02 Oct 09. NC3A, Brussels and The Hague. To share Full-Motion Video (FMV) is no longer the stuff of science-fiction but a reality in Afghanistan. Indeed NC3A has awarded a contract for delivery of an FMV capability in its support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). This gives NATO the ability to share moving images acquired by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) among member and non-member nations. The FMV Dissemination, Storage, Archive and Retrieval (DSAR) System is an effective distribution system that processes the massive amount of data required to display moving images in a continuous manner on computers without distortion. The successful bidder, after an International Competitive Bidding process, is Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems and Solutions (LM UK IS&S). Contracts were signed on Friday 26 September 2009 and a contract award meeting was held at NC3A, The Hague from 28-29 September 2009.
NC3A is the Host Nation responsible for procuring and fielding this FMV capability to meet ISAF’s urgent operational requirement, which is to enable the sharing of FMV from national Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) resources such as Predator and Reaper UAVs in support of ISAF coalition operations and missions. It is a complex, multifaceted NSIP procurement that involves co-ordination between several international defence contractors as well as other NATO agencies and organisations. FMV will support a wide range of operations and missions from time sensitive operations, such as troops in contact, to longer-term intelligence, such as patterns of life analysis. While using this capability, militaries will be able to understand the daily routines of the civilians in the areas they are on orders to secure. This helps them recognize unusual events and avoid mistaking civilians for insurgents. The better video would also be of use in detecting the placement of roadside IEDs and tracking individuals. To give the big picture on what FMV DSAR capability effectively brings to ISAF, Paul Lee, Project Manager for the FMV DSAR contract, illustrates: “Imagine viewing standard definition TV with a limited number of national terrestrial channels, then imagine switching to high-definition cable TV with a wider range of international programmes that you will be able to access from your living room. That would be the difference between what was currently available and what would shortly be in place.” The goal is to field the FMV DSAR capability at multiple sites to support ISAF operations throughout Afghanistan. It will enable nations participating as part of the ISAF coalition to rapidly share, store and disseminate Full Motion Video and associated intelligence information leading to more efficient use of valuable ISR assets and analysts in-theatre.
08 Oct 09. U.S Army to field Sky Warrior in Iraq. The US Army will field its developmental General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-1C Sky Warrior unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operationally in Iraq “in the near-term”, according to a statement released on 3 October. Flight testing in Iraq of this first aircraft – QRC1 – has already been carried out to demonstrate its quick reaction alert capability. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Oct 09. Protonex Technology Corporation announced that the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), through a program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), has documented a flight endurance record on their small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Ion Tiger, utilizing a highly advanced fuel cell system from Protonex. The Ion Tiger UAV flew for over 23 hours, setting an unofficial endurance record for fuel cell powered flight, driven by the latest generation of Protonex’ UAV power system. The 23+ hour duration of the Ion Tiger flight far surpasses the longest previous small UAV flight achieved using any technology. By incorporating the Protonex power system, the Ion Tiger was able to demonstrate seven times the endurance capabili