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27 Oct 08. Recent Air Force reconnaissance missions in Iraq have been far more effective since BAE Systems fielded critically important upgrades to technology that allows real-time analysis of image data by U.S. Air Force image personnel in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The upgrade to the Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System, or TARS, significantly reduces the time needed to acquire and analyze imagery. In addition to recording images on its on board solid-state recorder, TARS can now transmit those images at full resolution to a ground station for target identification. Theater commanders can then decide whether to strike the enemy targets, which often move from their positions. TARS has been in theater for four years, flying nearly every day. The system is responsible for one-third of all the tactical photo reconnaissance flown in Iraq. With TARS, warfighters can respond to targets as they’re spotted. Instead of capturing images on tape for later processing, BAE Systems’ TARS pod collects high-resolution photos and transmits them to an antenna connected to a ground station for immediate analysis. Theater commanders then make decisions based on real-time images of enemy weapons, hideouts, attack locations, and other concentrations of activity. When a target is confirmed, commanders give coordinates to an F-16 pilot flying the same mission as the jet equipped with TARS, and the F-16 takes out the target.

21 Oct 08. Estonia is moving ahead with building up its unmanned naval vehicle capability. The government has made expanding the unmanned vehicle force one of its priorities for the sea service and has acquired two unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). U.S. manufacturer Hydroid has received a contract to supply two of its Remus 100 unmanned underwater vehicles to the Estonian armed forces. The system, fitted with a variety of sensors including a sonar, is designed in part to be used in mine-countermeasures missions, although other applications include surveying and scientific sampling. The Estonian government hasn’t released the value of the contract. But it is the latest in a slew of overseas sales for Hydroid, which also has sold the system to New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Hydroid now is part of the Norway-based Kongsberg Gruppen after a deal announced last December and approved by the U.S. government over the summer. The Pocasset, Mass.-based group falls under the conglomerate’s Maritime division. (Source: Aviation Week)

24 Oct 08. Raytheon Company and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport, demonstrated an unmanned aircraft system capability for submerged submarines Sept. 10. The program, called Submarine Over the Horizon Organic Capabilities, simulated the submarine launch of a specialized UAS for collection of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in a complex littoral environment. “SOTHOC provides submerged submarines with the ability to use unmanned aircraft systems and will increase commanders’ situational awareness and provide clarity to a fogged battlespace picture,” said Ken Pedersen, Raytheon Missile Systems’ vice president of Advanced Programs. “In future demonstrations, we will deploy a UAS from an actual submerged submarine and evaluate its performance in the maritime interdiction mission.” During the demonstration, two submerged launch vehicles were deployed over the side of a surface ship. The vehicles descended to 80 feet, reverted to positive buoyancy, floated to the surface, stabilized in variable sea states, aligned into the wind, and then launched an inert representative UAS at precise orientation and velocity.

27 Oct 08. iRobot Corp. received a $3.7m order from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) under an existing Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract. The order is for delivery of 17 PackBot Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) robots and repair parts to NAVSEA by January 31, 2009. The PackBot MTRS

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