UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
07 Oct 08. Northrop Grumman Corporation flew its new Airborne Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) for the first time aboard an unmanned air vehicle. ASTAMIDS, which is in development for the U.S. Army, flew on Northrop Grumman’s new, company-owned MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned Air System helicopter, designated as “P6.” The ASTAMIDS-P6 flight took place at an Army test facility on September 12. There were two flights that day. Using a tactical common data link, the company team at the developmental Tactical Ground Segment, a ground-based payload control center, successfully operated the Payload Command and Control and Imagery Data Collection systems in ASTAMIDS while it was airborne.
28 Sep 08. The Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) at Avadi near Chennai has started developing unmanned infantry combat vehicle for carrying troops as a precursor to developing unmanned Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) by 2020. This information was given by CVRDE Director S Sundaresh on Saturday evening on the sidelines of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) India Students Convention, organised by the SRM University at its campus in suburban Kattankulathur, in Avadi. Speaking to reporters, Sundaresh said robotic technology was being incorporated in the Russian Infantry Combat Vehicles (BMP Vehicles), which was being manufactured at Medak Plant using Russian technology. A man base vehicle would control three unmanned vehicles to be used for surveillance, to detect nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and mines. The manned BMP vehicles being used by the Army would be converted into unmanned tele-operated autonomous vehicle, the prototype of which was demonstrated to the participants of the convention. (Source: Google)
06 Oct 08. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. along with its “Team Sky Warrior” partners AAI Corporation and L-3 Communication Systems-West, today announced the successful first-attempted automatic takeoffs and landings of a Sky Warrior® UAS controlled from the AAI-developed Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) One System® Ground Control Station (OSGCS). Three automatic landings were successfully executed at GA-ASI’s El Mirage Flight Operations Center in Adelanto, Calif., on August 29, followed by three successful automatic takeoffs on September 26. GA-ASI’s Sky Warrior aircraft was under full line-of-sight command and control through the L-3 Communication Systems-West Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). Automatic takeoff and landing utilizing TCDL represents a significant technical advancement in ER/MP UAS Program development and an important step in the maturation of diverse technologies prior to fielding the system, which is expected in July 2009.
Oct 08. The Australian government has confirmed that its revised strategy for the troubled Joint Project 129 tactical UAV project will be predicated on a military off the shelf (MOTS) solution. The government has also confirmed that it wants to operationally deploy the new tactical UAS into service in Afghanistan as soon as possible. Australian parliamentary secretary for defence procurement Greg Combet says that ‘Defence has now been tasked by the Minister to find an off the shelf solution that can be put in theatre as soon as possible.’In parallel the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has given internal approvals for the operational deployment of the BAE Systems Herti UAS into Afghanistan to gain experience in the use of unmanned systems ahead of its planned fielding of an endurance UAS in cooperation with the US navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance programme. The Herti deployment will be fully funded for a six month period, with partial monies coming from the Australian Army – using budget allocations originally set aside for the original JP129 acquisition project. An official Australian government announcement on the Herti deployment is expected later this year.