A growing number of satellite-based automatic identification systems (AIS) make it easier for maritime surveillance to tie ship-tracking data with high-resolution satellite imagery. Used with AIS, space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical remote-sensing platforms determine not only the presence of ships, but their identity, position, speed, heading, load, size and type.
Technical realities, the impact of the global economic crisis and other pressures on defense budgets have slowed but not stopped the development of “future soldier” systems worldwide. The need to provide soldiers with the kind of connectivity and situational awareness they routinely use when out of uniform is more urgent than ever. Some of the key goals, such as reducing the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements of the equipment a soldier carries, have not changed, but cost is more important.
How unmanned aircraft have matured over more than a decade of war is illustrated by the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven. This hand-launched UAV is often overlooked, even though it outnumbers all other U.S. unmanned systems put together—there were 5,394 in service as of November 2012 —but advances in microelectronics have given the Raven capabilities previously associated only with larger aircraft.
Small size brings challenges. “Our engineers operate within a tight SWAP [size, weight and power] trade space,” says AeroVironment Vice President Steve Gitlin.
A robotic albatross gliding at 200 mph is a dramatic demonstration of how wind power can be harnessed. But it is just one of several projects showing how unmanned aircraft can use air currents, from thermals and ridge lift to wind shear and even turbulence, to increase their endurance from hours to days.
0The U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., plans to stage airborne combat with 50 small UAVs on each side by 2015, in an attempt to determine how future air defenses can cope with large numbers of attackers.
Timothy Chung, an assistant professor of systems engineering at the school, is the mastermind behind the Aerial Battle Bots project. He argues that when dealing with potential “swarms” of attackers, low-cost defensive drones could be the answer.
LONDON - The U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., plans to stage airborne combat with 50 small UAVs on each side by 2015, in an attempt to determine how future air defenses can cope with large numbers of attackers.
Answer: With another swarm. That's the thinking behind the Aerial Battle Bots project masterminded by Timothy Chung, assistant professor of systems engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Chung is planning to stage an airborne gladiatorial contest between two fleets of 50 UAVs by 2015, to demonstrate how the swarm defense might work.
LONDON — China is progressing quickly in the field of unmanned underwater “gliders,” an area previously dominated by the U.S.
“They’re putting a lot of money, a lot of engineers into this field,” says Lyle Goldstein, strategic researcher at the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. “They’re energized because they know there’s a gap in underwater capability, and this is a chance to leapfrog ahead.”
In researching our cover package on aeromedical evacuation, one of the hardest things to grapple with was how to count casualties. It turns out that even those experienced in the field can become confused on what metric is the most appropriate to use in any given circumstance....More