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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

08 Aug 08. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA ASI) and BAE Systems will jointly develop architecture to automate the detection and identification of ground battle targets. The companies will jointly integrate the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Continuous Look Attack Management for Predator® (CLAMP) program under a $6m Air Force contract. CLAMP will integrate a high-resolution Lynx® synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with other sensors on an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft under an effort called C-RIP, for CLAMP-Reaper Integration Program. GA-ASI builds the Reaper aircraft and Lynx radar. The C-RIP sensors will evaluate imagery collected by the radar during Reaper surveillance operations, detecting changes in the battle space, classifying enemy vehicles, and displaying results to analysts on the ground. “This architecture is a significant leap forward in that it allows the synthetic aperture radar operator to use high-resolution imagery of the Lynx radar in parallel with other MQ-9 sensors,” said Linden Blue, president of GA-ASI’s Reconnaissance Systems Group. “This program will enhance efficiency of image analysis by providing automated exploitation tools.” General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and BAE Systems in late 2007 signed a memorandum of understanding that joins GA-ASI’s development of reconnaissance sensors and sensor control systems for unmanned aircraft systems with BAE Systems’ expertise in sensor data processing and exploitation. “BAE Systems’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance exploitation systems will maximize the capabilities of the GA ASI sensor and sensor control systems for unmanned aircraft systems such as Reaper,” said Nils Sandell, vice president of advanced information technologies for BAE Systems in Burlington, Massachusetts. “Combining our expertise, we can provide improved capabilities to ensure the effectiveness and safety of U.S. armed forces.”

11 Aug 08. Two-foot long vertical takeoff UAVs, 30-pound tactical robots equipped with infrared cameras, and groups of small, static ground sensors all sent battlefield images in real time through a high-bandwidth network from a
mock-combat village set up near Fort Bliss, Texas, to U.S. Army Future Combat
Systems (FCS)-networked Humvees several hundred yards away. A recent live exercise near Fort Bliss, Texas, was the first time FCS technologies were tested with infantry brigade combat teams in tactical, combat-like scenarios. (Army) It was a significant step for the FCS network, which used software-programmable Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS), high-bandwidth Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) and next-generation FCS computer technology to move images and information with greater effect than previously demonstrated, said Brig. Gen. James Terry, Director Future Force Integration Directorate, Fort Bliss. (Source: Defense News)

12 Aug 08. MoD scraps £227m Phoenix spy drone that hated heat and landed upside-down. As a spy drone, it had its disadvantages. To land, it had to flip on its back. It could not operate in extreme heat or in thin air and became known as the “bugger off” because it frequently did, never to return. The Phoenix unmanned air vehicle, which cost an estimated £300,000 each and was brought into service with the British Army in 1998 after a protracted development programme, is now officially dead. MPs on the Commons Defence Committee revealed in a report published last week that the Phoenix, which provided target information for the Army’s artillery regiments from an operating height of about 9,000ft, was unable to cope with the heat in Iraq when it was deployed in 2003. It had to be used only in the cooler months. The Ministry of Defence also confirmed that it was never sent to Afghanistan because the air was too thin there. The Phoenix has now been taken out of service and replaced by a more sophisticated aerial spy platform called Hermes 450. The MPs said that the Hermes had to b

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