Hercs Support the Fight... Day and Night

UPDATED: Corrects Cost Per Plane To $3.8M; Holmes “Misspoke;” Adds Enhanced Mode S Upgrade CAPITOL HILL: The law is the law. But the law must be written and it must then be interpreted in practice. Ay, there’s the rub. Add the National Guard, local politics, aging C-130s, and a wobbly defense budget in which hard choices must… Keep reading →

MQ-9 Reaper drone.

WASHINGTON: We love being able to say “we told you so,” and today we can. During a 30-minute conference call with reporters Monday, the president of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Michael Toscano, used the word “drone” four times. Not too long ago, Toscano might have washed his own mouth out with… Keep reading →

Customs and Border Patrol drones

WASHINGTON: Those hyperventilating at the specter of drones flooding U.S. skies because Congress has told the Federal Aviation Administration to achieve “the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015,” can now take a deep breath. Those in industry panting… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: As the crisis over China’s self-declared “air defense identification zone” hits its tenth day with no signs of de-escalation, leading Republican lawmaker Rep. Randy Forbes questioned an apparent concession by the administration over commercial flights. Meanwhile, South Korea is contemplating expanding its own long-standing ADIZ to challenge China’s — but it might do so in a… Keep reading →

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — They’re coming. And they’re not just for the military anymore. Keep reading →

GILLIAM COUNTY, OREGON: This isolated test site in rural Oregon is where Boeing subsidiary Insitu takes its drones “to torture them,” said site manager Jerry McWithey. Temperates soar to 110 degrees in summer and plummet to 10 degrees — with 50-knot winds — in winter. The hot-and-cold ordeal the drones go through is a microcosm of the problems facing the company as a whole as the defense spending boom goes bust.

The era of exponential growth is over. When Insitu was founded back in 1998, it had just four people and a plan to build small numbers of small unmanned air vehicles for weather research. Shortly after 9/11, in February 2002, the start-up partnered with aerospace behemoth Boeing to develop military recon UAVs, and its ScanEagle drone (click here for video) first saw action over Fallujah in 2004. Keep reading →

UAV group AUVSI to FAA (http://bit.ly/Se6I1u): Get moving on test program for drones in US airspace, which Congress wanted by Aug. 12th. SydneyFreedberg

LAS VEGAS: Getting America’s National Airspace System (NAS) ready for unmanned aircraft by 2015 will be hard going, but one good sign is that the FAA’s point man positively vibrates with enthusiasm.

“I actually volunteered for this job,” said James Williams, head of the FAA’s recently created Unmanned Air Systems Integration Office, right at the opening of his remarks to the conference of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, (AUVSI). “I’m very excited to be here and to be running this organization.” That said, he added, referring to the many mandates in the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill passed in February, “nobody mentioned that Congress was going to give me pages of instruction on how to do it.” Keep reading →

LAS VEGAS: As military spending shrinks, makers of unmanned aircraft are looking to civilian customers to pick up the slack — but getting ready to fly drones in civilian airspace is a big technological and regulatory challenge. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: The Army has put together and demonstrated a system of ground-based “sense and avoid” technology that should show the Federal Aviation Administration the military can safely fly drones in civilian airspace without ground observers or chase planes, the project’s leader tells Breaking Defense.

“We’re ready now to start getting the system certified,” said Viva Austin, product director for Unmanned Systems Airspace Integration Concepts in the Army’s Program Executive Office for Aviation. “Once this system is certified, I think we have cleared a major hurdle. I think we’re there.” Keep reading →

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