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Robonic Ltd Oy has successfully demonstrated the high speed launch of representative unmanned air systems — Press Release

Robonic Ltd Oy has successfully demonstrated the high speed launch of representative unmanned air systems

Tampere, Finland, 11 May 2011.
Robonic Ltd Oy has successfully demonstrated the high speed launch of representative unmanned air systems in the 100 kg range at speeds of 70 meters per second. The demonstration launches, conducted in February 2011, are part of a continuing company program to expand the capability envelope of the Robonic pneumatic launcher family to meet the needs of new generation UAS and target drones. “We are committed to ensuring our launchers remain the solution of choice as market requirements evolve,” says Robonic Managing Director Juha Moisio.

Existing production Robonic launchers currently provide launch speeds of up to 55 meters per second for air vehicles in the 250kg maximum takeoff mass category and to approximately 38 meters per second in the 500kg range.

“Our research and development program is helping pave the way for the next generation of lightweight unmanned air systems and target drones,” says Moisio. Existing industry trends in UAS and target drone design are seeing a continued reduction in aircraft mass as well as increased endurance.

The potential for very high speed launch of lightweight UAS and target drones will directly support the continued opening up of a new market space for smaller and lower cost systems. Launch speeds in the range of 70 m/s per second will be essential to achieving the viability of this
notional new generation.

The achievement of 70 meters per second launch speeds will also provide new flexibility for existing UAS and target drones using Robonic hardware. “We can leverage these gains to provide improved launch speeds for existing air vehicles via combination of launcher modifications and new cradle types, with final performance remaining dependent on air vehicle weight”, added Moiso.

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Robonic Ltd Oy, based in Tampere, Finland, is a Sagem (Safran Group) owned engineering company that operates as the premier unmanned air system launcher manufacturer in Europe. So far, 12 different tactical UAVs and target drones have been launched off Robonic’s MC 2555
LLR catapult. Robonic’s track record of pneumatic launching technology spans over three decades. The company also operates a dedicated unmanned air vehicle flight test centre in Lapland at Kemijarvi, Finland.

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U.S. Army Continues Hellfire Launcher Production

The Hellfire missile is launched from U.S. attack and scout helicopters. It will eventually be replaced by the Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM). The original replacement Joint Common Missile (JCM) was canceled in 2007. Ocala.com reports that the U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin an option to build more Hellfire launchers as part of a 2007 contract. This extension is worth $31 million. Lockheed Martin builds launchers and parts for the launcher assemblies which are then put together by another company.

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Marines order more rockets and their launchers

Talley Inc, owned now by the Norwegian company Nammo, won a contract from the USMC to develop a launcher for 83mm rockets. The current system has been in use since 1984. The ammunition, currently produced by Talley, will remain the same, but a new system for firing the rockets from a Marine’s shoulder will be developed. The contract is for an initial buy of 146 launchers and 900 rounds of ammunition. Talley has produced over 40,000 rounds of this type. Nammo purchased the company last year as a way in to the US defense market.

See The Arizona Republic business site, here, for more on this contract.

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Future Combat Systems (FCS) technology acceleration good to Arizona

This article describes the economic effect of the Army decision to begin pushing components of the multi-system Future Combat System (FCS) out-the-door faster. Due to this decision several hundred million dollars are flowing to Arizona companies earlier then originally planned by the Army. The two systems with the most effect are the non-line of sight missile system that uses a box launcher with integrated fire control and several unmanned systems. The Army benefits two ways by this type of decision; first, they get needed technology upgrades into the field earlier; and secondly they get testing under real world conditions.

Picture by Derek Farr

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