Singapore reveals jungle trials using micro unmanned air vehicles

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Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency has been conducting co-operative research with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency to assess the effectiveness of micro unmanned air vehicle operations in jungle environments.

Two series of operational and technical experiments have been conducted over the past two years, says the Singapore agency's deputy chief executive for technology, Peng-Yam Tan. The air vehicle used in the research has been the Aerovironment Wasp MAV.

Tan told the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's Unmanned Systems North America conference in Washington on 7 August that the research has focused on how MAVs "would feature in the three scenarios of conventional, jungle and maritime surveillance and the implications of the tropical environment".

The first round of experiments was carried out in October 2005. The second took place in October 2006 using a Singapore air force Eurocopter Super Puma helicopter as a UAV surrogate. It was used to fly a variety of developmental sensor payload types that could be carried by an MAV in a jungle environment.

Tan said this included hyperspectral sensors, three-dimensional radar, and day and night cameras.

The co-operative research included examination of MAV operations in both open and closed canopy jungle environments.