This Past June the The 2017 Paris Air Show was a showcase of the latest in aviation, naturally this included a number of drones, mostly with military applications in mind.
The ScanEagle is Insitu’s prized drone which is now popular across the world. The UAV is 5 feet and uses a system that doesn’t need runways. It is great for awareness on battlefields, especially since they can fly for around 24 hours if tests are to be believed. Now, Boeing, which is the parent company of Insitu, is looking to make this drone more popular for peacetime uses. It has already been used for the last three years surveying Shell’s oil pipelines in Australia. Now as the drone has been cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration to be used for commercial purposes it is likely to be a hit. ScanEagle can be soon seen over other oilfields, scientific research fields and even cargo ships.
Kratos Defense and Security is a San Diego based company that said it will soon launch a new class of UAVs that represent the future of air combat at the Paris Air Show. The company did stay true to its word and launched the the XQ-222 Valkyrie, a 30 foot UAV that could deliver surveillance equipment or anything else to the most dangerous and difficult to access places. They are being marketed as fully functional unmanned jet fighters. These drones have a range of 3000 nautical miles which make them suitable to be used on many different types of missions.
Built by a Swiss company, the Skeldar V-200 is the only UAV to operate on the same fuel as other aircrafts making it an option air force buyers are looking for. The drone uses JP8 jet fuel and is being marketed as the navy fighter drone that can survey illegal fishing boats, submarines or used for various other naval and marine uses.
The French Aerospace research center said that radar-evading UAVs could be built by 2030 and that progress is happening on a project created for the same. The goal of the project is to build ‘the most stealthy drone possible’. What better place than the Paris Air Show to keep everyone updated about the promised project.
Drone vs missile
Newer models are looking at ‘munitions’. Israeli company Elbit Systems is launching its deadly SkyStriker “loitering munitions system”. This drone shaped like a small airplane can launch from a towed carrier, cruise on autopilot and can dive directly to its target. It is a combination of a drone and a missile and could indicate the future of UAVs.