UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
26 Sep 07. NATO sets standards for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. A NATO working group has now established common standards on the technical integrity of design and construction for fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, known as UAVs. These common standards were recently drawn up in the framework NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD). Currently special fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with a take-off weight between 150 kg to 20 000 kg do not operate under a common set of aviation standards. However, by agreeing to the new standards, UAVs from one country should enjoy easier access to other country’s airspace because a key uncertainty regarding the airworthiness of that UAV will have been resolved. The NATO Working Group has over the past 18 months, in cooperation with UAV specialists from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States put forward a set of codes which has been dubbed the “USAR – UAV Systems Airworthiness Requirements”. The USAR code, which represents the first international initiative to agree on common UAV airworthiness rules, was based on a French proposal to take a current standard for manned aircraft and adapt it to suit the characteristics of UAVs. The initiative is being formally considered by all the member countries for approval as a NATO Standardized Agreement (STANAG), though it is anticipated that some member countries will adopt the USAR for their internal use even before a decision has been formally adopted by NATO. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are mainly used for military purposes, such as combat situations to perform surveillance over areas and other intelligence gathering operations in theatre. A small number of UAVs are also used for civilian purposes such as natural disasters.
18 Sep 07. iRobot Corp. announced two Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) delivery orders totaling $19m for 128 additional bomb-disposal robots to be shipped to U.S. forces overseas. These latest awards bring the total value of NAVSEA orders placed to date to $94 million. iRobot expects to deliver the additional iRobot(r) PackBot(r) Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) robots by mid-2008. Under the terms of the previously existing Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract, the military could order up to the full $264 million value in robots, spare parts, training and repair services. The U.S. military’s MTRS program has requirements for up to 1,800 robots through 2012. (Source: ASD Network)
18 Sep 07. US Army selects Robotic FX for UGV requirement. Robotic FX has won a $280m contract to deliver an urgent operational requirement (UOR) for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to the US Army, despite pending lawsuits from competitor iRobot. The contract, which could total 3,000 UGVs for surveillance, reconnaissance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) missions, forms part of a US Army strategy to increase its number of small UGVs for cave clearance and improvised explosive device (IED) detection. (Source: Jane’s)
Sep 07. Only 7 of 42 entries qualify for 2007 UAV Outback Challenge. Final qualification of entries to the 2007 UAV Outback Challenge have been accepted. Of the 42 original nominations only 7 teams have successfuly demonstrated the required level of capability to compete. Four search and rescue teams will attempt to find a lost bushwalker near Kingaroy using autonomous air vehicles, while three outstanding Queensland High School teams will demonstrate precision payload delivery at the airport. http://www.uavoutbackchallenge.com.au. (Source: Shephard)
25 Sep 07. General Atomics of San Diego, Calif. is being awarded a contract modification for $45,503,158. This action will provide for 10 Predator MQ-1B Aircraft, Aircraft Spares, RSP kits, Hellfire Missile Kit Installation, IMA’s and core tasks. At this time $33,672,337 has been obligated. For more information please call (937) 904-6986. 658 AE