UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
07 Aug 07. Top U.S. Navy Buyer: Unmanned Vehicles Crucial. U.S. Navy acquisition czar Delores Etter stressed the importance of developing unmanned systems to enhance future naval capabilities in a speech Aug. 7 at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual North American conference in Washington. Underwater, surface and aerial drones have become big-ticket acquisition programs for the Navy. On Aug. 1, the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $636m contract to build the service’s Unmanned Combat Air System. The UCAS demonstrator is intended to provide unmanned long-range strike capabilities from an aircraft carrier. The system will be composed of two low-observable drones, two mission-control segments and a support segment. The system will be capable of autonomous launch, recovery and operations in the Carrier Control Area, a Naval Air Systems Command statement explains. UCAS flight testing is scheduled to begin in late 2009 with carrier flight operations slated for 2013, according to the Navy’s current plan. In her speech Aug. 7, Etter also discussed the Northrop-built Fire Scout vertical takeoff-and-landing unmanned aerial vehicle. The Fire Scout is intended for use on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and the new DDG-1000 class of destroyers but could also be used on several other platforms, she noted. (Source: Defense News)
06 Aug 07. The U.S. Air Force has recently taken delivery of its initial AeroVironment, BATMAV micro unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which include the Wasp III air vehicle, as planned under the Air Force Beyond Line of Site (BLOS) program. AV received the BATMAV, or Battlefield Air Tactical Micro Air Vehicle, award in December 2006 after competing against a number of candidate systems. AV recently received orders for 30 systems through the program’s indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract which provides for purchases of up to $45m over a period of five years.
07 Aug 07. India Seeks Israeli Help To Fill Unmanned Combat Helicopter Need. The Indian Navy is exploring collaboration between local and Israeli defense companies to develop unmanned combat helicopters, according to Defence Ministry
sources here. Adm. Sureesh Mehta, chief of the Indian Navy, and Vice Adm. David Ben Bashat discussed the possible joint development and other defense programs Aug. 7 during Bashat’s visit here, the first official visit to India by an Israel Navy chief. The Indian Navy has projected a requirement for 30 to 50 unmanned combat helicopters. Indian-Israeli defense ties have been on the rise since 1999 and are generally shrouded in secrecy. Israel is working on a number of high-tech programs for the Indian military, including the co-production of nuclear-capable cruise missiles, air defense systems and anti-ballistic missile systems. The country is the largest supplier of UAVs for the Indian Defence Forces. India also is keen to lease an advanced dedicated military satellite from Israel, Navy sources here said. However, no details on the matter are available, and it is not known whether the matter was discussed during the Israel Navy chief’s visit. The Indian Navy has the Israeli Barak air defense system and is also developing an extended-range Barak along with India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation. (Source: Defense News)
07 Aug 07. An Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle crashed off base Tuesday at approximately 8 p.m. local time. This was the second Predator to crash in Iraq in two days. Hostile activity does not appear to be a factor in either crash. The crash site is in an unpopulated area and no collateral damage or injuries occurred. A board will be convened to investigate the incident. The aircraft is a medium-altitude long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft. The MQ-1’s primary mission is conducting armed reconnaissance. Balad Air Base, Iraq (AFNS) – An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle crashed at the end of the