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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

21 Nov 07. The European Defence Agency is planning to spend up to €6m ($8.8m) on new unmanned air vehicle initiatives in 2008 under funding arrangements agreed by European Union defence ministers meeting in Brussels on 19 November. The UAV spend will be dominated by the launch of a demonstrator project aimed at securing access to non-segregated airspace from 2012. The EDA is negotiating with the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) to prepare a roadmap to guide the initiative. In parallel the EU defence ministers have endorsed plans for the development of common European staff targets for long-endurance UAVs and maritime surveillance UAVs. Proposals for initial development of a common civilian and military ground architecture for handling endurance UAV systems have also been backed as part of plans for the EDA initiative to be mirrored by parallel work to be funded by the European Commission. The EDA’s planned €6m UAV projects spend remains subject to further review by the steering board as key projects advance over the next 12 months. In a written report prepared by EDA head Javier Solana, the armaments czar has advised the ministers that initial study deliverables will be in place “by spring 2008”.(Source: Flight International)

09 Nov 07. Iraq lessons prompt re-think of US Army UAV roles. The phenomenal growth in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations in Iraq has prompted a fresh look within the US Army about the role of UAVs in combat. By the end of the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2007, army UAVs had flown a total of 295,181 hours in Iraq, nearly 18 per cent of the total hours flown by the army aviation fleet. (Source: Jane’s)

Nov 07. ITM Power plc, the technology and research company focused on the commercialisation of the hydrogen economy, is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Boeing Research & Technology Europe S.L. to prepare a Preliminary Design of an Environmentally Friendly Refuelling Station for Fuel Cell Powered Unmanned Air Vehicles. Jim Heathcote, CEO ITM Power, said: “We are pleased to be working with Boeing and believe this is an interesting agreement for both parties. At the moment, this does not imply a commercial tie-up, does not guarantee any on-going commercial relationship and is a small financial transaction, but it does represent early stage commercial revenues for ITM.” (Source: Shephard)

20 Nov 07. AeroVironment, Inc. announced that the U.S. Marine Corps has ordered $19.3m in BATMAV (Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle) systems, each consisting of two Wasp III micro air vehicles, AV’s Advanced Battery Charger, spares and support services. The order followed a successful Marine Corps evaluation of Wasp systems provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. The Marine Corps will procure the BATMAV systems through the Air Force BATMAV contract, which was awarded to AV in December 2006 and provides a means for other U.S. armed services to procure these systems. The Marine Corps plans to issue Wasp III systems to the battalion for deployment at the platoon level, representing a basis of issue that is lower in the force structure than that of AV’s Raven small unmanned aircraft system. “The small size and light weight of Wasp make it ideally suited for deployment directly to platoons, where flexibility, portability and reliability are critically important. We have been evaluating Wasp for some time, and believe that it offers a unique new capability to support our Marines’ missions around the world,” said U.S. Marine Corps Major James Roudebush, Tier I UAV Program Manager, PMA-263. “These Wasp systems, like the Ravens and Dragon Eyes, help our teams operate more successfully and ultimately help protect their lives.” “The planned deployment of Wasp to the platoon level reflects its value to the warfighter,” said John Grabowsky, executive vice president and general manager, AV Unmanned A

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