UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
22 Jul 08. The Boeing Company announced an agreement to acquire Insitu, Inc., a pioneer in the unmanned air systems (UAS) market and leader in the design, development and manufacture of high-performance, low-cost UAS used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Boeing and Insitu have partnered since 2002 and together developed the successful ScanEagle™ UAS program, which has more than 100,000 operational flight hours with the U.S. Department of Defense and international customers. Insitu’s key technologies and advanced capabilities in rapid prototyping and manufacturing are driving its revenue to an anticipated $150 million this year, 70 percent higher than in 2007, and have it well positioned for the future. “Increasingly our customers are seeking advanced unmanned aerial solutions to address a wide range of requirements for ISR missions,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “The Boeing-Insitu team has been successfully delivering much-needed capability to the warfighter in a changing threat environment. Bringing these outstanding teams together will accelerate deployment of the next generation of unmanned systems to our U.S. and allied service members.” Terms of the cash transaction were not disclosed. This transaction, anticipated to close by the end of September following regulatory approvals, does not affect Boeing’s financial guidance. Once acquired, Insitu will be a separate subsidiary under Boeing Integrated Defense Systems’ Military Aircraft unit. It will retain an independent operating model while benefiting from Boeing’s vast resources.
16 Jul 08. The British Ministry of Defense is in talks with manufacturers to adopt game technology such as used on Xbox and PlayStation games consoles to train British troops to fly drones to spy on insurgents. The effort is designed to reduce the number of spy planes lost in crashes and save the British and American military approximately €250m between them. British and U.S. Air force operators currently navigate each armed unmanned aerial vehicle over Afghanistan or Iraq from a base outside Las Vegas, using an unwieldy joystick while watching pictures relayed from the drone’s nose-mounted camera. More than 40 Predator drones have crashed over the past five years, with two-thirds of the crashes caused by human error, due mainly to physical and mental exhaustion by operators. Research has indicated that console gamepads require far less energy than joysticks. The American defense firm Raytheon has now adapted gaming technology. Using the Xbox chip, they have been able to create a highly accurate computer-generated picture of all the earth’s terrain and cities. Mark Bigham, Raytheon’s developer of Tactical Intelligent Systems, says: “The gaming industry has now surpassed the defense industry in spending on this type of technology research and development.”(Source: Daily Telegraph)
21 Jul 08. The Office of Naval Research(ONR) recently awarded General Dynamics Robotic Systems a contract to develop the Common Launch and Recovery System (CLRS) for use on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). General Dynamics will use robotics and automation technologies to develop a method for launching and recovering unmanned maritime systems, such as unmanned boats and other watercraft, from the LCS.
Jul 08. Canada plans to bolster its forces in Afghanistan by providing more unmanned aerial vehicles, AUVSI-Canada says. Though the government has yet to release the award, Ottawa confirmed today that it would
spend $100m to lease UAS from MacDonald Dettweiler and Associates (MDA), of Canada, and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), who had offered a system based on IAI’s Heron vehicle. Anne Healey, executive director of AUVSI-Canada, expressed approval of the choice. “Canada is a world leader in uninhabited and autonomous capabilities,” she said. “The safety and security of the men and women of the Canadian Forces serv