UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
29 Aug 07. Unmanned vehicles equipped with on-board sensor data processing capabilities developed by Augusta Systems Inc. successfully “swarmed” during recent field tests and demonstrations, operating autonomously, with limited intervention by human operators. Augusta Systems, which provides technologies for distributed, intelligent networks featuring data from edge assets, participated in the Naval Air Systems Command sponsored tests and demonstrations, held at a National Aeronautics and Space Administration facility on Wallops Island, Va. For the tests and demonstrations, components of Augusta Systems(R) SensorBridge(TM) and SensorPort(TM) products were combined with other commercial products, including mesh networking technologies from Motorola and ITT Corporation, to form a payload computer installed on-board four unmanned ground vehicles and two Aerosonde Mk III unmanned aerial vehicles from AAI Corporation, a United Industrial Corporation subsidiary. (Source: Shephard)
31 Aug 07. More Delays for U.S. UAV Decision. The decision on whether the U.S. Air Force should have executive agency over mid- and high-flying UAVs has been delayed until at least Sept. 13, when the Deputy’s Advisory Working Group (DAWG) is next scheduled to meet. Co-chaired by Gordon England, U.S. deputy defense secretary, and Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the DAWG failed to reach a decision on the issue after an Aug. 28 meeting. Sources involved in the decision said executive agency was discussed at the most recent meeting, but that questions remain. No decision is expected until after the next DAWG meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 13. For years, Air Force officials have argued their service should oversee UAV procurement as well as operations to better deconflict the growing numbers of unmanned vehicles flying in the increasingly crowded airspace over battlefields. The Army and Marines have countered that ground troops should control not only the acquisition but the operation of their own UAVs to more effectively support their fast-moving tactical operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The battle gained pace after a July 16 memo from Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, then the vice chairman of the Joint Staff, which recommended the Air Force be granted executive agent status over the procurement of UAVs that fly at altitudes of more than 3,500 feet. Giambastiani, who retired July 27, specified, however, that each service would retain operational control over their unmanned aircraft. Immediately after that decision was made, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps protested, asking England to make the final call himself. (Source: Defense News)
Aug 07. AeroVironment awarded $16m contract to support RQ-11 Raven UAV. Aero Vironment Corp.*, Monrovia, Calif., was awarded on Aug. 30, 2007, a $16,385,429 firm-fixed-price contract for logistical support to RQ-11 unmanned aerial systems (Raven). Work will be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bid solicited on July 31, 2007, and one bid was received. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-0338). (Source: Shephard)
30 Aug 07. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. announced that its Predator® A UAS series has surpassed the 300,000 flight hour milestone, with over 80 percent of that time spent in combat. The milestone was achieved by P-137 on August 12 while it performed an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This particular aircraft has flown over 145 combat missions in the year and a half it has been deployed.
04 Sep 07. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has successfully completed wind tunnel testing on a model of its Mariner® unmanned aircraft. GA-ASI conducted aerodynamic testing of the Mariner