Paintless tailcone lighter and cheaper

COMPOSITES GKN Aerospace and Sikorsky have completed development of a composite tailcone for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, reducing weight, parts count, and tooling and manufacturing costs. The tailcone uses X-Cor lightweight reinforced foam for detail parts, skins produced using automated fibre-placement, and a paintless finish incorporating the colour into the skin laminate during lay-up. Six test units were produced under a US Army manufacturing technology programme.

UAV SAR can see the Earth move

SENSOR An L-band synthetic-aperture radar capable of measuring displacements of the Earth's surface to within millimetres is being evaluated by NASA. Intended for use on unmanned aircraft, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory-developed UAVSAR pod is being flight tested on a NASA Dryden Gulfstream III. Using repeat track interferometry, and a precision autopilot allowing the flightpath to be repeated to within 5m (15ft), data from two passes can be converted to surface displacement measurements.

Solar-powered airship on the rise

PLATFORM TAO Technologies and the University of Stuttgart have flight-tested the SAS-51 solar-powered low-altitude airship under development for Sanswire Networks, which plans to use lighter-than-air platforms for communications and surveillance applications. The SAS-51 is designed to carry an 11kg (25lb) payload for up to 14h at altitudes up to 3,000ft (900m).

SBAC to make sure knowledge is shared

NETWORKING The Society of British Aerospace Companies is to manage an aerospace and defence knowledge transfer network (KTN) to promote collaboration across industry, government and academia to implement the UK's National Aerospace Technology Strategy. Funded for three years with £2.4 million ($4.8 million) from the government's Technology Strategy Board and Ministry of Defence, the KTN is intended to improve the UK's innovation performance by increasing and accelerating technology transfer to businesses.

GRACE favours UK navigation satellite research

POSITIONING The UK's University of Nottingham is to establish a £9 million ($18.2 million) centre of excellence for global navigation satellite systems research and applications. The GRACE facility will focus on the growth in applications for satellite navigation and positioning systems such as Europe's Galileo, which should be fully operational by 2013. The

centre will provide research, training and other support for industry. Funding includes a £3.4 million grant from the UK government's East Midlands Development Agency.

Fuel cells keeps UAV going, and going...

PROPULSION Aerovironment's Puma unmanned air vehicle has flown for more than 7h powered by Protonex's ProCore fuel-cell system. With a wingspan of 2.6m (8.5ft), the hand-launched Puma has an endurance of 2.h on rechargeable batteries. The ProCore UAV propulsion system can achieve 1,000W/kg (454W/lb) power output using a chemical hydride to store its hydrogen fuel.

Source: Flight International