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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

18 Nov 08. If Russian press reports are to be believed, then Moscow’s military is taking a serious look at buying Israeli-made drones. In a recent meeting with the Russian parliament’s defense committee, General Nikolai Makarov, chief of Russia’s general staff, reportedly told parliamentarians the Russian military would acquire Israeli drones — in the very near future. Mikhail Musatov, a member of the committee, quoted Makaraov as saying: “We’ll buy them from Israel. The general staff has decided that, since we don’t have pilotless aircraft of our own, we’ll buy them in Israel in the next two or three years.” This would be an unusual turn of events. Israel has sold arms to Russia in only a few limited instances. And as Ha’aretz notes, Russia supplies weaponry to Israel’s arch-enemies, Syria and Iran: In the past, the two countries have signed several agreements for military equipment but mostly on a small scale, such as bullet-proof vests. In the biggest of these deals, Israel Aerospace Industries acquired four Ilyushin planes from Moscow to be fit with the Falcon early-warning system sold to India. Security relations between the two countries have been characterized largely by complaints from Israel that Russia is supplying an aerial defense system and anti-tank missiles to Iran, as well as missiles to Syria, both of which eventually reached Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. Russia’s interest in robotic aircraft stems in part from the recent war with
Georgia. As DANGER ROOM readers know, Russia and its allies in the separatist
republic of Abkhazia shot down at least two Georgian drones in the run-up to war
this summer (click here for video of a Russian MiG-29 taking down a Georgian
reconnaissance drone). Ironically, the Georgian drones were reported to be
Israeli-made Hermes 450s. Despite inflicting a painful defeat on Georgia, the Russian military is undergoing something of an overhaul. Russian Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov has ordered sweeping changes, including equipment modernization and a move away from conscription. (Source: Google)

17 Nov 08. iRobot Corp. has been awarded six new Phase Two Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Grants. These projects are to be funded by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO). These six awards are worth a total of $4.4m. Under these contracts, iRobot will develop technology related to human-robot interaction, unmanned ground and air vehicle coordination, semi-autonomous unmanned ground vehicle tele-operation and navigation, and electronics diagnostics and health monitoring. These technologies will provide increased capabilities for iRobot’s military robots, including PackBot, SUGV and Warrior by making them smarter, easier to use and integrated with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

14 Nov 08. A solar-powered plane, funded jointly by the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. DoD, recently set an unofficial world endurance record for a flight by a UAV. Thales Communications, Inc. provided the Communication Relay System that enabled users, more than 300 miles apart, to communicate using their organic radios. The Zephyr UAV, developed by international defense and security technology company QinetiQ, stayed aloft, non-stop, for 82 hours and 37 minutes, exceeding the current world record for unmanned flight, which is 30 hours and 24 minutes (Global Hawk, 2001). Thales Communications Inc. developed, integrated, tested, and provided a relay communications system that would support Single Channel Ground and Radio Airborne System (SINCGARS) capability for the Zephyr UAV Program. The system consisted of a four-radio solution (AN/PRC-148 JEM) capable of providing two retransmission demonstration systems at less than five pounds including radios, re

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