Everything related to unmanned aerial vehicles — a rather narrow and specific topic. Yet the announcement, one way or another associated with it in the past year, often directing the attention of the military-technical expertise of society. They are in the main from outside the country, but something exciting (in certain classes of UAVs) happened in our country.
Most of the key events in the world of drone took place in recognizable companies, many years working in this field. But there are new companies — the creators of unique projects.
In a class of unmanned strike aircraft typical race lasts 2-davneshnih competitors — companies Northrop Grumman and the group Boeing. "Boeing" in the past year at the air show in Farnborough English revealed the new UAV X-45 "Phantom ray» (Phantom Ray). But "Northrop Grumman", previously on display at the various exhibitions drone X-47 "Pegasus» (Pegasus), seems to have moved on. First, in February, it was announced that this promising deck UAV made the first flight from the air base, "Edwards" in California, and in the fall there was information that the assembled second UAV, which is also meant to use in the ongoing flight test.
Unfortunately, nothing amused European consortium of companies implementing the project drone of the same class — nEUROn. Apparently, because of the shortcomings of funding it turned into a typical long-term construction with an uncertain fate. A similar situation seems to shock and with the Russian UAV "Scat" which layout a couple of years back introduced the Russian Aircraft Corporation "MiG".
In this class of machines with huge pitch and duration of the flight, the typical "monopoly" is a South American drone Global Hawk company Northrop Grumman. The device, which in the long term is understood to have changed in the U.S. Air Force spy planes U2, pretty intense, "worked" in the past year. Thus, it is clear about its application in the Libyan campaign, reported on allegations of using "Global Hawk" over the territory of North Korea. In addition, last year the drone was involved in a certain way and in a humanitarian mission in the Land of the Rising Sun — created UAV aerial reconnaissance over the area of the nuclear power plant emergency, "Fukushima-1".
A few states have a desire to get this drone. In the middle of applicants, namely, Japan and South Korea. But as long as this system has received only Germany — July Global Hawk made a transatlantic flight from an airbase "Edwards" at the airport in the German Manching, where the company Cassidian it will be installed intelligence apparatus (including electronic). According to the published plans of the Ministry of Defence of Germany Luftwaffe should get four converted drone.
In fairness it should be mentioned that in the middle of the summer there were actually spy shots of the Chinese unit of similar class. But still it is difficult to say what is behind these photos. Available data from China due to a fairly closed information policy of Beijing is very limited. That's why there are some doubts about the validity of the object. Maybe the "leak" did not occur without the consent of the authorities of the PRC and the disinformation created to geopolitical rivals China.
The main newsmaker — Tehran
Medium-class unmanned long-duration flight (Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance, MALE) presented a few surprises. Perhaps one of the brightest and most widely discussed was the news hit the South American secret UAV RQ-170 "Local» (Sentinel) in the hands of the Iranian military. This unmanned "stealth" reconnaissance, which is perhaps the most sverhtehnologichnym machine in its class, was imprisoned (according to other sources, fell or made a landing) in Iran, first of December and was so makarom typical Christmas present management of the Islamic Republic (see "military-industrial complex », № 50, 2011).
However, the main "workhorse" in this class of UAV systems in the past year were drones General Atomics MQ-1 "Predator» (Predator) and General Atomics MQ-9 "Reaper» (Reaper / Predator B). Through their exploration was carried out and strike ground targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya. With all of this the number of drones in the military and the U.S. Air Force is constantly increasing. 2011, the first South American Air Force ordered 24 UAVs Reaper, and in December — another 40. In addition, at the end of the year the media reported that the Air Force buy the UAV "Avenger» (Avenger / Predator C) — the future development of "Predators", equipped by a turbofan engine and headlights. Apparently, already in the near future they will be "run-in" in Afghanistan.
If there is not a brand new World fluctuations on ways of future development of this area — the company General Atomics is practically a monopoly in this sector of the market in the U.S., in Europe is not so clear. Here a number of projects in parallel.
A couple of years back to close the niche of medium-long duration unmanned flight of the armed forces of France got hold of the party UAVs in Israel. In general, it was not just the purchase, and in some degree cooperative project in which on the one hand the Israeli company IAI participated with his UAV Heron, and on the other — the European concern EADS. The device, a couple of times to change the title and the currently recognized under the name of Harfang, used by the French military, namely, Afghanistan. Regardless, it would seem, on a fully successful operation these UAVs, the Ministry of Defence of the Fifth Republic in the last year and decided to get a South American Reaper. How to say some sources, it can clarify the best integrability (interoperability) Overseas cars in Information Systems NATO.
Together with those wishing to have their own systems, the French though not rapidly, but still develop the project Talarion. The full-size mock-up of the future UAV shown on static display at last year of Cassidian Air Show at Le Bourget.
The rival of this device is an English drone Mantis. The company BAE Systems, over the past few years without the help of others who worked on the creation of the drone, last year announced a connection to the project, will change with this name on Telemos, the French company Dassault Aviation. It is more advanced in terms of the implementation stage than Talarion, — the machine performed the first flight of two years back. But according to reports, the parliament of the Fifth Republic has not approved funding for the French role in the project. So the real time odds UAV Talarion all the same look better.
Not averse to enter the club owners unmanned systems MALE-class and certain other countries. Stimulated by the desire to have their intentions drones of its own production and to be independent of the political situation, and in some cases, the inability to obtain such devices from the United States or Israel.
First, in 2011 India at an exhibition in Bangalore
showed UAV project Rustom. About this time in Turkey performed the first test flight of the apparatus Anka. Autumn during the Dubai Air Show Adcom Systems company from the United Arab Emirates astounded the public extraordinary new project United-40 S-shaped fuselage and spaced tandem wing of the huge extension.
Quite obviously, that is very willing to acquire adequate systems and China, which more than once brought to the air show model UAV Pterodactyl, the device resembles a replica of South American Predator. Chinese — known copyists, but still hard to say for sure, this is a real project or drone from China delivered, "pacifier", which demonstrate a distraction.
In the end, the main event of the year in this class of devices for us, of course, due to the Russian Defense Ministry plans. Russian MALE should appear immediately in 2-categories — 800 and 4500 kg, which is in my mind an analogy with South American Predator and Reaper. Create these devices for the military department of the Russian Federation to be companies "Transas" (St. Petersburg) and "Falcon" (Kazan). Both projects are expected to lead the team will be led by one of the most famous of our professionals in the field of unmanned vehicles Nicholas Dolzhenkova.
It seems that in-1's, which means that the Ministry of Defence has lost confidence in the JSC "Radio Engineering Corporation" Vega ", which was previously on the Rights of the main developer of unmanned systems, and was the main beneficiary of municipal funds. And in-2, most likely states that the UAV project "Beam", created on the basis of a manned light aircraft initial training "Sigma-5" of the same name from Rybinsk KB, which is part of the concern "Vega" is closed.
The match with the "shadow"
In a class of tactical systems last year also brought several innovations. Thus, it became clear that the American company AAI started flight testing of an improved version of the device RQ-7 Shadow («Shadow") — the most famous in the world of tactical unmanned systems class. Brand new car Shadow-M2, is reported to be different from the basic version of the increased capacity and improved integration of on-board equipment. In addition, this first reconnaissance drone may soon be equipped a weapon — Raytheon Company has ended the first phase of testing the latest small-sized bombs caliber 5.5 kgs, created by programmke STM (Small Tactical Munition — «of small tactical munition") specifically for the class of devices Shadow.
Russian company "Aerokon" (Kazan), in turn, made the drone "Boundary-30." Despite the fact that the general public, the system has been presented only at the last MAKS last summer, she is on the disk imaging company, the developer, has delivered the first foreign customer for Venezuela.
Another exciting new product can be watched at the end of May in the capital of Belarus at the exhibition of arms and military equipment MILEX. This drone apparatus "Grif-1", the work of which is fairly well maintained group of companies led by the 558-m aircraft repair plant (Baranovichi) and Minsk design bureau INDELA. In adjacent to the country, a Russian all-encompassing municipal programm development of unmanned aircraft systems. Pretty obmyslennaya policy on UAV with clear posed puzzles, permanent financing and control of the execution may be starting to bear fruit.
Vorachivayas to Russian UAV, it should be noted that last year the company "Transas" significantly improved UAV "Watch-100." Namely, it is now installed with ADS-B. Held in late spring near St. Petersburg joint test flights of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles filled with these defendants automatic dependent surveillance showed virtually unmanned systems capable of integration into the existing system of air traffic control (Suvd), and as it should, they can be used in common with other manned and unmanned aircraft airspace. This is one of the solutions to important problems hindering mass distribution of UAV systems.
Representative examples of
In the class of mini-UAV major event in 2011 was the emergence of our country's first device with a hydrogen fuel cell. "Inspector 402" was shown at MAKS by "Aerokon" from Zhukovsky near Moscow, one of the first time celebrated the global trend for the introduction of hydrogen fuel in parts of the sector for the growth duration of the flight. In this case, if the majority of zabugornyh drone uses Singaporean products, the "Inspector" to equip their Russian counterpart development of the Kurchatov Institute.
According to the director of "Aerokon" Edward Baghdasaryan, the project has been implemented in quite a rather short time, with the active participation of the director of the Engineering Center OAK Vladimir Kargopoltseva. So Makar, Our homeland has shown, on the one hand, following global trends, and on the other — an opportunity not to buy, and create the right system without the help of others.
Significantly reshaped their drones and the company "Enix". In late 2010, her "Aileron" was coupled with 2-machines of other companies selected by the commission Russian Army on the results of comparative tests carried out. We can say that this is the example where Russian experts at studied foreign experience, specifically acquainted with the Israeli Defense Ministry procured standards mini-UAV and creatively reinterpreting it using some optimal approaches in their own development. It is expected that a number of 10-s "aileron" entered service after the passage of the municipal trial. In the meantime, the complex is used extensively civilians and paramilitary (paramilitary) customers, showing the highest reliability in the operation of various criteria, including the Arctic Circle.
Another Russian unmanned systems "Pear" at the end of the year got the Baltic Fleet. According to the representative of the operational and strategic associations, meant to equip the machines first Marine units and infantry troops shore connection (79-th separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade).
Were in 2011, and announcements related to UAV helicopter type. So, in October, it became clear that the Navy and Marine Corps (ILC) was elected U.S. unmanned rotorcraft K-MAX, which are working on the company Lockheed Martin and Kaman, for deployment to Afghanistan. This decision was preceded by successful completion of the tests. According to their results proved that the unmanned K-MAX helicopter meets the requirements of the Navy and USMC — namely, every day can deliver the goods total weight of 2700 kg and can be used for logistical support of military units of Marines fighting on the ground in Afghanistan.
Concern "Boeing" continues to work on the other, is also quite large UAV helicopter type — Little Bird. According to the available disk imaging, in June and July of 2011 in the United States successfully conducted tests on the automatic landing UAV, including the mobile platform that simulates the deck of the ship.
Together so despite the efforts of rival companies, the most famous project in the field of devices are quite large UAV Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout. Over the years they have been applied during the military operations in Afghanistan and later in Libya. At the moment, severe image issues are worked placement of weapons on board these drones. At the end of 2011 it became clear that the U.S. Navy will form a squadron, it is manned helicopters, drones. The main contenders — Fire Scout.
Very curious project in Dubai Air Show unveiled a Swiss company Unmanned Systems AG. The thought of her designers is to take out the engine beyond the boundaries of the fuselage, placing it above the rotor, and eventually free up space for additional fuel tanks and equipment, excluding the control screw, als
o solve the problem of glaciation rotor.
In general, if the Swiss project is still underway — its willingness expected next year, the unmanned system Camcopter S-100 of the Austrian company Schiebel is already heavily used in different countries around the world. In 2011, this is one of the more commercially successful projects in the field of helicopter UAVs and received Russian "residence."
The Russian company "Horizon", which is among the top providers of technical systems Border Service of the Russian Federation, signed a license agreement for the development of assembly production systems Camcopter in Rostov-on-Don. According to professionals in the fall of 2011 at a border patrol boat project 22460 "Ruby" in Novorossiysk successful tests were performed, which included taking off, landing, detection, tracking and identification of high-speed low-key surface target of the "whaler" maneuvered at a speed of 24 knots .
A family of unmanned helicopters filed a public KB INDELA — perhaps the most popular Belarusian company, specializing in the development of drones. Last fall, it was clear the experience of the introduction of the 1 st of them. Helicopter Sky Hunter, kitted gyro-stabilized turret mounted on a small gun 12 gauge, which fly off in the fall exercises in Belarus. Advances KB INDELA did not go unnoticed in our country — from the available disk imaging, cooperate closely with the company "Helicopters of Russia" in the creation of light UAV.
In general, the experts at "Helicopters of Russia", how to report the control of the unmanned areas holding Gennady Bebeshko working on projects of creation of several different classes of unmanned helicopters. Konkurentnst of Russian companies can make them, perhaps, only the Petersburg JSC "Scientific and Production Enterprise" Radar MMS ". In general of course, that as long as the customer in the face of Russian Ministry of Defense does not determine the requirements for a suitable system and allocate work on them the right funding, they will be carried out in a slow mode.
Two systems were notable in the past year, revealed to the public by the Israeli company IAI, better known as the creator of unmanned aircraft. The first of them — UAV Panther, demonstrated at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. It is a tiltrotor with 3 to turn the screw, making it likely the vertical take-off and landing in helicopter mode and level flight in airplane mode. According to the office, on the basis of this unit is meant the creation of a whole family of drones of different classes, which, apparently, will close niche tactical UAV systems previously occupied by I-View. Second unit — quadrocopter. Unlike most similar devices available in the world, he is tethered, which makes him look like a balloon systems — flight duration drone actually limited because the electricity is transmitted by cable from a ground station. With all of this system is more compact and faster to deploy.