General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GAASI), a manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic systems, is offering a company- owned and operated aircraft, Angel One, to support humanitarian relief efforts.

Angel One, based on the jet-propelled Predator C RPA system, can deliver 8,500 lb of humanitarian daily ration packets (HDRs) for 3,400 people each day. It can fly up to three, 3-hour missions per day delivering food and medical supplies to civilians following natural disasters.

A special internal bay door release mechanism allows two aid drops per mission, increasing the likelihood of civilians successfully retrieving needed aid when compared to traditional pallet aid drops.

Robota selects LeddarOne for new UAV

Solid-state light detection and ranging (LiDAR) solutions provider LeddarTech’s optical sensor was selected by Robota as the altimeter for the latest Eclipse fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for professional surveying applications. LeddarOne provides the drone’s autopilot with real-time, height-above-ground-level measurements during landing. A diffuse infra-red LED source with digital signal accumulation and oversampling smooths terrain measurements and provides consistent readings in flying over brush, bushes, or tall grass. In comparison, LiDARs using collimated laser beams tended to return variations in altitude, which may mislead the auto-pilot.

Applications include agriculture, construction, and urban analysis.;

Photo credit: Scaled Composites

Northrop Grumman Tern completes 2 CDRs

Northrop Grumman Corp. passed two milestones for a ship-based, long-range, long-endurance unmanned air system (UAS) the company is developing with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research.

The Tern program team completed a critical design review (CDR) of the air vehicle’s General Electric (GE) turboshaft engine that will allow the UAS, with its tail-sitter design, to fly vertically and horizontally. The second CDR approved the hardware and software architecture that will allow the Tern to launch and recover vertically from small-deck ships and transition to horizontal flight. The team plans to demonstrate Tern in 2018.

Tern’s capabilities would give the Navy and Marine Corps the ability to conduct intelligence, offensive, and other missions at sea at ranges exceeding 600nm.

DARPA awarded Northrop Grumman the Tern Phase 3 contract in December 2015. Phase 3 goals include completion of detailed aircraft design, development of two full-scale demonstrators, land-based testing, and at-sea demonstrations of air vehicle launch and recovery.