Sat, Dec 08, 2012
Modified Diamond DA42MNG Airplane Will Be A Military Test Bed
The world's first production Optionally-Piloted Aircraft (OPA) system has been delivered by Aurora Flight Sciences to Switzerland's Department of Defense. The Centaur OPA, flown by an onboard crew in FAA Normal Category, departed the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia on November 26 for delivery to armasuisse at the Emmen Military Airfield in Switzerland. It arrived at Emmen on November 28.
The Centaur OPA is a new type of aircraft that can be flown in both manned and unmanned configurations. A third flight configuration, the hybrid mode, allows for control from the ground with a safety pilot onboard the aircraft. The capability to fly both manned and unmanned missions creates a system with optimal flexibility for the operator. The hybrid flight mode facilitates flight operations that are identical to an unmanned aircraft by utilizing a safety pilot to watch for other aircraft or take over control in an emergency.
Armasuisse is the official procurement agency of the Swiss Department of Defense and operates its own Flight Test Center. Upon installation of the OPA equipment and site preparation of Aurora's Ground Control Station in January 2013, armasuisse will use Centaur as a flying test bed. Initial projects include new sensors as well as sense and avoid equipment required to operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the entire Swiss National Air Space (NAS). The Swiss are leaders in the development of UAS operations in complex and dense airspace. Following hybrid mode flight tests in Virginia and Switzerland, armasuisse will have the ability to operate Centaur unmanned in March 2013.
The Centaur OPA's unique design with its hybrid flight mode make it an ideal platform for research and development. Centaur is based on the successful Diamond Aircraft DA42MNG, a four-seat twin-engine heavy fuel aircraft specifically designed to deploy airborne sensors. Centaur is the world's first OPA to retain its FAA and EASA Normal Category Airworthiness Certification in the manned flight mode with the ability to provide its full functionality for unmanned flight. The conversion between manned and unmanned flight modes only takes four hours to complete. Centaur is able to carry its own ground control station, making it the world's first self-deployable unmanned aircraft system.
"Centaur is an ideal platform for Switzerland's initiative to develop new technologies that will enable UAV operations in the Swiss National Air Space," said Dr. John Langford, Aurora Flight Sciences' Chairman and CEO. "Coupled with our recent selection by the US Navy for the AACUS program and by DARPA and Raytheon for the PCAS program, Centaur establishes Aurora as the industry leader in Optionally-Piloted Aircraft technology."
(Image provided by Aurora Flight Sciences)
Innovative Aerodynamic Technologies Produce Game-Changing Results At the NBAA 2013 convention, ANN CEO and Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell had a chance to talk with Tamarack Aerospac>[...]
Seawings The largest flying boat reference web site and home of the flying boat -- in detail -- on the web; specializes in providing information for the scale modeler in the form o>[...]
Pressure altitude corrected for nonstandard temperature. Density altitude is used in computing the performance of an aircraft and its engines.>[...]
“This upgrade is an important step in laying the foundation for the NextGen system, which provides controllers a much more precise view of the airspace, gives pilots much mor>[...]
Get A Customized ANN News Portal For YOUR Website! As we promised, the ever-so-busy software geeks at ANN have been working overtime on a number of cool new tools and toys... and t>[...]