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IDEX: Focus turns to unmanned systems

Posted 24 February 2015 · Add Comment

Unmanned technology was the central focus of the third day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) as a flying demonstration by many of the world's most sophisticated unmanned vehicles took to the skies in Tarif in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi as part of the 1st edition of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX) 2015.

Opened by H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, today’s flying demonstration on a purpose built airstrip at Tarif in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, provided companies with the opportunity to demonstrate take-off and recovery procedure as well as displaying sensor imagery on screens to the assembled audiences.

Also in attendance for the live performances were HE Major General Eissa Saif Mohammed Mazrui, Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, and a number of senior armed forces and international and regional delegations officers participating in IDEX 2015 exhibition.
Seven unmanned aircraft took part in the live show, including:

· ADASI S-100 Al Sabr – UAE (pictured right) - The Al Sabr system development was initiated in 2003 to answer a requirement of the UAE Armed Forces. The aerial vehicles are integrated with ground systems to provide real time information and communication, thus offering surveillance without risking the lives of military personnel. The platform for Al Sabr, the Schiebel Camcopter® S-100 was developed under a joint program between the UAE Government and Austria. The Al Sabr system is based on a fully autonomous vertical take-off and landing platform, providing a live video feed within a radius of 180km from the ground control station, as well as an ability to remain airborne for up to 10 hours. The footprint of the system is limited to 2 trucks (the Ground Control Station and a Transport Vehicle).

· Denel Seeker II – South Africa The battle-proven Seeker II system is a feature-packed UAV offering an engine with long service intervals, a 10-hour flight time, low noise levels, short take-off distance and a rapid rate of climb of 750 ft/min and an automatic takeoff and landing system.

· Insitu / Boeing Integrator – USA – The Integrator is designed to be a modular, flexible and multi-mission capable solution for both land and maritime operations. The aircraft’s six payload spaces can be customized with cameras, communication capabilities and other payloads to suit different operational needs. Its small size (4.8m wingspan) means no nets or runways are required to keep operational footprints small.

UMEX 2015 is the world’s only dedicated exhibition for unmanned vehicles and provides a professional platform for security and defence manufacturers to showcase new and advanced unmanned technologies together with their full utilization in military and integration in civilian domains. UMEX provides a showcase for the advanced technologies and sophisticated engineering solutions which respond to the global requirements of countries and military institutions around the world which have sought to develop their capabilities in this area.
Supported by the UAE Armed Forces and attended by regional government delegations, agencies, industry, military and civilian authorities, this year’s inaugural event sees the participation of 33 manufacturers of unmanned systems in air (UAVs), ground (UGVs), surface (USVs) and underwater (UUVs). The 2384m2 UMEX exhibition space shows the wide range of applications for unmanned vehicles in a range of military and civilian applications.
Part of UMEX 2015, the Unmanned Systems Conference, has provided industry leaders with the opportunity to share experiences and explore the latest trends and issues in the evolving role of unmanned systems in modern defence forces. Panel discussions included discussions on new applications and the latest trends in military and civilian applications; and how civilian bodies and commercial organisations have taken up the development of unmanned systems for a range of non-military settings including surveillance, weather systems and emergency response.
A number of eminent speakers delivered keynote addresses including Ali Al Yafei, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (ADASI) on how the UAE is investing in and developing unmanned technology and how its partnership approach is yielding positive results. Frank W. Pace, President – Aircraft Systems of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, explored new uses for unmanned systems in a defence setting. Kenneth Witcher, Dean of the College of Aeronautics at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University spoke at length on the need for skill development in operators to ensure that unmanned systems can be integrated into civilian airspace.

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