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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

07 Dec 07. MOD awards QinetiQ contract to deliver part of the major Watchkeeper UAV programme at ParcAberporth, West Wales. QinetiQ’s support for the development of the Welsh Assembly Government initiative at ParcAberporth in West Wales as a “Centre of Excellence” for UAV operations has been recognised by the UK Ministry of Defence by it awarding QinetiQ a contract worth up to £5m to deliver a critical part of the UK Watchkeeper UAV programme from this location.
The work package will include carrying out a variety of airborne test and evaluation elements at ParcAberporth over the next 18 months and the ajoining MOD Aberporth air range. Various ground based work will also be conducted using QinetiQ operated facilities at MOD Boscombe Down to enable a range of pre-flight activity including environmental and electromagnetic compatibility testing. This work supports and augments the wider UAV development programmes currently being investigated by QinetiQ and other Industry players along with the MOD. The contract will be administered through the West Wales UAV Centre, the teaming between QinetiQ and West Wales Airport, established a year ago to deliver UAV support services for both civil and military customers.

Dec 07. Flying fish were the inspiration for an unmanned seaplane with a 7-foot wingspan developed at the University of Michigan. Funded by the DARPA, it is designed to advance the agency’s “persistent ocean surveillance” program. Engineering researchers from U-M recently returned from sea trials off the coast of Monterey, Calif., where they demonstrated the craft’s capability to DARPA officials. The researchers named the robotic plane Flying Fish after its inspiration. Guy Meadows, director of the U-M Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories, conceived of the design while out on the water. “I saw these fish pop up and soar over the waves,” Meadows said.That got Meadows and his colleagues looking at sea birds for a design for their craft. (Source: Shephard)

12 Dec 07. Kongsberg Maritime AS, (wholly owned by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA) has, through its subsidiary Simrad North America Inc., Washington – USA, entered into an agreement to acquire the assets and business of Hydroid LLC (Hydroid) for approximately $80m on a debt-free basis. The purchase price may increase, depending on Hydroid’s performance in 2008 and 2009.

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