UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
05 May 08. Lockheed Martin has filed an official protest against the U. S. Navy’s decision to award Northrop Grumman the contract to build a long-range drone aircraft. The Global Hawk from Northrop Grumman was selected to be the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance drone for the U.S. Navy. (Northrop Grumman) “Information provided to us during our debrief indicated that we offered a technically compliant and awardable solution at significantly lower cost, leading us to request a Government Accountability Office review,” Lockheed said in a statement released shortly after the protest was filed on the morning of May 5. The Navy announced April 22 that Northrop’s RQ-4N Global Hawk won a three-way competition to build the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft, a key element of the service’s move to upgrade its oceangoing patrol planes. Lockheed was paired with General Atomics in offering the Predator UAV, a version of the Predator B UAV. (Source: Defense News)
07 May 08. General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Incorporated of San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a cost plus fixed fee contract for $5,948,515. This contract action will provide support for the Lynx Continuous Look Attack Management Predator Reaper MQ-9. At this time $2,619,712 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028 0043).
06 May 08. WATCHKEEPER UAV undertakes maiden flight. Thales UK today announces the successful first flight of the WATCHKEEPER unmanned air vehicle (UAV) platform. The WATCHKEEPER UAV, flown for the first time on 16 April from Megido airfield in northern Israel, is the first produced air vehicle, designed and built to meet the demanding requirements of the UK MoD.
May 08. RCV Engines Ltd has won a second major contract from leading American defence and aerospace manufacturer, Honeywell, to produce a rotating cylinder valve engine for its backpack-sized Micro Air Vehicle (MAV). This follows on from a successful development and testing programme begun in December 2006, using the highly innovative rotating cylinder valve engine technology developed and patented by the company at its base in Wimborne, Dorset, UK. The MAV is being developed by Honeywell as part of an advanced technology programme promoted by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), with whom RCV has worked since 1999. Military uses of the MAV include the clearance of mines and other munitions, as well as general surveillance and reconnaissance work. In addition to its intended military roles, the MAV also has numerous potential civilian applications, including border monitoring, fighting forest fires, geological surveying and even filming sporting events. A crucial advantage of RCV engine technology for application in the MAV is its inherent capability to operate on standard military grade JP8 fuel, avoiding the need for troops to carry additional and potentially more dangerous gasoline fuel supplies. Indeed, as the Single Fuel Concept (SFC) applied by the US Department of Defense requires that US forces use solely JP8 fuel while on deployment, RCV engine technology is also an ideal candidate for many other small military engine requirements such as mobile generator sets. The 60 cc RCV engine – as shown at last August’s AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America exhibition in Washington – has been successfully completed. For the next stage of development of the MAV application, the engine will be upgraded to a 70cc unit, developing 4.9 hp running at 8000 rpm (compared with 4.3 hp at 8200 rpm for the previous version). (Source: Google)
06 May 08. Foster-Miller has delivered the 2,000th TALON® robot to the U.S. military. More TALON robots are deployed with the U.S. military than any other robot. (Source: Shephard)