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30 Apr 08. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products and Elbit Systems of America, LLC, recently conducted the first U.S. demonstration of the Skylark(R) II Small Tactical /Tier II-class Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for representatives of the U.S. armed forces. The event was held at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The Skylark II UAS provides a covert, silent electric-propulsion system for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions and target tracking, making it unique among Tier II-class platforms. The air vehicle is virtually inaudible at 500 feet Above Ground Level (AGL), enabling
persistent ISR coverage for use in areas previously inaccessible to other air vehicles that have higher noise signatures or lower endurance capabilities. This battalion-level system fills the capabilities gap that exists between the small, company/platoon-level unmanned systems and the tactical, brigade-level UASs that are currently available.

28 Apr 08. Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected by the U.S. Army Communication-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command to produce the new multi-function radar for the Extended Range/Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Radar program. Under the terms of the initial $42m contract with the Command’s Robotics and Unmanned Systems Program Management Office, Northrop Grumman will deliver 10 STARLite(tm) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)/Ground Moving Target Indication radars to the Army.

30 Apr 08. General Atomics of San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a cost plus fee term contract for $177,082,588. This contract includes all programs management, urgent repairs and services, logistics support, configuration management, technical manual and software maintenance, engineering technical services, contractor engineering technical services, contractor engineering technical specialists (formerly field support representatives), contractor inventory control point (formerly depot supply support) and spares management, depot repair, flight operations support, reliability/maintenance enhancements, CAMs/REMIS/CEMS data collection/entry and numbered periodic depot maintenance for the Predator/Reaper MQ-1 and MQ-9 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) programs. At this time $163,082,588 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028 003502).

Apr 08. BAE Systems has shown, for the first time, how multiple unmanned air and land vehicles can work under the command of a number of battlefield commanders to deliver vital reconnaissance and surveillance information to front-line troops. The demonstration showed how two UGVs and two UAVs can pass information between themselves and their command centres, while allowing control of the vehicles to be passed between different command systems in real time. Andy Wright, Capability Augmentation Manager for BAE Systems, said that in battlefield situations, being able to seamlessly pass control of unmanned vehicles between different stations was vitally important. “In this kind of operation, it’s critical that the payload – in this case, vital surveillance and reconnaissance information – and that the tasking of an unmanned asset is transferred quickly and effectively between commanders on the battlefield.”The demonstration was part of BAE Systems’ Capability Augmentation Programme, and took place at Apex, the Company’s newly developed systems integration, visualisation and experimentation facility in New Malden. Using systems and software technology from across BAE Systems, including Aerosystems International, BAE Systems Australia, Integrated System Technologies, Electronic & Information Systems and Military Air Solutions, the demonstration allowed researchers to examine the technological challenges of managing multiple unmanned air and ground vehicles in a manned environment, de-conflicting UAV flight paths and planning and re-planning missions based on new mission goals and threats.

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