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26 Nov 07. The Boeing Company has successfully demonstrated for the first time that an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) can be recovered by an underway submerged submarine, opening up new possibilities for advanced naval operations.
During recent tests, a U.S. Navy attack submarine launched the AN/BLQ-11 UUV from one of its torpedo tubes. The vehicle, formerly called the Long-term Mine
Reconnaissance System (LMRS), then returned to the vessel, where the system’s robotic arm retrieved it into the submarine. “With this recent success, Boeing has taken another important step in UUV development by demonstrating that the unmanned vehicle can return to the submarine and be recovered by a robotic arm,” said Dan Jones, director of Boeing Advanced Information Systems, a division of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. “This milestone represents a critical next step for the U.S. Navy and opens the door for a whole new set of advanced submarine missions.” The at-sea UUV tests follow earlier assessments during which Boeing and the Navy proved that the UUV could successfully home and dock with the system’s robotic arm, while the submarine was underway. This milestone was achieved with a U.S. Navy attack submarine on its first attempt and repeated two days later on the second attempt. The AN/BLQ-11 system demonstrated all of the elements required for a complete UUV launch and recovery evolution. The U.S. Navy then secured from testing after having met all test objectives in half the allotted time.

Nov 07. Aptima, Inc. announced the award of three contracts for developing technologies to improve the control and functions of unmanned air, land, and sea vehicles (UxVs) and their integration into military operations. The Army and Navy contracts address a continuum, scaling from how individual unmanned vehicles, such as drones, can be operated with fewer personnel, to the coordination of teams of UxVs used in joint military operations. Having evolved from a battlefield curiosity to today’s use in urban warfare – for surveillance, to detect and disarm IEDs, and as weapons systems – UxVs are a key part of the US military’s transformation. The pursuit of a ‘mixed initiative’ force of the future that combines humans and robotics requires that unmanned vehicles systems possess 1) greater intelligence by learning from humans, and 2) that human operators wield greater control over the types and number of unmanned air, land and sea vehicles that can be coordinated simultaneously across missions. (Source: Shephard)

27 Nov 07. The Galileo Avionica (Finmeccanica) FALCO System has successfully completed an intense program of mission testing by an international launch customer, during which it fulfilled all the requirements specified in the contract, enabling it to demonstrate optimal operational functionality. The FALCO System is composed of four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the TUAV/MAE category, a Ground Control Station (GCS), a Ground Data Terminal (GDT) and Ground Support Equipment (GSE). The FALCO System was validated after very successful trials lasting 15 months which were carried out in three different continents (Africa, Europe, Asia), under the most diverse climatic and operational conditions. In particular, during the 18 flight tests made by the End User, the FALCO System carried out a Surveillance mission with a maximum payload which lasted 9 hours and 15 minutes. This performance shows that, by using an auxiliary fuel tank, the maximum range for the System would therefore exceed the 14 hours previously anticipated. All the main functional requirements for Surveillance missions have been fully demonstrated. Of great importance are the results obtained which included:
* Collecting and controlling data on a 200 Km redundant link between the Ground Control Station and the FALCO air vehicle, through a jam-resistant transmission in real time
* An operational ceiling of a maximum of 6000 meters
* Auton

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