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A United sensitivity campaign

The UN appears to be maintaining an air of sensitivity in its acquisition of unmanned technology; wise in light of the botched media image that derived from the CIA’s unmanned air vehicle operations in Pakistan and Yemen. When organisations such as the CIA and the UN – not directly affiliated with military intervention – consider […]

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Taranis and the epic UK spotting fail

We’ve waited a long time for details of the UK’s Taranis flight test campaign to emerge, but BAE Systems (company-sourced image below) and the Ministry of Defence have finally broken their silence about the programme. It turns out that the first Taranis flight took place on 10 August 2013, at an undisclosed test location (although […]

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Why the JROC neutered the Navy’s UCLASS program

This outstanding story by my buddy Sam LaGrone at the United States Naval institute is a must read. A few weeks ago, I reported that the requirements for the US Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft are not matching up with what the service’s leaders had originally envisioned when the program was […]

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Military UAV flights in the UK – the numbers

The DEW Line and Flightglobal bring you a lot of coverage about what are variously referred to as UAVs, UASs, RPAs, RPASs, or even – and I’m including this word just for the opponents – “drones”. A goldmine of information, the UK parliament’s Hansard information service has provided details on the number of military UAV […]

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X-47B fails fourth trap attempt

The US Navy confirms that a Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstrator (UCAS-D) aircraft made a fourth unsuccessful attempt to make an arrested landing on the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush on 15 July, 2013. “Aircraft ‘Salty Dog 501′ was launched to the ship on July 15 to collect additional shipboard landing […]

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X-47B makes first carrier trap

The US Navy made aviation history on 10 July when a NorthropGrumman X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstrator aircraft made a first-everarrested landing onboard the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush, which wassailing some 70 miles (113km) of the Virginia coast. The X-47B flew in from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, atabout mid-mid. Initially, the aircraft, […]

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Is this the lightweight fighter of the future?

In the latest issue of the US Air Force’s Air and Space Power Journal, Col Michael Pietrucha, a veteran Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle pilot, argues for a new generation of lightweight fighters.  But there is a catch, unlike the conventional conception of what most would visualize as a fighter, Pietrucha argues for a small unmanned […]

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DSCA notifies Congress of possible Reaper sale to France

The Pentagon notified the US Congress on 27 June of a possible foreign military sale to France of 16 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft and associate accoutrements for an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. “France requests these capabilities to provide for the defense of its deployed troops, regional security, and interoperability with […]

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Chinese aerospace renaissance underway?

During the first half of 2013 a couple of new Chinesemilitary aviation projects have come to light. One recent development was thesighting of China’s Sharp Sword unmanned combat air vehicle, which was revealedin May. More recently, images have emerged of a structural model of whatappears to be a new Chinese stealth bomber. While many are […]

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X-47B touch and goes onboard USS George H W Bush

The Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air systemdemonstrator (UCAS-D) made its first touch and go onboard the aircraft carrierUSS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on 17 May. “This landing, rubber hitting deck, is extremely fulfillingfor the team and is the culmination of years of relative navigationdevelopment,” says Don Blottenberger, UCAS-D Deputy Program manager. “Now, weare […]

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