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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

02 Feb 10. Israel trials protected UGV scout in drive for enhanced reconnaissance capabilities. The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is planning to trial a new armoured reconnaissance unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) known as ‘Advanced Guard’ to scout for armoured columns in 2010. The vehicle is under development by G-Nius a joint venture started by Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to manufacture the Guardium UGV, which is currently in service along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. (Source: Jane’s)

16 Feb 10. The Indian Army is preparing to induct a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called Netra, built by Ideaforge, for reconnaissance in anti-terror and counter-insurgency operations. Netra is a completely autonomous hovering UAV suitable for short-range missions, which requires very short training time and minimal user assistance allowing the user to concentrate on the mission objective rather than the flying of the vehicle. Netra weighs 1.5kg with a payload capacity of 300g and operational range of 1.5km at altitudes of over 100m for 30 minutes per battery charge, according to indianexpress.com. The quick deployment time and vertical take-off and landing ability allows the vehicle to operate in confined areas performing anti-terrorist operations, counter-insurgency in forested areas, hostage situations, border infiltration monitoring as well as search and rescue operations. The UAV features a high resolution 2.5X zoom camera with pan and tilt control that captures real-time live aerial images, and records the footage. In addition, the vehicle has an in-built fail-safe mechanism that ensures the UAV returns to its home position in case of loss of communication or low battery. The Defence Research and Development Organization collaborated with IdeaForge to refine the UAV as part of its preparations to pitch it to the Army. The UAV is also expected to be inducted in a host of security forces, including the National Security Guard, Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force among others. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

10 Feb 10. Israel Aerospace Industries unveils Sky-Eye 650 UAV. Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled a new variant of its mini unmanned air vehicle, the Bird-Eye 650. The aircraft’s new propulsion system is powered by fuel cells that allow for an endurance of 6h, doubling the performance of previous versions of the Bird-Eye. The new variant will also weigh less and include an advanced folding launcher.”The improvements of the Bird-Eye 650 make it an even more cost-effective system,” says Tommy Silberring, general manager of IAI’s Malat division. (Source: Flight International)

15 Feb 10. Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully demonstrated that its MQ-8B Vertical Unmanned Aerial System (VUAS) can resupply U.S. or coalition troops deployed on a combat mission. The company conducted the autonomous proof-of-principle resupply capability during the current Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) at Fort Benning, Ga. AEWE gives soldiers a first-hand look at emerging technologies and concepts. “Fire Scout’s ability to deliver supplies autonomously demonstrates its readiness to support troops in the field,” said Al Nikolaus, program director of land-based Fire Scout at Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector. “It also highlights one of the many advantages of a vertical unmanned aerial system. We have matured this capability and we’re eager to support our warfighters in theater with the resupply of small-unit logistics that is so vitally needed.” For the AEWE mission, Fire Scout had two ruggedized containers attached to external pylons. Fire Scout flew autonomously from take-off to the cargo drop to landing. The VUAS also used its electro-optical/infrared optical payload during the mission to practice reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) techniques. The ability to conduct simultaneous RSTA and logistics missions is another unique Fire Scout c

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