of Syrian equipment. They were also used to destroy Syrian aircraft without risking the lives of Israeli pilots. The success of Israel’s UAV project convinced the United States military to start developing more unmanned aircraft. The U.S. now has a large fleet of UAVs used to deceive detection systems such as radar and sonar.

General Atomics Predator RQ-1L UAVGeneral Atomics Predator RQ-1L UAV
The General Atomics Predator RQ-1L UAV was used extensively during Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as operations in Afghanistan. The Predator was initially designed for reconnaissance purposes, but attaching Hellfire missiles and other weaponry made it an effective way to destroy enemy targets. Today, the military continues to improve UAVs with photovoltaic cells and other modern technology. Drones are also used domestically for surveillance, disaster relief, immigration control, and law enforcement.

 


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Remotely Operated Aircraft

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) is scheduled to present the following Unmanned Aircraft Courses below. Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Sep 24-26, 2013 Columbia, MD Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jan 28-30, 2014 Columbia, MD Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Jul 23-25, 2013 Columbia, MD Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Feb 25-27, 2014 Columbia, MD This is an article […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) is scheduled to present the following Unmanned Aircraft Courses below. Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Sep 24-26, 2013 Columbia, MD Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jan 28-30, 2014 Columbia, MD Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Jul 23-25, 2013 Columbia, MD Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Feb 25-27, 2014 Columbia, MD This is an article that we think will be of interest to our students. It was written by Alon Unger – UVID 2013 Conference Chairman – Israel – 10.10.2013and originally appeared at http://www.israeldefense.com/?CategoryID=472&ArticleID=1646   The global demand for unmanned systems, in conjunction with the high rate of technological progress in this field, often leads to these weapon systems being fielded before they reach operational and logistic maturity. The rapid growth in the number of companies engaged in unmanned systems and the rapid technological progress made in the fields of miniaturization, electrooptics, communication, and computers, have led to a situation where state-of-the-art technology is installed in these systems. This, in turn, creates numerous challenges for everyone involved. The most significant implication of the uniqueness of unmanned systems is that they are technology-intensive systems that make it possible to set advanced operational challenges and objectives in diversified operating environments. This requires that the personnel operating these systems have a high level of proficiency and professionalism. In addition, this proficiency includes numerous capabilities and skills beyond the mere steering of the airborne platform and the operation of the payloads. In UAV systems (also called UAS – Unmanned Aerial Systems), which are controlled in real time, the operator normally occupies a remotely located ground control station where he must analyze the status of the system, the operational environment, and real-time occurrences through “remote control” sensing. He understands, for example, the weather  conditions at a distance of tens to hundreds of kilometers, without being able to see the whole environment through the canopy, or identify a drop in engine thrust merely through the gauges, without physically sensing it. These seemingly simple tasks necessitate proficiency from a distance. As part of current UAS development efforts, two prominent factors directly affect system operation. The first factor, which mainly affects the steering and system operation, provides advanced capabilities to the aircraft, including a higher degree of autonomy and automation, improved reliability, extended operation and communication ranges, and upgraded propulsion systems. In addition to simplifying system control, reducing the number of operators at the ground control station, and improving the basic safety standards, these technological capabilities often have the opposite effect on the operating aspect. One example of a negative side effect is the deterioration in basic operator proficiency. This has the potential to damage the operator’s ability to cope with emergency situations, or in extreme cases, conceive the steering of the UAV as the operation of a flying model aircraft. This consequently affects the basic operator training standards (this conceptual error is typical made by countries taking their first steps into the field of unmanned systems). The second factor, which mainly affects the mission and interpretation aspect, is improving and adding mission capabilities through new payloads or through the improvement of existing ones. This trend significantly raises the level of complexity for the operator. Today, operators are required to control multiple payload types (Electro-Optical, IR, SAR, EW, SIGINT) in different environments (close and long range, urban and open terrain, day and night, extreme weather conditions, and so forth), and be able to effectively execute a range of mission types. Such missions include intelligence collection, close surveillance support for advancing ground forces, battle damage assessment, and many others. In the last decade, these factors were supplemented by the objective of reducing the number of operators at the ground control station. This process, whose primary objective is improved efficiency, does not necessarily improve mission performance, and often leads to an increased operating workload to the point of rendering mission execution impossible, or at times, failing to steer the UAV in a reasonably safe manner. For example, the majority of Mini-UAV systems boast the ability to have the mission executed by a single operator. Technically, this system operation is possible. However, a simple analysis of the operator’s functional characteristics will show that the mission environment and the number of simultaneous activities (system control, payload control, maintaining and tracking target contact, reporting, etc.) usually do not allow for the mission to be executed effectively and safely by a single operator. This insight is further emphasized when the background of the operating personnel is less than optimal. This is currently the case in several countries around the world where the relevant authorities are not sufficiently stringent about screening and selecting the appropriate personnel for the execution of these systems and missions. A review of the psychological aspect also suggests that UAV operators are unique. A US study published in 2009 examined the population of Predator (MQ-1) UAV operators in the US. The study established a correlation between the nature of their activity and extremely high levels of fatigue, sleep disorders, and stress. Other studies established a  circumstantial correlation with high psychological pressures emanating from cognitive and emotional transitions in the operational daily routine of UAV operators and from the rapid leaps between the executions of critical operational missions over the battlefield to daily life with family. The gamut of environmental, mission, and technological variables has made the operation of UAV systems much more complex than ever before. UAV operators are required to be technically proficient in and professionally knowledgeable about numerous technological measures and different computer environments, all while having to meet their operational objectives in real time. Even for a seasoned, highly skilled operator, this constitutes a major challenge. The following variables illustrate the range of capabilities and characteristics UAV operators are required to possess: multitasking, working under pressure and making decisions in real time, good spatial perception, teamwork, assertiveness, perseverance, patience, service awareness, work ethics, maturity, creativity, a methodical approach, and an ability to learn quickly. Accordingly, these implications should be reviewed through the aspects of selecting the operators, training them, maintaining their competence, assembling teams, developing careers, adding mission tools, assimilation, and legislation. The Human Factor aspects are also particularly important in layouts and system engineering required to apply remote control operations, such as UAV systems. Most of the current studies that deal with analyzing the causes of UAV accidents and the performance standards of UAV systems have established that the human factor is the most influential element with regards to the two variables outlined above. To date, most UAV accidents are caused by failures linked to the human factor, such as faulty user interface design, operating errors, and other factors, all coming under the definition of “Human Error.” One prominent example of this is the investigation of the crash of the Predator B (MQ-9) UAV in Arizona on April 25, 2006. The National Transportation Safety Board, who investigated the accident, came up with numerous variables that may have caused the crash, most of which are linked to the human factor. One of the lessons drawn from this accident suggests that the phenomenon of gaps in this field far exceed the boundaries of this particular accident that are prevalent in all UAV systems. Many years ago, Israel identified the Human Factor aspect as a primary factor in system performance and safety standards. Accordingly, for many years afterwards, human factor professionals were involved in the field of UAVs in Israel. However, even in Israel, the investments made in the effort to develop the system around the operator are in no way similar to the investments made in manned systems. This gap is especially evident on the ground, often because of the absence of specific standards for this field. “The Human Behind the Unmanned System Will Make the Difference” is a slogan I invented many years ago. Since then, I have often been asked to explain it by using various aspects outlined in this article. The complexity of UAV systems environment parameters, the technological race, and above all, the increasingly ambitious operational demands, are external variables that are likely to remain with us for many years to come. Understanding the central role that the human element plays in unmanned systems is a process that has just begun. As such, we must internalize the axiom “the system is only as good as its operator.” In the last year, the US has begun to change their definitions of UAVs from “Unmanned Vehicles” to “Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).” This trend, which amends the system manning issue, may lead to a change in the prevailing concept regarding the central role played by the human element, and could also lead to a change in Israel’s concepts and terminology. Nevertheless, it raises an historical debate of Pilot vs. Operators issue. Personally, I would recommend the term “Remotely Operated Aircraft” but this is an issue for another article.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Warfare of the future: does it belong to the drones?

There is no doubt that the use of unmanned aircrafts or drones has seen a tremendous growth over the last few years. Since 2005 there has been a 1,200% increase in combat air patrols by UAVs. Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone only last month. But does this mean that the future […]
There is no doubt that the use of unmanned aircrafts or drones has seen a tremendous growth over the last few years. Since 2005 there has been a 1,200% increase in combat air patrols by UAVs. Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone only last month. But does this mean that the future belongs to UAS? What are the pros and cons of using unmanned aircraft vehicles vs manned? What are the pros and cons of UAVs? Pros include:
    1) significantly lower cost compared to manned vehicles (although they can get pretty expensive depending on their sophistication); this should allow the military to buy UAVs in much larger quantities than manned aircraft 2) expendability, you can afford to send them into heavily defended areas and risk losing some without endangering a pilot 3) more maneuverable than manned planes without the limitations of a human pilot 4) can be built stealthier than a manned plane since one of the least stealthy parts of the aircraft (the cockpit) is unnecessary 5) should be lighter, smaller, and easier to transport
Cons include:
    1) limitations of their programming, may not be able to compensate for the changing battlefield environment (such as being able to attack a new more desirable target that appeared after the aircraft was launched or changing course to avoid enemy defenses) 2) because they are typically smaller than a manned plane, they cannot carry as large a payload (however, they do generally have a greater ratio of payload to total weight) 3) along the same lines, they may not be able to carry as much fuel and therefore may have a shorter range 4) typically tailored to specific kinds of missions and not as versatile as a modern multi-role fighter 5) if contact is lost with a ground station, the vehicle may be lost
Overall, but the pilot in the cockpit is already an endangered species. What is your opinion? Please comment below. Read more here.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Last Chance to Sign Up for Course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Video Clip: Click to Watch ATI Offers Short Technical Course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Worldwide government, commercial and military use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is anticipated to increase significantly in the future. If you need to know more about UAS maybe you should attend the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications […]
Video Clip: Click to Watch
ATI Offers Short Technical Course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Worldwide government, commercial and military use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is anticipated to increase significantly in the future. If you need to know more about UAS maybe you should attend the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course? This one-day course is designed for engineers, aviation experts and project managers who wish to enhance their understanding of UAS. The course provides the “big picture” for those who work outside of the discipline. Each topic addresses real systems (Predator, Shadow, Global Hawk and others) and real-world problems and issues concerning the use and expansion of their applications. Attending training courses can also put you in touch with peers in your industry affording you the opportunity to network. Networking can help you discover new industry trends, as well as new ideas and insights from others. Our short courses are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and defense systems. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. You will become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues. Course Outline, Samplers and Notes But don’t take our word for it; determine for yourself the value of our UAS course before you sign up. Check out ourUAS Course Slide Samples or see a video clip about the course from the instructor at UAS on YouTube. After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information. About ATI and the Instructors Our mission here at the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses. ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology. Mr. Mark N. Lewellen is the vice chair of an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) group in the United States that is responsible for generating future UAS spectrum requirements. He is also chairman of a global UAS group that may revise the international Radio Regulations. He is an instructor for a course designed for engineers, aviation experts and project managers who wish to enhance their understanding of UAS. He has twenty-five years of experience and has actively participated in over forty international meetings where he successfully advocated technical and regulatory issues. He is co-founder of RMT Spectrum Associates, Inc. Mr. Lewellen teaches GPS Workshops in conjunction with several Universities. He is an active member of Toastmasters International and an excellent speaker who knows how to take command of an audience. Dates, Times and Locations The UAS short course is currently scheduled for: • November 8th, 2011 in Columbia, MD • February 28th, 2012 in Columbia, MD Now is the time to think about bringing an ATI technical short course to your site. If there are eight or more people who are interested in a course, you save money if we bring the course to you. If you have fifteen or more students, you save over fifty percent compared to a public course.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) course now available

Video Clip: Click to Watch Mark Lewellen of RMT Spectrum Associates, named Instructor for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) course The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is pleased to announce that Mark N. Lewellen of RMT Associates, Inc. has been selected to teach an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) course. UAS are a dynamically growing area of interest to the […]
Global Hawk Ready for Nighttime Mission
Video Clip: Click to Watch
Mark Lewellen of RMT Spectrum Associates, named Instructor for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) course
The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is pleased to announce that Mark N. Lewellen of RMT Associates, Inc. has been selected to teach an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) course. UAS are a dynamically growing area of interest to the military. They range from the small single man launched Raven system to the large armed Predator system. This one-day course is designed for engineers, aviation experts and project managers who wish to enhance their understanding of UAS. The course provides the “big picture” for those who work outside of the discipline. Each topic addresses real systems (Predator, Shadow, Warrior and others) and real-world problems and issues concerning the use and expansion of their applications. What You Will Learn: • Categories of current UAS and their aeronautical capabilities • Major manufactures of UAS • The latest developments and major components of a UAS • The types of sensor data can UAS provide • Regulatory and spectrum issues associated with UAS • National Airspace System including the different classes of airspace • How UAS will gain access to the National Airspace System (NAS) A more complete course description can be found here Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes Our short courses are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and defense systems. Determine for yourself the value of this UAS course before you sign up: UAS Class Video Clip #1 UAS Class Video Clip #2 Or, see slide samples from this UAS Short course. After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information. About ATI and the Instructors Our mission here at ATI is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses. ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology. Mr. Mark N. Lewellen has over twenty five years of experience with a wide variety of space, satellite and aviation related projects, including the Predator/Shadow/Warrior/Global Hawk UAVs, Orbcomm, Iridium, Sky Station, and aeronautical mobile telemetry systems. More recently he has been working in the exciting field of UAS. He is currently the Vice Chairman of a UAS Sub-group under Working Party 5B which is leading the US preparations to find new radio spectrum for UAS operations for the next World Radiocommunication Conference in 2012 under Agenda Item 1.3. He is also a technical advisor to the US State Department and a member of the National Committee which reviews and comments on all US submissions to international telecommunication groups, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Times, Dates, and Locations ATI’s UAS and Applications short course is currently scheduled for: Nov 8, 2011 Columbia, MD Feb 28, 2012 Columbia, MD

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

New Mini-Munitions Will Soon Eliminate Civilian Casualties and Collateral Damage

Civilian casualties and collateral damage could be completely eliminated in the near future thanks to a line of new mini-munitions designed by leading government defense contractors. Raytheon Missile Systems is in process of designing a 13lb Small Tactical Munition to be carried by smaller unmanned aircraft like Shadow, TigerShark, Hunter and Viking. STM uses a […]

Civilian casualties and collateral damage could be completely eliminated in the near future thanks to a line of new mini-munitions designed by leading government defense contractors.

Raytheon Missile Systems is in process of designing a 13lb Small Tactical Munition to be carried by smaller unmanned aircraft like Shadow, TigerShark, Hunter and Viking. STM uses a combination of GPS satellite and inertial navigation with semi-active laser targeting. The device is around 24 inches long and 4 inches around. This will give the drones the option to attack smaller targets like automobiles without causing damage to surrounding areas.

Northrop Grumman has come out with the Viper Strike, a gliding, GPS-aided laser-guided variant of the Northrop Grumman Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) munition which originally had a combination acoustic and IR seeker. The Viper Strike is 36 inches long and only 5.5 inches in diameter.

Lockheed Martin has released the Scorpion (21.5 inches in length, and 4.25 inches in diameter),which is adaptable to multiple launch platforms, including manned or unmanned systems. Scorpion uses a semi-active laser (SAL) seeker for man-in-the-loop terminal guidance,and can be tailored to use planned, imaging infrared (I2R), shortwave infrared (SWIR), or millimeter wave (MMW) seekers.

Read more here.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Do You Have a Need to Know about Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)?

MQ-9 Reaper Taxis Down the Runway Video Clip: Click to Watch ATI offers Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) course Worldwide commercial, government and military use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is expected to increase significantly in the future, placing unprecedented demands on scare radio resources. In fact, the Teal Group’s 2009 market study estimates that UAS spending […]
MQ-9 Reaper Taxis Down the Runway
MQ-9 Reaper Taxis Down the Runway
Video Clip: Click to Watch
ATI offers Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) course
Worldwide commercial, government and military use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is expected to increase significantly in the future, placing unprecedented demands on scare radio resources. In fact, the Teal Group’s 2009 market study estimates that UAS spending will almost double over the next decade, from current worldwide UAS expenditures of $4.4 billion annually to $8.7 billion within a decade
Will YOU need to learn more about this exciting field?
Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is pleased to announce their one-day short course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. With the practical knowledge you will gain from this course, you can recognize the different classes and types of UAVs, how to optimize their specific applications, how to evaluate and compare UAS capabilities, interact meaningfully with colleagues and master the UAS terminology. Are UAVs coming to airspace near you? Do you want to learn more about UAS but: • Don’t have time for a full semester course? • Is the nearest campus all the way across town? • Can’t move to North Dakota for an undergrad degree in UAS? If one or more of situations apply to you or you are just in need of more UAS-related knowledge, then boost your career with the information needed to provide better, faster, and cheaper solutions for your customers. Why not take our UAS short course instead? This one-day course is designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date on the use, regulation and development of these complex systems. Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes If you sign up for this class, whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you will enhance your understanding of these complex systems in a short time. Here is the instructor, Mr. Mark N. Lewellen, with an introduction to his class on YouTube.

Still not convinced? Then please see our UAS Course Slide Sampler with actual course materials. After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Watch Quadrotor Drone UAV Playing Catch at the Flying Machine Arena research facility at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich

Have your played catch with your UAV today? IF you want to learn more about UAVs and see more videos, see my Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course at https://aticourses.com/unmanned_aircraft_systems.html
Have your played catch with your UAV today?

IF you want to learn more about UAVs and see more videos, see my Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course at https://aticourses.com/unmanned_aircraft_systems.html


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Persistent surveillance on a non-satellite budget is goal of U.S. military airship development

Tony White, Owner at Galaxy Blimps LLC and a member of my LinkedIn UAS group, is quoted extensively in this article. I used to work for an airship startup called SkyStation International and they do have their advantages (and disadvantages to be sure). They (and aerostats) also work well with UAS. Going back as far […]
Tony White, Owner at Galaxy Blimps LLC and a member of my LinkedIn UAS group, is quoted extensively in this article. I used to work for an airship startup called SkyStation International and they do have their advantages (and disadvantages to be sure). They (and aerostats) also work well with UAS. Going back as far as the American Civil War,lighter-than-air vehicles — airships, hot air balloons, and aerostats — have performed a variety of missions for the military. During World War I large military airships dropped bombs and performed surveillance. For a brief period of time in the 1930s the U.S. explored using them as “flying aircraft carriers,” says Ron Browning business development lead for persistent surveillance at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors in Akron, Ohio. Today, U.S. forces deploy these floating platforms as eyes in the sky in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world to perform persistent surveillance, which means missions that last days, weeks, and even months up in the air. “Persistent surveillance is around the clock — 24/7 — monitoring for an extended period of time, monitoring that is in stark contrast to that provided by aircraft, which have surveillance-time limitations dictated by fuel consumption/capacity,” says Maj. Robert Rugg, assistant product manager persistent surveillance devices for the U.S. Army Program Manager Robotic and Unmanned Systems office in Huntsville, Ala. There are two main types of lighter-than-air vehicles used or in development for military operations — airships and aerostats, Browning says. “An aerostat is tethered while an airship is free flying,” he explains. Two free-flying programs in development are the High Altitude Airship (HAA) being developed by Browning’s team at Lockheed Martin and the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), being designed by Northrop Grumman in Melbourne, Fla., for medium altitudes, Browning says. They are both airship platforms. Aerostats The most deployed vehicles at the moment are aerostats, which often are used with unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) or as a relatively inexpensive replacement to UASs to provide non-stop coverage of strategic areas. “Aerostats are capable of continuous coverage over (typically) a fixed area in a wide range of operational weather conditions,” Rugg says. “UASs have a reduced operational environment and cannot continuously remain in the air for an extended period of time. However, the extended mobility provided by a UAS allows for a better view of a particular point of interest. In this way, each system is able to capitalize on its inherent advantage, while propping up the limiting aspects of the other — optimally, a force is able to utilize both systems as complementary to each other. Aerostats and free-flying airships also are under consideration for border control instead of UASs, says Tony White, owner of Galaxy Blimps in Dallas — www.galaxyblimps.com. A UAS does not work as well on the border due to the coverage advantages that a host of aerostats airships would have, he continues. While not easy at first to steer aerostats are more rugged than one might think. “We also can launch into heavy winds, while UASs can’t,” White says. Even in 70 knot winds in Afghanistan, aerostats were able to hold their position in the mooring station, White says. Aerostats are not as vulnerable to enemy attack as one might assume, Browning says. “We’re flying at the upper limit to be vulnerable to small arms fire,” he adds. As Aerostats are low pressure systems so if a bullet hole or other hole pops up it “doesn’t go pop like a party balloon” Browning says. Instead the helium oozes out instead of gassing out, with degradation in lift altitude occurring over time instead of instantly, he explains. “It can fly when nothing else is flying,” Browning says. “Despite the innovative nature of the systems, aerostats, in fact, have the great advantage of payload integration and flight qualification timelines that are much shorter than that of other aircraft,” Rugg continues. “Moreover, aerostats are typically more flexible in terms of the payloads they are able to carry. Weight limitations are the paramount issue with aerostats; some aircraft have lots of available size, weight, and power (SWAP).” Persistent threat detection One aerostat program currently seeing action in Iraq and Afghanistan is the Army’s Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS), which has been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom respectively, Browning says. PTDS is run by Rugg’s team in Huntsville produced by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. PTDS is a tethered system, which flies like a kite with no propulsion, Browning says. The system, first deployed by the Army in 2004, is a 74,000-cubic-foot envelope full of helium and aerodynamically-shaped always pointed into the wind with fins and a tail system and is always buoyant, he adds. The maximum altitude is 5,000 feet above ground level, Browning says. “PTDS has the unique sustained operations capability that exceeds 20 continuous days,” Rugg notes. The system carries one or two electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor payloads as well as other communications payloads, Rugg says. The EO sensors are mostly commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), he adds. The EO/IR payload — the MX-20 Lite from L-3 Wescam in Toronto, Ontario — is attached on the underside of the aerostat, Browning says. The MX-20 is a turret system that uses high-definition technology, says Paul Jennison, vice president of business development for L-3 Wescam. Included in the system is digital infrared capability, a color daylight camera, mono camera for night, and lasers for range finding and illumination — that illuminates targets for ground for troops who have night vision goggles, he continues. The only real adjustment made for the aerostat application was adding a heat exchanger for thermal management in the static air, Jennison says. “Our system also has gone through the full spectrum of MIL-STD testing for humidity, salt, fog, and dust environments,” he adds. The PTDS communication links have extended range for deployed troops, Browning says. The sensor can provide full-motion vision to the warfighter on the ground. “Imagine the value of that to combat teams,” Browning adds. “Based on experience in theater, a second EO/IR sensor has been added. Furthermore, due to on site weather conditions, lightning detection equipment has been added, as well as the ability to broadcast video to mobile troops carrying OSRVT (One System Remote Video Terminal),” Rugg says. “Additionally, the mooring system has been modularized to allow transport to more remote forward operating bases.” In addition to the aerostat, tether, and sensor payload, PTDS also has a mobile mooring platform, mission payloads, ground-control station, maintenance and officer shelter, power generators, and site-handling equipment, Browning says. The ground-control station for an aerostat is typically on site, Rugg says. These ground-control stations are not that different from that of a UAS ground station, and “include such elements as operator consoles, workstations, tactical setup. The operating crew for a ground station is the same crew that launches and recovers the aerostat,” he adds. Most of the electronics in the ground-control station is COTS, Rugg says. “There are two workstations for command and control of EO/IR sensors, networking equipment, UPS, aerostat flight control and monitoring computer and display as well as an Unattended Transient Acoustic MASINT Sensor (UTAMS) computer. UTAMS is an acoustic fire-detection sensor capable of locating point of impact/origin of rockets, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).” High-altitude airships Lockheed Martin’s HAA — being developed for the Army — will act as a surveillance platform, telecommunications relay, or a weather observer, Browning says. Different electro-optic sensor payloads will be configured for different intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, he continues. Once it reaches its location it can survey a 600-mile diameter and millions of cubic miles of airspace. In April 2008, the HAA program transferred from the Missile Defense Agency to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, located at Huntsville, Ala. The command designing the HAA to align with the command’s mission “The big thing to understand is that no lighter than airship has ever flown more than a few hours at more than 60,000 feet,” let alone six months, Browning says. Conventional airships have demonstrated days of endurance in the past.  Current blimps for sporting events can fly for 12 plus hours, depending on conditions, he adds. The HAA will be about 500 feet long and 150 feet high, and be airborne for six months or more at a time, Browning says. It will be launched to an area of interest and park there, he continues. It will have a sensor communication link capability for deployed troops on field to get where they want to get to, Browning adds. “We are currently developing and demonstrating the high altitude airship concept,” Browning says. The demonstration program is called the High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator (HALE-D), he adds. HALE-D will fly this summer air at an altitude of 60,000 ft and operating for a couple weeks using small, modest payload consistent with the demonstration, Browning says. Free flying aircraft steer and navigate from one location to another so the all-electric HALE-D will need to operate at neutral buoyancy, Browning says. Goodyear blimps are always scary, taking off with heavy with fuel, which then burns, making the aircraft more light and buoyant. One way to avoid that problem at take off is by having all-electric system that uses solar energy panels and stores the energy in batteries or rechargeable fuel cells for night flying. Propulsion units will lift the HALE-D aloft and guide its takeoff and landing during, Browning says. The long-term operational goal — beyond the HALE-D is large with more than ton of payload onboard the HAA, Browning says. The large payload berth provides a lot of flexibility in payload design and capability, he continues. “It can really open the imagination of the sensor designer,” Browning adds. The sensor technology is already available on a lot of aircraft, Browning says. However as with some existing airborne and spaceborne platforms the biggest challenge is reliability. Once the system is launched it won’t be brought down for several months, so you need sensors that last in tough environments. The HALE-D sensors include a Thales MMAR modem, an L-3 Communications mini CDL, and an electro-optical system from ITT Geospatial Systems in Rochester, N.Y., Browning says. ITT provided a long focal-length panchromatic electro-optical (EO) camera with GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) and pointing capability for the HALE-D program, says David A. Parkes, senior business development manager at ITT Geospatial Systems. “An unmanned high-altitude platform does bring unique challenges in designing EO solutions,” Parkes says. “First, it’s very high flight altitudes bring very cold temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius and little air, which makes it challenging to both start up and maintaining proper electronics temperatures. It is more space-like than airborne. The ascent to these high altitudes also drives the need for all components to be able to outgas, so they are not damaged (e.g. optical lens). The second challenge is that current payload capacities for high altitude platforms are relatively small, which drives the need for very light weight and low power payloads.” “The objectives and funding of this EO system were primarily for functional demonstration on this exciting high-altitude platform,” Parkes continues. “This drove a highly COTS-based solution. Future high-altitude EO systems will require designs that provide higher performance and high reliability that will leverage space systems designs without space system costs.” Long-endurance airships Northrop Grumman’s LEMV program completed its critical design review (CDR) six months after signing the agreement with the U.S. Army. Under that agreement the company will build three airships with 21-day persistent ISR capability, according to a Northrop Grumman release. Northrop Grumman officials declined to be interviewed for this story. “The power of the LEMV system is that its persistent surveillance capability is built around Northrop Grumman’s open architecture design, which provides plug-and-play payload capability to the warfighter and room for mission growth,” says Alan Metzger, Northrop Grumman vice president and integrated program team leader of LEMV and airship programs in the company release. “The system rapidly accommodates next-generation sensors as emerging field requirements dictate and will provide increased operational utility to battlefield commanders. Today, our system readily integrates into the Army’s existing Universal Ground Control Station and Deployable Common Ground System command centers and ground troops in forward operating bases. “While LEMV is longer than a football field and taller than a seven-story building, it utilizes approximately 3,500 gallons of fuel for the air vehicle to remain aloft for a 21-day period of service, that’s approximately $11,000 at commercial prices. “We’ll have hull inflation in the spring and first flight of the airship test article by mid-to-late summer,” he says. Upon completion of the development ground and flight testing phase, we expect to transition to a government facility and conduct our final acceptance long endurance flight just before year’s end. In early 2012, LEMV will participate in an Army Joint Military Utility Assessment in an operational environment.” Northrop Grumman’s industry team includes Hybrid Air Vehicles, Ltd. of the England, Warwick Mills, ILC Dover, AAI Corp., SAIC in McLean, Va., and a team of organizations from 18 U.S. states and three countries. In addition to leading the program, Northrop Grumman leads the system integration, and flight and ground control operations for the unmanned vehicle. http://www.militaryaerospace.com/index/display/article-display/2737597448/articles/military-aerospace-electronics/exclusive-content/2011/3/persistent-surveillance.html


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

ADDRESSING UAS INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING

ATI offers Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course that is scheduled to be presented on the dates below. Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications Mar 1, 2011 Beltsville, MD Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications Jun 7, 2011 Dayton, OH Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications Jun 14, 2011 Beltsville, MD This article was published by By Tom Farrier(M03763), […]

ATI offers Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course that is scheduled to be presented on the dates below.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications Mar 1, 2011 Beltsville, MD
Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications Jun 7, 2011 Dayton, OH
Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications Jun 14, 2011 Beltsville, MD

This article was published by By Tom Farrier(M03763), Chairman, ISASI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Working Group in the International Society of Air Safety Investigators newsletter the ISASI Forum.

The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) regulatory landscape continues to evolve as the NTSB sets reporting criteria and the FAA ponders rulemaking.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently published a final rule establishing Treporting criteria for Unmanned

Aircraft System (UAS) related accidents.

This article offers an early look at the

course this influential independent safety

board is charting in its quest to promote

safety in the emerging UAS sector.

Although unmanned aircraft systems

(the operational combination of unmanned

aircraft and their ground control compo

nent) receive extensive and regular news

media coverage, operations in shared air-

space are still an immature and evolving

sector of aviation. This isn’t to say that

UAS are unsophisticated. On the con

trary, many high-end unmanned aircraft

are complex and highly capable, and the

vast majority of the UAS across the size

spectrum are extremely well suited to the

missions for which they’re built. However,

they also are of highly variable reliability

from system to system, and the lack of

an onboard pilot makes them uniquely

vulnerable to failures of the electronic

link through which they are controlled. So

for at least the next several years, they’re

unlikely to be operated at will in any air-

space where their lack of an equivalent

to a “see-and-avoid” capability might put

manned aircraft at risk.

Even given the above, the desired end

state for UAS operations often is referred to as “integration”: the expectation that UAS eventually will he capable of operating in a manner indistinguishable from other aircraft and will be allowed to do so on a file-and-fly basis, in all classes of airspace, and at the users’ discretion. Both regulatory and investigative entities in a number of countries are beginning to work toward this outcome. But just as different types of UAS are in different stages of readiness to make such a leap, there are many paths being taken toward it.

Differences between manned and unmanned aircraft

For readers new to UAS issues, it’s important to highlight two of the most critical differences between manned and unmanned aircraft. First, by definition, the pilot of an unmanned aircraft is physically separated from that aircraft. So there has to be an electronic connection between the two.

The “control link,” also referred to as the “uplink” in some systems, is the path through which the UAS pilot directs the unmanned aircraft’s trajectory: Currently, for all but the most sophisticated systems, the control link offers a unique source of single-point failure potential. Even for the high-end systems, safe recovery following loss of control link may require hundreds or even thousands of miles of autonomous flight for a satellite-controlled unmanned aircraft operating beyond line of sight (BLOS) to be in a position to be recaptured through an alternate line-of-sight (LOS) ground control station.

A second electronic link, which may or may not be paired with the control
link, typically is necessary to support all BLOS operations, and often is provided for purely LOS-capable UAS as well. This second link is a downlink from the aircraft to the ground that provides the principal source of the UAS pilots’ awareness of the performance and the state of their unmanned aircraft. There are no standards regarding the information contained in UAS downlinks.

They may include Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) positional data, heading, airspeed and altitude, engine health,
payload temperature, or a host of other parameters deemed necessary to safe operations. This link provides confirmation to the pilot that control commands have been properly executed by the unmanned aircraft. It’s also important to note that, for BLOS operations, air traffic control communications normally are routed through the aircraft, meaning the loss of either the uplink or downlink may result in an aircraft that unexpectedly reverts to autonomous operation while simultaneously severing all or part of the connection between pilot and controller.

The second major difference between manned and unmanned aircraft associated with the pilot’s remote location is the need to provide an alternate means of compliance with the internationally accepted concept of “see and avoid” as a means of maintaining safe separation between aircraft. Annex 2 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation states, in part,“Regardless of the type of flight plan, the pilots are responsible for avoiding collisions when in visual flight conditions, in accordance with the principle of see and avoid. “

This is mirrored in the U.S. Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Paragraph91.113 (b): “When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an opera-tion is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircr°a ft. “

While the link-related issues described above relate to practical challenges arising from UAS operations, conformity with see-and-avoid obligations represents a fundamental regulatory challenge that has yet to be satisfactorily resolved. Many civil aviation authorities have ad-dressed it by restricting UAS operations to segregated airspace of various types to keep unmanned and manned aircraft from operating alongside each other. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken the approach of authorizing most UAS operations on a case-by-case basis, requiring those wishing to fly unmanned aircraft to provide acceptable alternate means of compliance with the see-and-avoid requirement. This typically takes the form of ground-based or aerial observers charged with the duty of clearing the unmanned aircraft’s flight path, providing appropriate direction to the
pilot-in-command as necessary.

A variety of proposed alternatives to see-and-avoid requirements have been offered by eager UAS operators, including using surveillance payloads to look around for traffic, among others. But the only viable long-term hardware solution on the horizon most likely will be some kind of as yet undefined “sense and avoid” (S&A) system capable of detecting, warning of, and maneuvering the unmanned aircraft to avoid all types of conflicting aircraft, including those that do not emit any kind of electronic signal.

At this point, a reality check seems to be in order. A dedicated S&A capability probably will be expensive, from both a monetary and a payload/performance per-spective. This suggests that the smallest of the “small” UAS (a term yet to be consistently defined) is unlikely to incorporate S&A on the basis of the economic penalties it would drive. That, in turn, makes it reasonable to assume that most UAS operators will request relief from existing see-and-avoid regulations (and others applicable to manned aircraft with which they also find it difficult to comply).

What’s more, UAS at the small end of the size and weight spectrum are the most capable of supporting simple, LOS-orient-ed business models affordably. So readers should calibrate their expectations accordingly. In the near-to-mid term, most of the “unmanned aircraft” in the skies are far less likely to look like their supersized, highly capable BLOS military cousins and far more likely to look like model aircraft (perhaps indistinguishably so).

The new NTSB UAS reporting rule

Now let’s look at the new NTSB rule on UAS accident reporting. Actually, describing the recently issued change that way is a little misleading. What the NTSB did was add a new definition for an “unmanned aircraft accident” to the existing defini-

tion of “aircraft accident” as follows: “For purposes of this part [49 CFR 830.2], the definition of ‘aircraft accident’ includes `unmanned aircraft accident, ‘ as defined herein Unmanned aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of any public or civil unmanned aircraft system that takes place between the time that the system is activated with the purpose of flight and the time that the system is deactivated at the conclusion Of its mission, in which.

(1) Any person. suffers death. or serious injury or

(2) The aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 pounds or greater and sustains substantial damage. “

The most notable aspects of this rule are

• It represents official acknowledgement that unmanned aircraft are in fact “aircraft,” and as such are subject to the same reporting requirements as every other aircraft involved in an accident.

• It puts UAS on a level playing field with all other aircraft regarding operators’ responsibility to the public for safe operation.

• It establishes an official structure for mandatory accident reporting for all U.S. “public-use” operators of UAS, as well as civil UAS (for now a tiny percentage of domestic UAS operations).

• It establishes a “floor” threshold, based on unmanned aircraft weight, for accident reporting.

• It creates “intent for flight” boundaries for reporting purposes that are ideally suited for UAS operations (and don’t need anybody boarding the aircraft to trigger them).

By placing manned and unmanned air craft on an equal footing for Title 49 purposes, it makes it clear that U.S.  military unmanned aircraft involved in any of the types of accidents that result in NTSB jurisdiction will be subject to the same investigative authority as manned aircraft.

Why are these so important? For starters, there’s a healthy chunk of the population, both inside and outside the government, that would like nothing better than to try to treat unmanned aircraft as something less than “real” aircraft, thus not needing to conform to the regulations under which “real” aircraft operate. All kinds of requirements flow from the obligation to follow general flight rules, not to mention pilot and aircraft certification and qualification requirements.

The third bullet above-the establishment of mandatory reporting rules for “public” aircraft-is extremely important in the U.S., where there are a growing number of non-military unmanned aircraft plying the skies every day. The definition of public aircraft is fairly intricate on the printed page but reasonably straightforward in the context of present-day UAS activities. The NTSB’s specific reference to them allows a rather large umbrella to be opened over quite a few current UAS activities and also has the additional virtue of not being tied to the presence of passengers to be applicable to them.

The fourth observation above refers to the new 300-pound minimum established for reportability of unmanned aircraft accidents. This particular line in the sand, when paired with the continued applicability of the “death and serious injury” requirement, is useful for the following reasons:

(a) It ensures that the time and resources of both the Board and UAS operators won’t be wasted on hull loss accidents involving the rapidly proliferating population of small-sized unmanned aircraft.

(b) It positions the Board to keep an eye on the small but growing number of UAS platforms intended to fly for days, weeks, and even months at a time.

(c) It represents tacit acknowledgement that, while velocity is the most important variable in how hard an impact might be, something weighing 300 pounds has the potential to do some pretty impressive damage no matter how fast it’s going.

(d) The weight threshold itself is in the general range of the 150-kilogram benchmark being looked at as a starting point for UAS regulation and reportability in other countries.

The fifth bullet above refers to a regulatory gap that was plugged quite elegantly by the new language. On April 25, 2006, an RQ-1B Predator operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine crashed near Nogales, Ariz. Although the aircraft was destroyed, there was no collateral damage or injury suffered on the ground. The NTSB dispatched a team to the site and took charge of the investigation; however, it was later pointed out that, since no one had boarded the aircraft prior to the crash, their legal basis for doing so was a bit of a stretch. Actually, this turned out to be an ideal scenario for issues like that to be surfaced; no one was hurt, there was no collateral damage, and the NTSB had an opportunity to start digging into the kinds of UAS-specific issues that are likely to appear in future unmanned aircraft accident sequences.

Finally, it’s important to have jurisdictional issues decided well in advance of a major accident, when emotions run high and there may be a desire to drive an investigation in one direction or another based on politics rather than settled policy. The United States Code sets very specific criteria for when a military accident becomes subject to civil investigation:  “The National Transportation Safety Board shall investigate

(A) each accident involving civil aircraft; and (B) with the participation of appropriate military authorities, each accident involving both, military and civil aircraft (419 U.S.C. 1132). “ With a definition on the books explicitly designating unmanned aircraft as “aircraft,” this authority will be much more straightforward to apply (should the unfortunate need to do so arises).

Implications of the rule

So, what are the likely real-world changes in investigations that we’ll see based on the new rule?

1. The reporting threshold should result in newcomers to aviation manufacturing being less frequently brought into the formal investigative process than established members of the aerospace industry are. That should translate into smoother, less adversarial investigations; more often than not, the parties will understand their role and obligations.

2. The reporting threshold will tend to drive investigative resources toward accidents involving higher-value unmanned aircraft. Higher fiscal consequences naturally drive investigators and participants alike toward cooperation in determining causes and corrective actions.

3. For the near term, it’s likely that only a handful of non-military public-use UAS accidents will meet the new reportability and investigation requirements, perhaps involving assets of the Department of Homeland Security, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or one or two other agencies. That should result in a measured, deliberate expansion of
investigator understanding of the similarities and differences between manned and unmanned aircraft accidents, and should help the NTSB identify new skill sets and capabilities it will need to develop ahead of the inevitable wider deployment of civil UAS platforms.

For the most part, the NTSB steers clear of “incident” reporting and investigation, except where it sees a compelling need to gather data about certain types of events. So, for now at least, the NTSB most likely will concentrate on growling its ability to effectively investigate UAS-related accidents.

However; at some point, it is equally likely that it will start identifying specific issues showing up in UAS accidents that will bear closer scrutiny, in a manner similar to the current information-gathering effort on Traffic Collision Alerting System (TCAS) incidents. It’s also important to realize that, should a collision between a manned aircraft and a UAS smaller
than the 300-pound threshold occur, the same fundamental issues will need to be explored (see sidebar).

Challenges

Now that the NTSB has taken the first steps on the road toward normalizing the investigation of UAS accidents, what needs to happen next? The following issues come immediately to mind.

First and foremost, the NTSB (and for that matter, other national investigative authorities as well) should aggressively develop the same kind of relationships with the UAS operations and manufacturing communities that they have fostered over time with manned aircraft operators and prime and major component contractors.

In this, they may have a less-than-straightforward path to follow, since the most prominent trade association for the UAS sector; the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, is principally oriented toward marketing. Industry associations such as the Aerospace Industries Association or the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, however, count among their many roles facilitation of interactions between the regulators and the regulated.

Second, now that UAS accident reporting criteria are formally a matter of federal regulation, it will be important to ensure that there is broad understanding as to when a reportable accident has occurred, and to whom the report must be submitted. This ties in with a parallel need, which both the NTSB and the FAA will need to proactively pursue to nurture and enforce a reporting culture among UAS operators that (hopefully) will come to rise above the traditional civil/military stovepipes.

Finally, there may be certain challenges associated with locating the operator, pilot, and manufacturer of a given unmanned aircraft involved in a reportable accident.

For instance, it’s not implausible to envision a scenario involving a disabling collision between a manned aircraft and a smaller unmanned aircraft (on either side
of the 300-pound threshold) in which the
involvement of the latter is not recognized until an on-scene investigation is well under way.

As a practical matter, a fair amount of forensic work may be necessary just to establish the type of powerplant in use by the unmanned aircraft-probably the most likely component to survive significant impact forces-and then use that to try to track down the manufacturer and, eventually, the operator and pilot. In fairness to operators, depending on the nature of both the operation and the accident, they may know they’ve lost an aircraft, but it may not be immediately obvious that a lost link during BLOS lfight resulted in an accident many miles
from the point where contact was lost with the unmanned aircraft.


UAS Accident Investigation Considerations (2011 Edition)

For the foreseeable future, there are likely to be only a handful of NTSB investigators-in-charge with actual experience conducting a UAS accident investigation, and even fewer with
expertise specific to technical aspects of unmanned aircraft operational and materiel failures. So the following is offered to support conversations between investigators and UAS pilots and manufacturers toward the goal of increasing our collective body of knowledge on UAS issues and hazards.

The NTSB parses investigation working groups and specialties into eight categories

Operations

Structures

Power plants

Systems

Air traffic control

Weather

Human performance

Survival factors

Every one of the above may be germane to any accident investigation in which an unmanned aircraft system is either the focus of the investigation or suspected of involvement in the accident sequence. However, the knowledge and skill sets necessary to properly evaluate many aspects of UAS accidents against this investigative model need to be nurtured. Also, some “expanding-the-box” (as opposed to “out-of-the-box”) thinking should be applied in doing so.

For instance, consider the “survival factors” portion of a UAS-involved accident investigation. (Assume the microchip didn’t make it through the crash, shed a tear, and move on.) At first glance, a single-ship unmanned aircraft accident most likely wouldn’t occasion much of a require ment for survival factors investigation. However, using exotic fuels and materials, unique propulsion and electrical generation systems, and other innovative technologies has definite implications when it comes to both community emergency planning and on-scene first responder protection. Further, in the case of every midair collision between a manned and an unmanned aircraft, it will be important to assess the extent to which the unmanned aircraft was able to disrupt the survivable volume of the occupied aircraft, whether through the windscreen or the fuselage.

In every UAS-involved investigation, it is easy to envision the need for a few new tasks for some of the established working groups.

1. Operations: Establish the authority under which the unmanned aircraft system is being operated (Part 91, certificate of waiver or authorization, special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category, etc.).

2. Operations/Air Traffic/Human Performance Groups: Determine the interactions taking place at the time of the accident. Was the pilot (and observer, if required) able to perceive relevant system state information (aircraft state, ATC direction, other aircraft potentially affected)?

3. Systems: Study the system logic; consider how primary versus consequent failures might present themselves during the accident sequence (e.g., was lost link a root cause of the accident or was link lost because of other failures?).

Beyond needing to simply apply new thinking to the existing investigative disciplines listed above, serious new knowledge will need to be built in the realm of UAS-unique systems. UAS avionics are designed to meet specificneeds, but for now at least there aren’t any applicable technical specification orders (TSO) out there to help guide their development. That means there are a host of as yet unexplored questions regarding the stability of data streams between pilot and aircraft, their vulnerability to accidental (or intentional) disruption, and even the extent to which multiple unmanned aircraft can be safely operated in close proximity to each other without encountering unexpected problems.

One final point-Assessment of the radio frequency spectrum for its possible involvement in an accident sequence has rarely been required in the early days of fly-by-wire aircraft. However, putting UAS into the aviationenvironment may renew the need to do so on a regular basis and might require a new or expanded relationship between NTSB investigators and Federal Communications Commission engineers as well. The bottom line is that when it comes to UAS,to quote a time-honored aphorism, “We don’t know what we don’t know”

Summing up

With its first steps into the burgeoning ifeld of unmanned aircraft systems, the NTSB has made a commendable and necessary contribution toward normalizing some previously unresolved issues regarding how UAS accidents in the U.S. National Airspace System are to be addressed. The regulatory landscape continues to evolve, and it is welcome indeed
to see the NTSB ensuring it is actively engaged in shaping it.


FAA approves flight of unmanned aircraft in El Dorado

The FAA has granted two Certificates of Authorization (COA) to the City of El Dorado  to fly Unmanned Aircraft at El Dorado Municipal Captain Jack Thomas Memorial Airport for the next 12 months. The COAs are renewable and is granted by the FAA to public entities desiring Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations and allows the […]
The FAA has granted two Certificates of Authorization (COA) to the City of El Dorado  to fly Unmanned Aircraft at El Dorado Municipal Captain Jack Thomas Memorial Airport for the next 12 months. The COAs are renewable and is granted by the FAA to public entities desiring Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations and allows the entity to use defined airspace for specified times and includes special provisions unique to each operation. The City of El Dorado applied for the COAs earlier this year after signing an agreement with Flint Hills Solutions (FHS), a Butler County high technology UAS solutions provider. The agreement between the City of El Dorado and FHS includes the delegation to FHS by El Dorado to be the COA technical application administer as well as the UAS designated operator for the City at El Dorado Airport. Both the City of El Dorado and Flint Hills Solutions have agreed to work together to jointly promote the Airport as “UAS Friendly” to all public entities including emergency responders, law enforcement, fire departments, as well as state and federal organizations, requiring airspace, facilities and technical support to train and operate unmanned aircraft in support of their Public Safety mission objectives. The city and FHS have plans to construct a new operations and training center at El Dorado airport this year. “El Dorado airport will be a superior place for UAS operations  that allows for training and operations outside of Class B, C or D airspace,” said Roger Powers, president and CEO of Flint Hills Solutions. “Other airports we have evaluated are either too remote or too congested for safe operations of UASs. We are so fortunate to be able to grow with El Dorado.” FHS is an advanced technology company offering a broad and complete set of UAS products and services including rapid prototyping, payload and systems integration, flight operations services for emergency response and aerial inspections, FAA National Airspace System (NAS) development, training, as well as turnkey Unmanned Aerial System solutions. FHS customers include major Commercial and Defense Companies, Law Enforcement, Fire and HAZMAT Organizations, Homeland Security, Emergency Management Organizations, Department of Defense and the National Guard. “We are very excited to be a part of this exceptional opportunity for our city,” said Herb Llewellyn, city manager. “These COAs are just the official start of what will be a long and productive partnership with Flint Hills Solutions to grow high technology jobs in our wonderful city.”

AeroVironment Receives $46.2 Million Order for Raven UAS and Digital Retrofit Kits

MONROVIA, Calif., December 28, 2010 — AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV) announced today that it received an order valued at $46,226,984 under an existing contract with the U.S. Army. The order comprises 123 new digital Raven® small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and initial spares packages as well as 186 digital retrofit kits for the U.S. Marine […]
MONROVIA, Calif., December 28, 2010 — AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV) announced today that it received an order valued at $46,226,984 under an existing contract with the U.S. Army. The order comprises 123 new digital Raven® small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and initial spares packages as well as 186 digital retrofit kits for the U.S. Marine Corps. The order also includes 339 digital retrofit kits for the U.S. Army. The Raven system and retrofit order represents the remainder of the funds appropriated for RQ-11B Raven system procurement in the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December 2009. The orders were released under the existing U.S. Army joint small UAS program of record for AV’s Raven. This program has included contract additions from the Army, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command. The items and services provided under these awards on this multi-year contract are fully funded. Work is scheduled to be performed within a period of 12 months. “Raven systems have proven their value and reliability to military services across the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Tom Herring, AV senior vice president and general manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems. “These backpackable, hand-launched unmanned systems provide situational awareness directly to our warfighters, increasing mission effectiveness and safety. We remain focused on supporting our customers with reliable solutions and developing ever more capable solutions.” The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. U.S. armed forces use Raven systems extensively for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection. Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, two ground control stations and spares. In addition to the Raven system, AV’s small UAS include Puma™ and Wasp™, which are also hand-launched and controlled by AV’s hand-held ground control station. Each aircraft in AV’s family of small UAS is interoperable and tailored to address a variety of operational user needs. AV’s UAS logistics operation supports systems deployed worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness. AV has delivered thousands of small unmanned aircraft to date. International purchasers of Raven systems include Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Norway.
The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units.
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/AeroVironment_Receives_Order_For_Raven_UAS_And_Digital_Retrofit_Kits_999.html

Montana drone aircraft program kicks off

Whitefish resident and state senator Ryan Zinke thinks Montana is the right place to begin using “drone” unmanned aircraft technology for non-military purposes. Following a year of coordination and organizing, several selected academic and research institutions within Montana have signed a collaborative agreement with Mississippi State University to jointly create an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) […]

Whitefish resident and state senator Ryan Zinke thinks Montana is the right place to begin using “drone” unmanned aircraft technology for non-military purposes. Following a year of coordination and organizing, several selected academic and research institutions within Montana have signed a collaborative agreement with Mississippi State University to jointly create an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence. Representatives from Montana State University-Bozeman, Montana State University-Northern and Rocky Mountain College-Billings signed the agreement at a kick-off ceremony in Bozeman on Dec. 1. Representatives from the UAS industry, Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Office of Economic Development, Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, and Rep. Denny Rehberg were also in attendance. UAS, also known as drone aircraft, have gained attention in recent years for their military use overseas and have emerged as a growing multi-billion dollar industry. “UAS will transition from today’s military-centric role to important civilian applications, such as research, farming and forest management,” said Zinke, a co-director of the project. “UAS are ideal tools for conducting a vast array activities that are currently done by more expensive methods, such as satellite imagery or manned aircraft.” Examples include using spectrum analysis equipment to look at light reflecting off plants — agricultural crops or forests — to detect insect impacts or the need for watering or fertilizer. Farmers could save money by focusing efforts on smaller crop areas, Zinke said. The same technology could be used to analyze snow depth, which would help electric companies more accurately assess future hydropower output and improve flooding forecasts. Drone aircraft could provide better information than satellites during cloudy days and beneath smoke from wildfires, helping fire crews pin down hot spots. Drone aircraft could also provide cell-phone coverage in mountainous or remote locations where cell phones don’t work, Zinke said. Montana has a unique opportunity to leverage its enormous airspace and become a hub of research, testing and development in an emerging industry, Zinke said. “We’re at the forefront of change in aviation technology with enormous potential to create the kinds of jobs we need in Montana,” he said. Flying drones outside of military-restricted airspace is a challenge and is tightly controlled by the FAA. “We want to be part of the discussion on how to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System without impacting general aviation,” Zinke said. “Montana contains the largest military operations airspace in the Lower 48 and is unique in having such diversity in climate, terrain and vegetation. Montana’s airspace is the perfect environment to research how to safely integrate UAS with commercial and private air traffic.” Two sites near Lewistown could be used to base the project, Zinke said. The first test flight could occur near Lewistown by late summer next year. Initial testing could involve crop analysis or tracking cattle. Montana State University-Northern has a satellite campus next to the Lewistown city airport, and the Western Transportation Institute has a facility and test track nearby. The city airport sees little activity now, Zinke noted, adding that it was used to base B-17 bombers during World War II. The collaboration with Mississippi State University combines the assets of world-class programs in maritime and Gulf Coast research with MSU-Northern’s biofuel program, Rocky Mountain College’s accredited aviation program, and MSU-Bozeman’s acclaimed Engineering Department. Together, the members of the project represent more than $400 million in research capability. “This project combines the unique talents and capabilities of different academic and research institutions to form an unequaled UAS Center of Excellence partnership,” said MSU-Northern’s Dean of Technology, Greg Kegel, whose college will be in charge of administration and testing.  The goal of the project over the next few months will be to add industry and other institutions to the partnership and launch the first drone aircraft in summer 2011. The security will be provided though using SixTech.  Great Falls, Havre, Lewistown and Glasgow also are being considered as launching locations for the drones. “I think we all are excited about the future of UAS in Montana and look forward to putting our resources and talents to work,” Zinke said.

ATI Features World Class Instructors for Our Short Courses

Washington, DC Tuesday, November 30, 2010 “Even I Could Learn a Thing or Two from ATI” Video Clip: Click to Watch Since 1984 ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training The short technical courses from the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) are designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date. Our courses provide […]
Washington, DC
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
“Even I Could Learn a Thing or Two from ATI”
“Even I Could Learn a Thing or Two from ATI”
Video Clip: Click to Watch
Since 1984 ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training
The short technical courses from the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) are designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date. Our courses provide a practical overview of space and defense technologies which provide a strong foundation for understanding the issues that must be confronted in the use, regulation and development such complex systems. The classes are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and defense systems. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. ABOUT ATI AND THE INSTRUCTORS Our mission here at the ATI is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses. ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology. For example: Robert Fry worked from 1979 to 2007 at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he was a member of the Principal Professional Staff. He is now working at System Engineering Group (SEG) where he is Corporate Senior Staff and also serves as the company-wide technical advisor. Throughout his career he has been involved in the development of new combat weapon system concepts, development of system requirements, and balancing allocations within the fire control loop between sensing and weapon kinematic capabilities. He has worked on many aspects of the AEGIS combat system including AAW, BMD, AN/SPY-1, and multi-mission requirements development. Missile system development experience includes SM-2, SM-3, SM-6, Patriot, THAAD, HARPOON, AMRAAM, TOMAHAWK, and other missile systems. Robert teaches ATI’s Combat Systems Engineering course Wayne Tustin has been president of Equipment Reliability Institute (ERI), a specialized engineering school and consultancy he founded in Santa Barbara, CA, since 1995. His BSEE degree is from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of California. Wayne’s first encounter with vibration was at Boeing/Seattle, performing what later came to be called modal tests, on the XB-52 prototype of that highly reliable platform. Subsequently he headed field service and technical training for a manufacturer of electrodynamic shakers, before establishing another specialized school on which he left his name. Based on over 50 years of professional experience, Wayne has written several books and literally hundreds of articles dealing with practical aspects of vibration and shock measurement and testing. Wayne teaches ATI’s Fundamentals of Random Vibration & Shock Testing course. Thomas S. Logsdon, M.S For more than 30 years, Thomas S. Logsdon, M. S., has worked on the Navstar GPS and other related technologies at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed Martin, Boeing Aerospace, and Rockwell International. His research projects and consulting assignments have included the Transit Navigation Satellites, The Tartar and Talos shipboard missiles, and the Navstar GPS. In addition, he has helped put astronauts on the moon and guide their colleagues on rendezvous missions headed toward the Skylab capsule. Some of his more challenging assignments have centered around constellation coverage studies, GPS performance enhancement, military applications, spacecraft survivability, differential navigation, booster rocket guidance using the GPS signals and shipboard attitude determination. Tom Logsdon has taught short courses and lectured in thirty one different countries. He has written and published forty technical papers and journal articles, a dozen of which have dealt with military and civilian radionavigation techniques. He is also the author of twenty nine technical books on various engineering and scientific subjects. These include Understanding the Navstar, Orbital Mechanics: Theory and Applications, Mobile Communication Satellites, and The Navstar Global Positioning System. Courses Mr. Logsdon teaches through ATI include: Understanding Space Fundamentals of Orbital & Launch Mechanics GPS Technology – Solutions for Earth & Space and Strapdown Inertial Navigation Systems COURSE OUTLINE, SAMPLERS, AND NOTES Determine for yourself the value of our courses before you sign up. See our samples (See Slide Samples) on some of our courses. Or check out the new ATI channel on YouTube. After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information. DATES, TIMES AND LOCATIONS For the dates and locations of all of our short courses, please access the links below. Sincerely, The ATI Courses Team P.S. Call today for registration at 410-956-8805 or 888-501-2100 or access our website at www.ATIcourses.com. For general questions please email us at ATI@ATIcourses.com.
Mark N. Lewellen
Consultant/Instructor
Washington, DC
240-882-1234

Why Not Give Yourself the Gift of a Short Course this Holiday Season?

Washington, DC Monday, November 29, 2010 Is One of These Yours? Video Clip: Click to Watch When Did You Last do Something for Your Career? Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. Our courses provide a practical overview of space […]
Washington, DC
Monday, November 29, 2010
Is One of These Yours?
Is One of These Yours?
Video Clip: Click to Watch
When Did You Last do Something for Your Career?
Since 1984, the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. Our courses provide a practical overview of space and defense technologies which provide a strong foundation for understanding the issues that must be confronted in the use, regulation and development such complex systems. ATI short courses are designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date. Our short courses are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and defense systems. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. You will become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues. Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes Determine for yourself the value of our courses before you sign up. See our samples (See Slide Samples) on some of our courses. Or check out the new ATI channel on YouTube. After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information. About ATI and the Instructors Our mission here at the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses. ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology. Dates, Times and Locations For the dates and locations of all of our short courses, please access the links below. Sincerely, The ATI Courses Team P.S Call today for registration at 410-956-8805 or 888-501-2100 or access our website at www.ATIcourses.com. For general questions please email us at ATI@ATIcourses.com.
Mark N. Lewellen
Consultant/Instructor
Washington, DC
240-882-1234

Enabling the sharing of airspace by manned and unmanned aircraft

The Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation’s (ARCAA) Smart Skies project, focusing on the development of technology to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to effectively share airspace, is approaching its final milestone. The project, also involving Boeing Research and Technology-Australia, Insitu Pacific and the Queensland Government, is exploring development of three key enabling aviation technologies: […]
The Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation’s (ARCAA) Smart Skies project, focusing on the development of technology to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to effectively share airspace, is approaching its final milestone. The project, also involving Boeing Research and Technology-Australia, Insitu Pacific and the Queensland Government, is exploring development of three key enabling aviation technologies: an Automated Separation Management System capable of providing separation assurance in complex airspace environments; Sense and Act systems for manned and unmanned aircraft capable of collision avoidance of dynamic and static obstacles; and a Mobile Aircraft Tracking System (MATS) utilising a cost-effective radar and dependent surveillance systems. The latest flight trials included all of the project elements, including a fixed-wing UAV and a modified Cessna flying in automatic mode, flying collision scenarios with simulated aircraft. The final flight trial will take place in December this year, before project wrap-up and final reports in 2011, and, ultimately, the attempt to commercialise the Smart Skies intellectual property. ARCAA acting director Dr Jonathon Roberts said a new research project was also on the cards. The collision-avoidance research is one of two key areas in which the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requires proof that technology in unmanned aircraft can operate in a way equivalent to human pilots. “In the future research we’re trying to hit the next problem: Smart Skies is all about collision avoidance and managing the avoidance of collisions; the next thing that CASA will require will be automatic landing systems,” Dr Roberts said. “So that if you have an engine failure or other catastrophic failure and you have to come down, you’ve got to be able to put it down in a safe place, so these will be vision systems that actually look at the ground and figure out where to land. “That’s the next thing that has to be done before UAVs can fly over populous areas.” The Smart Skies program was recently recognised at the Queensland Engineering Excellence Awards, where it won the ‘Control systems, networks, information processing and telecommunications’ category.

Army Receives FAA Approval to Fly Unmanned Aircraft in National Airspace

Is this phased approach (land, then move away) a viable first step for the safe integration of UAVs into non-segregated airspace?
Is this phased approach (land, then move away) a viable first step for the safe integration of UAVs into non-segregated airspace?