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Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) News

Raytheon: Pyros missile aims to bring new accuracy to unmanned mini-aircraft

With a focus on the emerging market to arm tactical UAS such as the RQ-7 Shadow, Raytheon unveiled "Pyros" as the company demonstrates its small tactical munition -- in development since 2009 -- at Yuma Proving Grounds.  The company notes that "the end-to-end test validated the weapons guidance systems (semi-active laser and global positioning system), its height-of-burst sensor, electronic safe and arm device, and multi-effects warhead."  While Pyros is a gravity bomb (unpowered), it glides upon release from the UAS and is capable of a range of up to 9 kilometer depending on release altitude.  At 22 inches long, 3.6 inches in diameter, and 13.5 pounds, Pyros is the smallest air-launched weapon in the Raytheon portfolio and is considerably smaller than Army officials have determined that the Shadow is capable of carrying.  Raytheon notes that while Pyros was explicitly designed for small UAS (it was demo'ed on Raytheon's Cobra UAS) it could also be deployed in significant numbers, on bomb-racks, on larger UAS such as the Predator.


SNC and ITT Exelis tout Vigilant Stare Persistent Surveillance Offering at AUVSI 2012

DHC 6 Twin Otter operated by SNC was used for Vigilant Stare testing

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and ITT Exelis announced in the context of this week’s Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference that they are nearing completion and flight testing of Vigilant Stare, a manned aircraft-based Wide-Area Persistent Surveillance (WAPS) concept demonstrator.  Building on SNC’s heritage on the USAF Gorgon Stare program and leveraging ITT Exelis’ payload and integration expertise, Dave Bullock, vice president for SNC’s ISR Persistent Surveillance Systems notes that the objective of the new offering is to extend Contractor Owned/Contractor Operated (CO/CO) persistent surveillance services to many and varied “previously underserviced” civil and commercial markets.  More here....


Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) Completes First Flight

The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps' Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS) RQ-21A is front-and-center of Boeing/Insitu's booth here at AUVSI.  Last week the company announced that the first one-hour test flight of the UAS commenced on July 28 at an Insitu facility in eastern Oregon.  The first flight of the system occurred with nearly six months remaining in a tight, 27-month Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) acquisition phase of the STUAS program.  The U.S. Navy is slated to consider purchasing a low-rate initial production (LRIP) version of RQ-21A when the EMD phase ends. 

Marines extend K-Max cargo UAS demonstration for Lockheed Martin and Kaman team 

Although the decision to extend the Marine Corps' Cargo UAS demonstration into 2013was announced a week ago, Lockheed Martin and Kaman touted today at AUVSI the successes that the K-Max unmanned helicopter has experienced in Afghanistan.  John McMillan, a Lockheed Martin business development director for unmanned systems noted that the two K-Max helicopters in Afghanistan have moved over 800 tons of cargo in nearly 500 missions to date, taking convoys off Afghanistan's IED-infested roads.  The K-Max has performed well, with a very low maintenance requirement (1.3 hours of maintenance per flight hour) and has expanded its mission profile to include not only logistics deliveries, but also retrograde.  DSJ is told that while MEDEVACs are not in the offings, CASEVACs may be (an interesting discussion of the differences is here).  McMillian noted that, in addition to the Marine Corps demo, the company is working with the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Director (AATD) to demonstate advanced capabilities including autonomous beacon system landings, and the team is positioning itself for an Army VTOL requirement if and when it emerges. 

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