UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
22 Jul 09. Detecting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) may have got one stage easier following the demonstration of how an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and unmanned air vehicle (UAV) could work together atthe UV Europe Conference being held at the Celtic Manor Resort, South Wales
on 22 and 23 July 2009. AESIR, developers of a family of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAVs, and Northrop Grumman an industry leading developer and manufacturer of UGVs for police, military and industry applications worldwide, have come together to show how the UGV can deploy the UAV into the designated area and provide a firm platform for the UAV to deploy from. The Unmanned Vehicles demonstrating the capability are the AESIR development craft, Embler a 600mm diameter electric engined craft, and Northrop Grumman’s Wheelbarrow Mk8 Plus II UGV which has been adapted by having its manipulator arm removed and replaced with a platform for the UAV.
27 Jul 09. Curtiss-Wright Controls, Inc. received a contract from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to supply advanced rugged computer processing modules for use in an advanced, large Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) demonstrator being developed for the Robotic Vehicle Control Architecture (RVCA) for a Future Force Army Technology Objective (ATO). The Curtiss-Wright Controls processor modules will be used to host the battle command software for the UGV. Under the terms of the agreement, Curtiss-Wright Controls’ Embedded Computing group will provide the U.S. Army with its innovative VPX6-1952 single board computer technology.
Jul 09. U.S. Air Force Outlines Long-Term Plan for Unmanned Aircraft
Government Executive. The U.S. Air Force has issued its long-term agenda for broadening the role of unmanned aircraft as new technologies move forward and joint warfighting doctrine evolves over the coming decades. “Unmanned systems are unmanned in name only,” noted Air Force Gen. William Fraser. He said that the growing role of unmanned systems has had an effect on the full range of Air Force operations and requires staff with wide-ranging skills and experience. The plan standardizes the role of unmanned planes in the service and sets up a scheme for their expanded use. The plan also institutes a procurement strategy and deals with life-cycle management issues such as maintenance and sustainment of unmanned aircraft. Col. Eric Mathewson, director of the Air Force’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force, said that unmanned aircraft could eventually be used to transport cargo and perform various missions that currently require manned aircraft. Lt. Gen. David Deptula said that in terms of exploiting the potential of unmanned systems, the Air Force is currently where it was approximately 80 years ago with regard to manned aircraft. (Source: AUVSI)
24 Jul 09. DCNS, Thales and ECA win DGA contract to study drones for mine countermeasures. The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded DCNS, Thales and ECA a major study contract that is expected to lead, around 2011, to a demonstrator of a new mine countermeasures solution dubbed Espadon. Today, mine countermeasures (MCM) is typically performed by dedicated vessels known as minehunters. MCM operations expose minehunter crews to considerable danger due to the simple fact that these vessels operate in known mine fields. With many navies expected to renew their MCM systems over the coming decade, DCNS, Thales and ECA have put forward a joint solution using a type of naval drone known as an unmanned surface vehicle. USVs offer the key benefit of keeping minehunter crews out of harm’s way. The Espadon solution comprises a minehunter, two USVs and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). While remaining at all times at a safe distance from the mine field, the minehunter or similar dedicated vessel will deploy and control the USVs, each programmed specifically to operate in mine fields.