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Blue Bear Systems flies into the record books

16th July 2009 - 17:31 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


An unmanned aircraft developed by Bedford-based Blue Bear Systems Research opened the flying display at the prestigious RAF Waddington International Air Show held on 4 and 5 July 2009. It is the first time that an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) has ever flown autonomously (controlling its own flight) as part of a military flying display in the UK. 

The Blue Bear ‘Blackstart’ UAV flew around the air show beaming live video of some of the 170,000-strong crowd arriving at the RAF’s biggest air show to giant plasma screens below.  Flying autonomously by its onboard autopilot computer, the Blackstart navigated a path around the Lincolnshire airbase using a miniature Global Positioning System. During the Blackstart flight more conventional piloted aircraft continued to fly alongside the UAV, demonstrating the confidence the air traffic controllers have in the system.

The Blackstart, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV commonly known as a drone, was designed and built by Blue Bear Systems Research Limited, an innovative research and development consultancy that specialises in designing UAVs using cutting-edge technology. These are designed to transmit pictures to the ground, giving a bird’s eye view of terrain. Unmanned aircraft are often used for the most dangerous, dirty and dull military missions, allowing troops to spot the enemy, and also for civil purposes such as fire fighting.

Blue Bear Systems is working closely with the RAF Air Warfare Centre at Waddington to provide mission support to front line British troops, allowing them to work more safely and effectively. “Blue Bear has recently begun working with RAF Waddington  and was thrilled to have the opportunity to support the air show and demonstrate its state-of-the-art technology to the local community at the same time,” says Yoge Patel, Managing Director of Blue Bear Systems Research.

The Blackstart will be put through its paces again at RAF Spadeadam in Carlisle on Wednesday 22nd July 2009.

The Shephard News Team


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