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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE 10/02/05

08 Feb 05. Northrop Grumman Corporation has begun ground and flight demonstrations of the new Hunter II medium altitude endurance UAV it has proposed as the U.S. Army’s next generation UAV system. The flights are being conducted at Libby Army Air Field here as part of a six-week-long flight demonstration between two competing air-vehicle designs selected for the Phase I System Concept Demonstration (SCD) phase of the Army’s Extended Range/Multi-Purpose UAV program. The SCD program is designed to demonstrate the maturity of the proposed UAV designs. Northrop Grumman’s SCD activities include a variety of ground and test flights to evaluate the Hunter II demonstrator air vehicle’s flight characteristics including speed, endurance, range and altitude. For the test program, the company is using three Hunter II demonstrator air vehicles, one of which is configured with a heavy fuel engine. The SCD competition is expected to culminate in a Phase II system development and demonstration contract awarded to a single contractor in the second quarter of 2005.

05 Feb 05. Vigilante UAV fires rockets while under control of UH-1 command helicopter. Under the Armed VTOL UAV Technology Integration program, AATD has been using the Vigilante UAV to explore concepts of operation for armed manned-unmanned helicopter teams. UAVs may be used to scout ahead of manned helicopters, finding and watching threats, designating targets with lasers for guided munitions fired from other aircraft or vehicles, or shooting the target themselves. Imagery confirming results can then be beamed back to manned team mates operating safely out of harms way. These successful launches of Hydra-70 rocket pave the way for integration of recently developed Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rockets and the addition of a laser designator to the existing Wescam 12DS-200 electro-optic/infra-red (EO/IR) sensor, making the lightweight UAV highly capable of prosecuting ‘soft’ targets such as unarmored vehicles and enemy personnel.

08 Feb 05. Northrop Grumman has selected Smiths Aerospace to supply the Landing Gear System for the X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) aircraft in a contract worth more than $150m over the program’s life. The first system delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2006 from Smiths’ Santa Ana, California facility. Dr. John Ferrie, President, Smiths Aerospace commented, “Smiths selection as a tier 1 supplier for the X-47B J-UCAS underscores the value of our recent acquisition of Integrated Aerospace. Our combined offering enable us to provide a complete landing gear system for the J-UCAS and for the rapidly expanding UAV market.” The X-47B J-UCAS landing gear system is uniquely designed to endure the challenges and rigors of catapult take-offs and arrested landings on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers at sea. Smiths is responsible for the design, development, certification and manufacturing of a fully integrated system. Due to the demanding mission profiles required for this advanced carrier platform, the landing gear system will incorporate the latest technology advancements in hydraulically actuated steering control as well as anti-skid braking systems and corrosion resistant materials. Smiths combined systems make it the largest non-partner equipment supplier to the X-47B J-UCAS.
— Landing Gear System (Santa Ana CA)
Holdback bar mechanism for the carrier catapult system (Yakima WA)
Retraction actuation for the landing gear (Los Angeles CA)
— Vehicle management computers
— Electrical power generation and distribution systems
— Mission management computers
— Remote input / output units
— Fuel measurement and management through partnership with
Argo-Tech
— Ground-based data link computer
(Source: FT)

Feb 05. Israel is backtracking on its commitment made to India over ‘reciprocal procurement’ of defence-related items, wavering over the purchase of Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA), Lakshya, and Advance

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