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12 Aug 08. Northrop Grumman Corporation has selected Wind River VxWorks 653 as the device software platform for its X-47B Navy-Unmanned Aerial Combat System (N-UCAS). The platform will enable Northrop Grumman developers to rapidly create, deploy and maintain critical, Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) applications more reliably. The X-47B N-UCAS, as a carrier-capable, multi-mission, unmanned combat air vehicle is transformational. The US Navy’s program (Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration, or UCAS-D) is designed to mature critical technologies and reduce the risk of carrier integration of a UCAS while providing the information necessary to support a potential follow-on acquisition milestone decision. Wind River VxWorks 653 provides Northrop Grumman with a proven, safe and reliable solution for its safety-critical control systems. “We chose Wind River because of our successful past usage of VxWorks, and its forward-looking product strategy that allows us to migrate to ARINC 653 and secure Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) systems,” said Tighe Parmenter, Manager, X-47B Navy UCAS Business Strategy and Development, Northrop Grumman. “In addition, the platform enables reductions in device size, weight and power, thereby reducing significant design, engineering and production risks.” Wind River’s VxWorks 653 offers an industry-leading Certification Evidence DVD containing required documentation for the customer to deploy the VxWorks 653 real-time operating system in numerous safety-certified systems, with robust support for applications running at different safety levels on the same silicon. The platform also includes unique RTCA DO-178B-qualified development and verification tools that remove significant time, costs and risk for testing and deploying IMA systems.

02 Sep 08. Northrop Grumman Corporation is on track for the first flight of its revolutionary Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator for the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The first of two X-47B carrier demonstration system air vehicles is well over 50 percent complete and ahead of its build schedule, enabling this first flight in November 2009, just over 24 months from initial contract award. This is a historical step toward operating an unmanned combat aircraft aboard a Navy aircraft carrier. The X-47B UCAS-D will be the first ever unmanned tailless jet to land aboard a carrier. The flight test program will include catapult launch and arrested landings from the carrier, autonomous carrier control area operations, and precise movement of X-47B aircraft on the carrier flight deck. The first carrier landing and subsequent sea trials are planned to begin in November 2011.

02 Sep 08. The Canadian military will shut down its fleet of aerial drones now being used in Afghanistan after spending more than $250 million on the aircraft.
Defence Department officials will have to consider what to do next with the
Sperwer unmanned vehicles, but junking them or selling them to another country
would be among the options. Aerospace industry officials, however, say Canada won’t be able to get much of a return on its investment. Some $250m worth of Sperwers aerial drones, currently operating in Kandahar, are to be replaced in February by a larger drone, the Heron, pictured above. (Source: Google)

03 Sep 08. The axe is poised to fall on another troubled defence project, the $150m contract to buy unmanned aerial vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.
It is understood the Defence Materiel Organisation has recommended to Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon that the problem-plagued contract be axed. A formal announcement by Mr Fitzgibbon is expected later this week. The Israeli-built I-View 250 UAV system is dogged with technical problems and more than two years behind schedule. The relationship between the partners in the project, US aircraft builder Boeing and Israeli

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