Hmmmz really would like to see the merkava 4 in real live!!!
anyway have a question about the mk4 it doesn't have a loaders hatch ... and thus so no MAG on that side (right when facing the front). How is the IDF trying to solve this thing?? especialy in Urban combat?
just a thought.... is it therefor they actually updated the Mk3 Baz to the version shown at LIC 2004. This mk3 is quite good adapted to urban combat.
The Mosquito 1 is a micro UAV designed by Israel Aircraft Industries, in response to the Israel MOD Defense Research & Development Directorate (DRDD) micro systems technology development. First flight was performed on January 1, 2003. The miniature saucer shaped plane weighs 250 gram and as a wing span of about 30 cm. The vehicle carries a miniature video camera and already performed several flights with up to 40 minutes endurance each. The Mosquito is launched by hand and lands on its skids at the end of its mission.
The company is planning to test the advanced Mosquito 1.5 version soon. This improved design will weigh twice the Mosquito 1 weight, will be capable of flying a 60 minute mission with enhanced video camera (two gimbals provide roll control with electronic image stabilization), and carry improved avionics, enabling fully autonomous missions.
Micro UAV's - the future of unmanned surveillance - INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS: Micro-UAV Flies Like an Insect
At the recent biennial 2003 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, Seiko Epson Corp unveiled the world's lightest and smallest UAV helicopter, the Micro Flying Robot, which Seiko said it plans to be the vehicle for an equally small flying camera. Surprisingly, the machine looks a bit like a scaled-down version of DeVinci's unrealized 16th century plans for a helicopter.
The manufacturer built the device so that it could fly into dangerous areas or areas hit by disasters in place of human beings and see what the situation is. Another example would be for the micro-UAV to fly into a building flattened by an earthquake and see if anyone was trapped inside.
The prototype shown weighs an incredible 0.35 ounces and measures 2.8 inches in height. It can be operated by remote control but at present must be powered through a wire from a generator. Seiko Epson spent three years developing the Micro Flying Robot. The company is now working on developing a suitably light onboard battery, and showed the robot at the exhibition to generate such interest among battery makers.
Unmentioned were the potential military applications. Such a UAV could provide over-the-horizon reconnaissance capabilities for individual soldiers on the battlefield once suitable power and lifting capacity are achieved. Such a micro-UAV would also be very useful in urban combat, or investigating caves and bunkers. Even with a thin wire attached to power the UAV, and send pictures back, a tiny, hovering night vision camera would be a real lifesaver.
The flying robot uses two counter-rotating propellers powered by an ultra-thin ultrasonic motor, and balances in mid air by using a linear actuator-based stabilizer. In the last decade, the US military has been quick to adopt technologies like this for battlefield use, and this is the sort of thing that quickly shows in the hands of American troops
Micro-UAVs Possible in Near Future
by Dale Kuska
Special to the American Forces Press Service
MONTEREY, Calif. -- A Navy SEAL creeps silently through dense bushes, and approaches a structure with American citizens held captive inside. He needs to see inside the building to find how many hostages there are and exactly
where they're located, but he cannot simply walk up to the building. He reaches into his belt and opens a small canister to release a micro-unmanned aerial vehicle -- a two-inch rotary aircraft that can fly quickly into the building to collect data and assess the situation.
Sounds futuristic, but vehicles like this are approaching reality, and at the Naval Postgraduate School, here, a two-man team is working to bring such vehicles to life. "Our particular vehicle is remotely-piloted, meaning there will be someone on the ground providing the control, like a remote-controlled car. There would be a camera inside to provide real-time video information, which gives the operator the ability to see where he's flying," said electrical and computer engineering Professor David Jenn, who's been working on the project with doctorate student Bob Vitale. Surveillance during hostage situations is just one use for a micro-unmanned aerial vehicle. It could also inspect hazardous areas, such as an area contaminated by a chemical attack, or other instances when sending humans would be too risky. Plus, its small size gives other advantages. "It would be portable,so it can be carried on a SEAL's belt, for example, and, when he needs it, he can simply open the canister and flies it off," Jenn said. "These things are very small, they're covert, they are very difficult to see, and even if you do see them, they're very difficult to shoot down."
The primary focus of Jenn's research is to find an innovative power source for such a small aircraft. If you use a battery, it's too heavy," he said. "Besides, batteries will not provide a lot of power for a long duration of time. (In our research) we're using an off board source of energy. An antennae would track the vehicle and provide a microwave beam to provide energy to the
vehicle. The vehicle receives it, rectifies it, then uses that energy to power the motor. "One of the biggest advantages of using microwave power is that you can make these UAVs smaller and smaller. With a battery, if you continue making it smaller, you lose power," Jenn explained. Jenn and Vitale's approach for obtaining power is ground-breaking.
"We've never seen anyone transfer power in this way before. In the past, people have used a microwave dish antennae with a large, flat panel suspended over it to gather energy. With a micro-UAV flying, this panel wouldn't work, because once the UAV flew off to the side, it wouldn't be able to receive energy and therefore would fall to the ground. The antennae we're working on is multi-directional, so it can continue to send energy no matter where the micro-UAV is," said Vitale. "We've also been able to use the body
of the aircraft as an antennae." Jenn and Vitale's goal is to fit required sensors into a small, graphite canister weighing no more than a piece of paper, so these micro-unmanned aerial vehicles must do more than maximize use of space. "The types of sensors DoD would like to see in here are a video camera, radiation sensors, chemical sensors, and maybe even [Global Positioning System]," Jenn said. "There's also talk of using these as communication relays. All this equipment can be packaged together, but it's the weight that creates a problem."
Even with weight as an issue, these tiny vehicles are making progress."We've already demonstrated we can transfer power with microwaves. We've performed tests on the safety issues of microwaves, and we've shown that having multiple ground stations [sending microwaves] is the best possible method, said Jenn. "Now we plan to show how we can power these UAVs
using radar systems -- systems the Navy already has."
(Kuska is a writer at the Naval Postgraduate School.)
Michael A. Dornheim / Los Angeles and Michael A. Taverna / Paris
Originally published in AW&ST July 8, 2004
Small man-portable reconnaissance drones are finally seeing action as the war on terrorism brings home ground troops' need to see over the next hill.
Close-up on-ground battles in Afghanistan have pushed the services to order for the first time significant quantities of mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (mini-UAVs) for operational use. The U.S. Special Operations Command (Socom) has ordered over 80 mini-UAVs based on the AeroVironment Pointer, more than all prior Pointer orders combined since the hand-launched 8.4-ft.-span aircraft became available in 1989. The order came from emergency funds to fight terrorism, and the aircraft may already be operating in Afghanistan.The Air Force's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., has started the FPASS program, ordering an initial batch of 4-ft.-span mini-drones from the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. It is a quick reaction program for rapid fielding, in part to detect people with shoulder-fired missiles lurking to attack aircraft, and will lead to a competition for more drones. Both AeroVironment and Lockheed Martin have several other mini-drone programs underway that are short of production.
"There's a lot more interest post-9/11," said Eric Knutson, Lockheed Martin program manager for the Sentry Owl family of mini-UAVs, from which FPASS is derived. "Before 9/11, we focused on technologies, wringing out the impossible. Now the services tell us they need hardware, forget the reports."
"With these aircraft, forces can quickly see not too far away," said Robert F. Curtin, AeroVironment vice president. "It fills an information hole for them." Interest in small UAVs is also growing rapidly in other areas of the world, particularly in Europe, which will acquire an estimated 500 vehicles within the next three years, primarily for testing and evaluation. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) continues to push the technological edge with micro-drones that are not quite ready for prime time. Its prior fixed-wing micro-drone program has concluded, but their small 6-in. size, arbitrarily chosen by Darpa, is at or beyond the edge of practical broad use. However, the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is continuing to work on a Microstar micro-drone. Darpa has moved on to the Organic Air Vehicle (OAV), a hovering ducted fan designed to fly to and perch on a vantage point to conduct extended reconnaissance. "Organic" means it is organic to, or controlled by, a small infantry squad. The OAV is supposed to be scalable within a 9-29-in. range of duct diameters. Darpa has also started a new micro air vehicle program, which is the OAV shrunk further to 6-in. dia. so it will fit in a backpack. While acknowledging the value of perching, some industry experts believe that the ducted fan configuration is not suited for this task, in particular because of its poor ability to hover over a fixed point with much wind. They consider the 6-in. size even more impractical. "It's a very tough requirement, and we don't think it's possible in the next several years to build a vehicle that anyone would be happy with," one expert said.
AeroVironment's Pointer can carry an 8-12-micron long-wave infrared uncooled camera or a color visual camera, and stay aloft 90 min. using high-performance lithium-sulfur dioxide primary batteries. The airframe with batteries only weighs 8.3 lb., and the entire system fits in two rifle boxes, but is heavy enough that it is usually carried on a jeep. The U.S. Army's Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) program bought four systems in 1999 for evaluation and liked them, but found the ground station too big, Curtin said. The company shrank the ground station to less than half-size, and also shrank the airframe to a 4.4-ft. wingspan from 8.4 ft. This new version is called Raven and has the same payload as Pointer, but now is man-portable. The aircraft fits in two packs that weigh a total of 8.5 lb. Endurance is about 80 min. Like Pointer, a joystick can mark map waypoints or directly control the aircraft. As a follow-on to the MOUT contract, four aircraft and two ground stations will be delivered to the Army by October.
Filling roughly the same niche as Raven is the Naval Research Laboratory's Dragon Eye mini-drone. NRL fixed the outer shape as a twin-engine 4 ft. X 1-ft. rectangular flying wing, and it is being produced by AeroVironment and BAI in Maryland. With the clunky design, endurance is only about 45 min. on 1.5 lb. of primary batteries. Control is via a laptop, and imagery is viewed with TV goggles, instead of a hooded TV screen. Operational range is 5-10 km. (3-6 mi.). AeroVironment is working on an enlarged Pointer, called Puma. It is also electrically powered and is to have more capability, including 2.5-3-hr. endurance. In Europe, the area of greatest activity may be in France, which is working across a broad area embracing micro-UAVs and mini-UAVs.
French aerospace research and development agency Onera is studying a future generation of micro-UAVs for urban warfare applications that would be capable of entering buildings. The 5-million-euro ($4.9-million), four-year project, called Remanta, is investigating both ornithopter and vibrating wing concepts. The study brings together a multidisciplinary team that is focusing as much on key technologies such as artificial muscles, micro electro-mechanical systems, micro-control and lightweight structures as aerodynamics and architecture. The objective is to prepare the way for a workable design that could be fielded between 2010-15. Initially, engineers are targeting sizes of 15-40 cm. (6-16 in.), although final designs will be smaller. "Because of the difficulties encountered, we have adopted a strategy different from that in the U.S., starting large and then working down," said Rene Mathurin, who is responsible for UAV development at the French defense procurement agency DGA. "Experience in the U.S., which aimed at under 15 cm. initially and now appears to be looking at bigger sizes, seems to bear out the soundness of our approach." The DGA, which is funding the Onera work, is also sponsoring a pair of medium-term initiatives aimed at developing somewhat larger hovering miniature UAVs for use in exterior urban warfare environments.
Last week, the DGA unveiled a 1.6-million-euro three-year university contest intended to generate breakthroughs in miniature UAV design. The contest, patterned after one already in existence in the U.S., will downselect 20 proposals for a flyoff under operational conditions, with the winner getting a 15,000-euro cash prize. Each team will be eligible for up to 40,000 euros in public financing to build their UAVs, which can be up to 70 cm. in length. To start in September, the competition will be open to graduate students of any nationality, but only French citizens will be eligible for public financing. Interested parties should consult www.onera.fr or www.defense.gouv.fr/dga.
In parallel, the DGA plans to shortly issue a request for proposal (RFP) to industry for a 40-cm. miniature UAV demonstrator (AW&ST June 17, p. 63). A dozen or so firms have already shown an interest in tendering, according to Mathurin.
The best ideas will be integrated into an operational procurement to be launched in 2006. Several hundred units are to be acquired under this program, which seeks to have operational UAVs in infantry hands by 2007-08, Mathurin said. In the nearer term, the DGA plans in 2003-04 to issue RFPs for larger (50 cm.-1.5-meter) mini-UAVs that could be fielded by dedicated servicemen at the battalion level. Around 100-150 units would be procured, for deployment toward mid-decade. The target price for these mini-UAVs is under 4,500 euros. A sign of the growing international market was the large number of small UAV systems on show at the recent Eurosatory defense exhibit here in June.
Sagem presented a hand-launched electric-powered 2.1-meter (7-ft.)-long mini-UAV, the TMD3, that can be carried broken down by a single infantryman and assembled in the field in just 5 min. Resembling AeroVironment's Pointer, distributed in Europe by EADS/CAC Systems, the 3-kg. (6.6-lb.) TMD3 has a long 3.4-meter wing to save power. Capable of flying for more than 1 hr. at speeds of 30-120 kmph., the TMD3 can carry a stabilized payload, including a digital data link capable of transmitting over a 10-km. radius, company officials said.
ANOTHER FRENCH FIRM, Technisolar-Seni, exhibited a pair of electric-powered mini-UAVs equipped with wing-mounted solar arrays. One is equipped with landing gear that allows it to return with stored data, obviating the need for a data link. The other is a knocked-down unit.
Singapore Aerospace Industries displayed a hovering mini-UAV capable of transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight. Equipped with extendable landing gear, the 66-cm.-long 2.3-kg. composite unit, developed with Micro Autonomous Systems, will be capable of hovering for up to an hour with a top horizontal speed of better than 50 kt. Payload is presently limited to 0.5 kg.
Also developing a hovering mini-UAV is Bertin of France. This 30-cm.-dia. 1.4-kg. hovering UAV has an endurance of about 30 min. and can carry a 0.2-0.4-kg. payload, including a tiny inertial navigation unit developed in-house to control stability.