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29 Jul 11. ONR lightens battery load of its EOD units. The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has developed a power system that significantly reduces the 50 lb (22.7 kg) of batteries the service’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams have been carrying across Iraq and Afghanistan. The office created the system in response to an EOD unit’s request for a lightweight device to charge its specialised equipment. Five examples of the new system, called the Power Management Kit (PMK), were delivered on 22 July to EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 2 (EOD TEU 2) for a “trial”, according to an ONR announcement. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

10 Aug 11. Rockwell Collins recently hosted more than 50 users of its ground radio systems during the inaugural GRC Users Day Conference in Charleston. Customers received updates on the new 721S Fixed Site Ground radio and SMART Blade™ Radio systems. These systems are available to replace the existing GRC-171 units now deployed around the world in ground-to-ground, ground-to-air and ship-to-shore communications.
The 721S radio is a drop-in replacement for the GRC-171 that literally takes only five minutes to install, weighs 60 percent less than its predecessor, and offers updated technology. The 721S radio is fully interoperable with the legacy radios in use by coalition forces, offers remote control features for “lights out” operation thereby reducing manpower needs, and enables seamless co-site interference mitigation. The radio also features Rockwell Collins’ patented Clarity™ feature, which eliminates background noise in both transmit and receive modes.
The SMART Blade™ radio system features a smaller, V/UHF “blade” architecture enabling customers in the Air Traffic Control community to upgrade their existing facilities and greatly reduce the current footprint of the existing GRC-171 based system.
“We received great customer feedback at the event,” said Troy Brunk, senior director of Airborne and Fixed Site Communication Products. “When we offer a simple drop-in upgrade like this for a proven product, our customers don’t have to wait for additional system integration work to incorporate the new capability into their systems.”
According to Brunk, the success of this initial conference could lead to additional industry days to raise customer awareness of other simple upgrades for their existing Rockwell Collins equipment. Attendees also expressed interest in other Rockwell Collins V/UHF communication solutions. “As budget constraints change the defense marketplace in the United States and around the world, Rockwell Collins is seizing opportunities to cost effectively upgrade customer’s existing equipment,” said Brunk.

16 Aug 11. Raytheon Company has upgraded the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) nodes for the Kansas and Indiana Air National Guard with the latest net-centric, cost-efficient and service-interoperable capabilities. The DCGS upgrade allows the Guard’s 181st and 184th Intelligence Wings to process data from the Predator, Global Hawk and U2 aircraft. The upgrade provides a two-fold increase in imagery processing capability and also gives the Air Force DCGS enterprise more capacity and flexibility for high-altitude missions, reducing operating and maintenance costs as well as costs associated with future upgrades. Because Raytheon’s next evolution of the system is Web-enabled, it can more easily integrate applications and workflow, allowing the system to be readily updated with the latest technology as mission tactics change. In addition, Air Force and Army users will have access to each other’s data, making intelligence gathering and command and control of ISR situational awareness more effective. The Guard nodes in Kansas and Indiana are, respectively, the third and fourth U.S. Air Force sites to enhance system capabilities — and also re

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