Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 3 - Leeham News and Comment

viernes, 24 de agosto de 2018


Boeing completes autonomous synchronised flight tests in Australia

press release

Australian-developed on-board command and control system automatically perceives, processes and reacts in coordination with other unmanned vehicles.

Boeing [NYSE: BA] has successfully completed the first suite of synchronised unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight tests using new on-board autonomous command and control technology developed by Boeing in Australia.

Conducted at a regional Queensland airfield, the test flights saw five UAV test beds equipped with Boeing’s new on-board system safely complete in-air programmed missions as a team without input from a human pilot.

The milestone comes six months after establishing the company’s largest international autonomous systems development program in Queensland.

“What we’ve created here in Australia has the potential to transform the use of unmanned vehicles for civil, commercial and defence applications – whether that be in the air, on the ground or out at sea,” said Shane Arnott, director of Boeing Phantom Works International.

“This capability will be a huge driver of efficiency and productivity. By safely teaming unmanned systems with human operated systems, we keep people away from dull, dirty and dangerous tasks so they can focus on activities that machines can’t or shouldn’t do.”

Boeing’s partnership with small and medium-sized enterprises helped drive rapid design, development and testing of this autonomous technology. In just two months, Boeing engaged small-to-medium enterprises and vetted and issued AU$2.3 million in contracts with 14 Queensland businesses.

Over the coming months, the Boeing Australia team will incorporate and test more advanced behaviours on high-performance air vehicles before exploring other domains such as unmanned ocean vehicles.

This activity is delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government as part of Boeing’s Advance Queensland Autonomous Systems Platform Technology Project.

For 100 years, Boeing has led manned and unmanned technology innovation and integration from sea to air to space. Visit for more information. Follow Boeing Australia on Twitter: @BoeingAustralia.


Boeing hedges on NMA/797 PaxEx


North Dakota Department of Transportation , UAS partners complete test for flights over people

This is the first phase of NDUAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) which is designed to help the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) create new regulations that will enable the safe and secure integration of UAS into national airspace systems.

“NDDOT is excited to work with Northern Plains UAS Test Site and partner with CNN, Botlink and ParaZero to advance research and commercialization of Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” said Russ Buchholz, UAS Integration Program Administrator at NDDOT. “We are testing the safety of UAS systems and looking at how they can operate in different types of situations.”

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Analysis: Bombardier continues to improve Q400 model


El segundo A350-900 de Iberia, que rinde tributo Paco de Lucía, se estrenó ayer con un vuelo entre Madrid y la capital británica

nota de prensa

A partir de septiembre, los dos vuelos de Iberia entre Madrid y Nueva York se operarán con el A350-900

Puntual, a las 15:56 h. y con 310 clientes a bordo, ha partido el avión “Paco de Lucía”, con matrícula EC-MYX, el segundo A350-900 de Iberia, rumbo a Londres. El vuelo IB3166 tiene prevista su llegada al aeropuerto londinense de Heathrow a las 17:20 h.

Desde hoy y hasta el 31 de agosto, este avión de nueva generación volará todos los días a Londres. Además del 27 al 31 de agosto, el “Paco de Lucía” operará un segundo vuelo de Madrid al aeropuerto de París Orly. El 1 de septiembre, este A350-900 se incorporará a la ruta Madrid-Nueva York, en la que ya opera el “Plácido Domingo”, el primer avión A350-900 que recibió la línea aérea.

Más respetuoso con el medio ambiente, más cómodo para los clientes

El A350 es un avión de nueva generación equipado con la última tecnología, que es más eficiente en cuanto a consumo de combustible y, por tanto, más respetuoso con el medio ambiente. Al mismo tiempo, ofrece más comodidad a los clientes: sus pasillos son más anchos, los maleteros cuentan con mayor capacidad, dispone de un sistema que renueva el aire de la cabina de pasajeros cada tres minutos y de ventanas panorámicas.

Los A350-900 cuentan con 348 asientos: 31 en clase Business, 24 en cabina Turista Premium y 293 en clase Turista. A bordo, los clientes de Iberia pueden disfrutar de un sistema de entretenimiento individual HD y también de una mejor conectividad Wifi.

Iberia ha emprendido un ambicioso plan para renovar su flota hasta 2021. Desde 2011, ha pedido 56 aviones: ocho A330-300, 12 A330-200, 16 A350-900 y 20 A320Neo, de los cuales ya ha recibido 24. Al mismo tiempo, ha renovado por completo las cabinas de sus 17 A340-600.


Iran Unveils New Domestic “Fourth-generation” Fighter Jet. But It’s Just An Upgraded F-5F Tiger…

Iran Unveils New Domestic "Fourth-generation" Fighter Jet. But It's Just An Upgraded F-5F Tiger…


Northrop Grumman, DARPA Set New Standard for Wireless Transmission Speed

 100G hardware will be flown aboard the Proteus demonstration aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites.

Northrop Grumman and DARPA 100 gigabits per second link demonstrated over 20 kilometer city environment on Jan. 19, 2018 in Los Angeles.
press release

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Aug. 22, 2018 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have set a new standard for wireless transmission by operating a data link at 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) over a distance of 20 kilometers in a city environment.

The two-way data link, which featured active pointing and tracking, was demonstrated Jan. 19, 2018 in Los Angeles.

The blazing data rate is fast enough to download a 50 Gigabyte blue ray video in four seconds. The demonstration marked the successful completion of Northrop Grumman’s Phase 2 contract for DARPA’s 100 Gbps (100G) RF Backbone program.

The 100G system is capable of rate adaptation on a frame by frame basis from 9 Gbps to 102 Gbps to maximize data rate throughout dynamic channel variations. Extensive link characterization demonstrated short-term error-free performance from 9 to 91 Gbps, and a maximum data rate of 102 Gbps with 1 erroneous bit received per ten thousand bits transmitted.

The successful data link results from the integration of several key technologies. The link operates at millimeter wave frequencies (in this case, 71-76 gigahertz and 81-86 gigahertz) with 5 gigahertz of bandwidth, or data carrying capacity, and uses a bandwidth efficient signal modulation technique to transmit 25 Gbps data streams on each 5 gigahertz channel. To double the rate within the fixed bandwidth, the data link transmits dual orthogonally polarized signals from each antenna. Additionally, the link transmits from two antennas simultaneously (spatial multiplexing) and uses multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) signal processing techniques to separate the signals at two receiving antennas, thus again doubling the data rate within the fixed bandwidth.

According to Louis Christen, director, research and technology, Northrop Grumman, “This dramatic improvement in data transmission performance could significantly increase the volume of airborne sensor data that can be gathered and reduce the time needed to exploit sensor data.”

“Next generation sensors such as hyperspectral imagers typically collect data faster, and in larger quantity than most air-to-ground data links can comfortably transmit,” said Christen. “Without such a high data rate link data would need to be reviewed and analyzed after the aircraft lands.”

By contrast, a 100G data link could transmit high-rate data directly from the aircraft to commanders on the ground in near real time, allowing them to respond more quickly to dynamic operations.

The successful 100G ground demonstration sets the stage for the flight test phase of the 100G RF Backbone program. This next phase, which started in June, demonstrates the 100G air-to-ground link up to 100 Gbps over a 100 km range and extended ranges with lower data rates. The 100G hardware will be flown aboard the Proteus demonstration aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites.

Northrop Grumman’s 100G industry team includes Raytheon, which developed the millimeter wave antennas and related RF electronics and Silvus Technologies, which provides the key spatial multiplexing and MIMO signal processing technologies.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.


Engineering work needed to keep the Gray Eagle ‘jamming’ | PAC-3 protects Mecca | US Navy buys more torpedoes


Insitu’s ScanEagle UAS Proves Effective as a Wildfire Suppression Resource

Insitu's press release

BINGEN, Wash., August 21, 2018 – Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company has been helping firefighters on wildfires in Oregon, providing information for fire suppression activities via its data collection, analysis and delivery capabilities.

Comprised of aviation professionals, Insitu’s Mobile Response Team has been operating its ScanEagle® Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to supplement manned aviation firefighting teams battling wildland fires. ScanEagle is a licensed and approved UAS operating in full compliance with FAA regulations and with the full approval of local, state and federal fire authorities.

A UAS team working on a fire consists of a vendor flight crew, as well as federal personnel who work together to meet the incident goals and objectives. The UAS Manager (a federal employee) provides the required communication between air and ground resources to facilitate safe and effective missions, while the Data Specialist (also a federal employee) works directly with the vendor flight crew and incident GIS Specialist (GISS) to ensure timely development/delivery of requested data products.

The ScanEagle teams “fly the gaps,” meaning they fly the UAS at night and over dense smoke and inversion conditions, when manned aircraft typically are grounded due to hazardous conditions for pilots. The ScanEagle team to date has logged more than 200 hours of night flight time during nearly 30 flights over the Garner Complex and Taylor Creek fires in Oregon.

The payload onboard the ScanEagle includes infrared sensors and electro-optical cameras that gather and disseminate geospatial imagery, and provide incident perimeter maps and full motion video. The sensors and cameras spot heat signatures, fire movement and spot fires, and provide video feed of critical infrastructure, historical buildings and other structures that might be in danger, as well as identifying safe ingress and egress routes for firefighters.

“Above all, our main mission is to help combat these unrelenting fires and help keep the firefighters, the residents and the communities safe,” explained Andrew Duggan, vice president, Insitu Commercial. “One of the benefits of flying UAS over difficult and rugged terrain is mitigating the need for firefighters to physically walk it when locating and extinguishing hot spots,” he continued. “By flying UAS at night, fire incident commanders have the advantage of significant fire intelligence and heightened situational awareness for their early morning planning meetings in determining where to most effectively and safely dispatch their resources and personnel.”

All ScanEagle UAS flights have been coordinated with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI).

About Insitu

Insitu is an industry-leading provider of information for superior decision making. With its headquarters in Bingen, Wash., and offices in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, the company creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and understanding sensor data. We proudly serve the diverse needs of our global customers in the defense, government and commercial industries. To date, our systems have accumulated more than one million flight hours. Insitu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

For more information, visit


Gulfstream Revolutionizes Patient Care With New Medevac Aircraft

  • 360-degree in-flight patient access, a medevac first
  • Advanced life-support capabilities (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation)
  • A bed designed to accommodate an infant incubator
  • A powered gurney loading system on aircraft stairs
  • X-ray viewing equipment
  • Refrigerated medical storage cabinets
  • Fold-out nurses’ seats for individual patient care
  • Crew rests with berthing
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HMS Queen Elizabeth sets off for F-35B fighter jet trials

press release

Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, departs her home port of Portsmouth today, bound for the USA to land fast jets on deck for the very first time.

Eight years since a British aircraft carrier last flew a fast jet from her decks, the 65,000-tonne carrier will embark two F-35B test aircraft, from the Integrated Test Force (ITF), based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Around 200 supporting staff, including pilots, engineers, maintainers and data analysts will be joined by two ‘orange wired’ test aircraft, belonging to the ITF, which are expected to conduct 500 take offs and landings during their 11-week period at sea.

The aim of these initial, or ‘developmental’ trials are to ascertain, through the specially equipped aircraft and sensors around the ship, the operating parameters of the aircraft and ship, in a range of conditions. Similar successful trials were conducted by HMS Queen Elizabeth at sea earlier this year for Rotary Wing aircraft.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
HMS Queen Elizabeth is a true statement of our national power, and the whole country can be proud to see this magnificent symbol of our engineering prowess and international ambition leaving port to sail onto the world stage.
Her voyage to America not only shows her global reach, but strengthens our special relationship with the US Forces who we have worked hand-in-hand with on this iconic programme. As she sails along the east coast of the USA, she will signal our determination to keep fighting alongside our allies in all corners of an ever more complex and uncertain world.

Four F 35B Lightning developmental test pilots, who are members of the ITF, will embark to fly the aircraft; three British, one American. The British personnel comprise a Royal Navy Commander, a Squadron Leader from the Royal Air Force and one civilian test pilot. They will be joined by a Major from the US Marine Corps.

The trials follow the recent arrival into the UK of the first joint Royal Navy, Royal Air Force F-35B jets, based at RAF Marham. ‘Operational testing’, utilising British F-35B aircraft are scheduled to take place on board HMS Queen Elizabeth next year.

The deployment, known as ‘WESTLANT 18’, will be the first-time HMS Queen Elizabeth will have sailed across the Atlantic. As well as the vital deck trials, it will also involve exercises to prove the ability to operate with other nations’ maritime and aviation assets, as well as the landing of Royal Marines and their equipment ashore in the United States, to conduct training with their US counterparts.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Commanding Officer, Capt Jerry Kyd said:
This deployment to the United States will be another first for my ship. Crossing a major ocean with 1500 sailors, aircrew and Marines embarked and the spectre of the first F-35B Lightning landing on the deck in September is very exciting for us all.
It has been an incredible journey since we left Rosyth just over a year ago and we are all looking forward to this next, seminal chapter in HMS Queen Elizabeth’s life.
HMS Queen Elizabeth departs for the USA to land fast jets on deck for the very first time. Crown copyright.
As the ship’s work-up continues, so too does the regeneration of the UK’s Carrier Strike capability. Commander UK Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG), Cdre Andrew Betton, will take command of the ship and other units of his task group, embarking in HMS Queen Elizabeth with his Carrier Strike Group headquarters staff.
He said:
As a critical step towards delivering the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group, this deployment demonstrates the astonishing collaborative effort that will enable the new F-35 jets to fly routinely from our Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
At the heart of the Maritime Task Group, the aircraft carrier is well protected and sustained, ready to operate around the world as a potent and exceptionally flexible instrument of our foreign policy. These first F-35B embarked trials in a UK aircraft carrier are not only key to future operational success, but represent an iconic moment for the modern Royal Navy.

The ship will conduct trials in UK waters over the coming days, before departing for the USA later this month. She will be joined by RFA Tiderace and Plymouth-based type-23 frigate HMS Monmouth, as well as Merlin Mk2 helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Culdrose, Mk 4 Merlins from 845 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton and a contingent of Royal Marines from 42 Commando, Plymouth.


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NASA examining US fighter pilot hypoxia problem


Fly high and far with Asia’s first fully solar-powered quadcopter drone created by NUS students

National University of Singapore's press release

Aircraft that can take off and land directly without the need for a runway – such as helicopters and quadcopters – are attractive for personal, commercial and military applications as they require less physical space and infrastructure compared to traditional fixed wing planes. A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has achieved a major step forward in stretching the capabilities of quadcopter drones by powering the flight solely by natural sunlight.

A first in Asia, the current prototype has flown above 10 metres in test flights – higher than a typical three storey building – utilising solar power with no battery or other energy storage on board.

This solar-powered drone, which was developed as a student project under the Innovation & Design Programme (iDP) at NUS Faculty of Engineering, can take-off and land vertically without a runway. Constructed using lightweight carbon fibre material, the quadcopter drone weighs only 2.6 kg, and has a surface area of about 4 sqm. It is fitted with 148 individually characterised silicon solar cells and supported by a frame equipped with four rotors.

A major aviation feat

Rotary winged aircraft are significantly less efficient at generating lift compared to their fixed wing counterparts. Hence, while there have been examples of solar airplanes in recent years, a viable 100 per cent solar rotary aircraft that can take-off and land vertically remains a major engineering challenge to date.

“Our aircraft is extremely lightweight for its size, and it can fly as long as there is sunlight, even for hours. Unlike conventional quadcopter drones, our aircraft does not rely on on-board batteries and hence it is not limited by flight time. Its ability to land on any flat surface and fly out of the ground effect in a controlled way also makes it suitable for practical implementation,” said Associate Professor Aaron Danner from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, who supervised the project.

The solar-powered quadcopter drone can be controlled by remote control or programmed to fly autonomously using a GPS system incorporated into the aircraft. The aircraft can potentially be used as a ‘flying solar panel’ to provide emergency solar power to disaster areas, as well as for photography, small package delivery, surveillance and inspection. Batteries can be incorporated to power the aircraft when there is no sunlight or for charging to take place during flight to enable operation when it is cloudy or dark. Other hardware such as cameras can also be included for specific applications.

Since 2012, eight NUS student teams have made successive design improvements and worked towards a fully-solar powered aircraft under the supervision of Assoc Prof Danner, who also holds a joint appointment at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore at NUS. The first solar-assisted quadcopter drone developed by students in 2012 could only achieve 45 per cent of flight power from solar cells and the rest from on-board batteries.

The latest team, comprising then-final year NUS Engineering students Mr Goh Chong Swee, Mr Kuan Jun Ren and Mr Yeo Jun Han, made further refinements to the earlier prototypes of the quadcopter drone. They eventually achieved a fully solar-powered flight with their latest prototype. The team members, who have just graduated from NUS in July 2018, were jointly supervised by Mr Brian Shohei Teo from the iDP programme for this project.

Mr Yeo said, “We encountered many engineering challenges when building the drone. These included finding an optimal number of solar cells efficient and light enough to power the propulsion system, which in turn has to be light and at the same time able to produce sufficient thrust to lift the aircraft. Other issues we faced included tuning and calibration of flight controls to enhance flight stability, as well as designing a frame that is lightweight yet sufficiently rigid. This has been an excellent learning opportunity for us.”

“To be able to make something fly under control for a long time is a very complex engineering problem. Our students have attained flight in its purest form, powered by natural sunlight. This is an amazing achievement,” said Mr Teo.

The team will continue to fine-tune the aircraft to further improve its efficiency. With these enhancements, they hope to bring the technology closer to commercialisation.