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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

27 Jun 05. Raytheon Company has installed the first dual mode radar for the ASTOR system, a major milestone for this U.K. ground surveillance and reconnaissance program. The ASTOR Dual Mode Radar, a key element of the U.K. MoD’s new, highly sophisticated, long range airborne surveillance system, will be carried on board a modified Bombardier Global Express aircraft designated by the MoD as SENTINEL R Mk 1. The active array ASTOR radar is capable of generating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery of various resolutions along with advanced moving target indicator modes. The radar imagery and moving target data can be simultaneously exploited and displayed on the ASTOR workstations in both the air and ground segments.

06 Jun 05. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has expanded the scope of its activity through merger with General Atomics Reconnaissance Systems. “The seamless integration of aircraft with sensor and weapon systems is crucial to providing comprehensive and timely solutions for the war fighter. It is also essential to providing more effective support for the ground forces”, stated Neal Blue, Chairman and CEO of the combined enterprise. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, established by General Atomics Company in 1991, became an affiliate of General Atomics in 1993 and produces the Predator, Predator B Marauder, I-GNAT, and Altair series of UAV systems for US Government and allied international customers. The company also provides pilot training and support services for field operations on an international basis. General Atomics Reconnaissance Systems produces the Magnum (Lynx) high resolution SARIGMTI, Lynx II and Lynx ER radar systems and integrates the Magnum EO-IR high resolution imagery systems developed by General Atomics’ Photonics Division. The company also The Aircraft Systems Group consisting of current GA-ASI employees will report to Tom Cassidy as President. The Reconnaissance Systems Group consisting of Reconnaissance Systems employees will report to Linden P. Blue as President.
Comment: is this move a management-led move to save costs and streamline the business or is it a ‘tidying up’ move to allow the ‘mystery suitor’ to buy the Aircraft Systems Group, leaving the other high-tech businesses separate? (See BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 19, 12th May 2005, Is a mystery suitor stalking General Atomics?)

24 Jun 05. A Boeing X-45A unmanned aircraft completed its 52nd flight recently, demonstrating its ability to adapt to a realistic and changing wartime operational environment. During the test flight, a Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) X-45A departed from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., climbed to 29,000 ft. and entered the base’s test range. While flying the mission, several simulated Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) emitters were activated and the unmanned aircraft autonomously created its own flight plan to remain out of lethal range of the simulated SAM sites. Always managed by the pilot-operator, the X-45A then attacked its simulated priority ground target and showcased the ability to suppress enemy air defenses. Once the aircraft had conducted a simulated battle damage assessment, the X-45A safely returned to Edwards.

27 Jun 05. Atmospheric Glow Technologies, Inc. (AGT) has been awarded a SBIR Phase II contract for $750,000 by the United States Air Force to demonstrate flight control of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) using its patented plasma actuator technology. This contract builds upon previous awards, and according to the project director, Dr. Alan Wintenberg, “Plasma actuators have the potential to revolutionize the ways in which UAVs are constructed, deployed and used.”

30 Jun 05. On June 27, Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) demonstrated fully autonomous flight, operational flexibility and showcased the complete U.S. Navy system architectu

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