21 Mar 05. Britain Joins U.S. Combat UAV Effort. Britain has climbed on board an effort by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). The two sides on March 17 announced that together they will look into the military benefit of UCAVs for future coalition operations. The joint work begins this month and is scheduled to run until July 2009 as part of the wider Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program. The J-UCAS program is well under way, with DARPA announcing Feb. 28 that the Boeing-developed X-45A air vehicle “successfully demonstrated its ability to undertake basic autonomous reactive suppression of enemy air defenses functionality.” Northrop Grumman also is involved, developing its X-47 UCAV design. A statement from the U.K. MoD said the work would include experiments at the U.S. Air Force’s simulation and analysis facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and integration of assets in both countries. The bulk of the British work will be done by the MoD’s Defence Science & Technology Laboratory. Research company Qinetiq also is involved, a ministry spokesman said. Qinetiq and BAE SYSTEMS have been responsible for the bulk of British industry involvement to date in the development of UCAVs, most of it done behind closed doors. (Source: Defense News, ANDREW CHUTER, LONDON)
22 Mar 05. Australian International Airshow: SMEs Join BAE Systems’ JP129 Team
The announcement that Australian SMEs Mediaware Solutions, Redflex Communications, Aerostaff Australia and Aerosonde, will now join Canada’s SME CDL Systems as team members, expresses the determination and strengthens the bid of the BAE led team to go into the next phase (Phase 2) of the JP129 bid. The new team members will supply imagery analysis and exploitation capability – Mediaware Solutions; integrated communications system solution – Redflex Communications; design and build shelters – Aerostaff Australia, and form part of the offered growth path and provide capability into the in-service support – Aerosonde. Speaking at the press briefing, BAE Systems’ Brad Yelland and AAI’s Jim Christner, both confirmed that the Shadow 200 1B-version of this tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be the baseline air vehicle going into Phase 2 of JP129.
22 Mar 05. Australian International Airshow: UTA Officially Launched. UTA has been established to be responsible for project managing the development of the unmanned systems industry for this country. In order to make access to the more than fifty Australian and international firms, and research agencies that have registered their interest to participate easier, the Australian Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources has released a capability directory on CD-R. The announcement of the formation of UTA was first published in Unmanned Vehicles magazine in February this year (Vol. 10 No.: 1) with more information being found there or by going to: www.industry.gov.au/uav
22 Mar 05. Boeing and SAIC, as the Lead Systems Integrator team for the U.S. Army’s FCS program, recently released separate Requests for Proposals for development of FCS Class II and III UAV systems. Industry participants will have 30 days in which to respond with contract awards anticipated in early August. A phased acquisition approach will be implemented for Class II and III development efforts, working collaboratively with the DARPA. Multiple contracts will be awarded in early August 2005 for Phase I, involving technology and risk reduction demonstrations. Phase II will include flight, logistics and training demonstrations of both industry- and DARPA-developed systems. Candidates will be evaluated for their suitability to meet FCS requirements during a 24-month concept maturation phase, which will result in down-selects for the final phase of System Design and Development when the LSI and Army will select The Class II UAV system will provide reconnaissance, security/earl