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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

21 Feb 10. Israel unveils new drone that can fly to Gulf. The Israeli Air Force has introduced a fleet of pilotless aircraft that can stay in the air for nearly a day and fly as far as the Gulf. The Eitan drones, which have a wingspan of 86ft (26m), are the size of Boeing 737 passenger jets. They can reach an altitude of more than 40,000ft (12,000m) and fly for more than 20 consecutive hours. AP quoted defence officials as saying the planes could provide surveillance and jam enemy communications. Israel, along with the US and other Western nations, believes Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and has repeatedly suggested it could attack the country if diplomatic attempts to curb the programme fail. At the fleet’s inauguration ceremony at an airbase in central Israel, IAF commander Maj Gen Ido Nehushtan said the new drone “has the potential to be able to conduct new missions down the line as they become relevant”. Israeli officials refused to say how large the new fleet was. (Source: Google)

25 Feb 10. Elbit Systems Ltd. unveiled its new Intelligence Management Center (IMC) for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The new center, already ordered by several customers around the world, enables management of UAS operational activities, training and simulating. The UAS management center’s forte is its ability to provide the mission commander with data received by all deployed sensors. The mission commander is provided an overall picture, received from the various sources of intelligence gathering, displaying alternative scenarios, as well as aerial and ground platform mission assignments, for improved overall mission efficiency. The management center allows improved intelligence flow. Mission instructions are sent by the commander directly to the UAS operators and video intelligence is displayed simultaneously on the mission station screens and at the management center, in both two and three-dimensions. All data received from the UAS can be used by the ground forces’ C4I systems. Elbit Systems’ Intelligence Management Center is based on the Company’s vast operational experience accumulated by the system’s developers, who have served as commanders in the Israel Defense Forces, as well as the accumulated experience of the Company’s programs serving leading defense forces around the world. Efficient and user-friendly, the system offers simple “drag and drop” human engineering features.

23 Feb 10. AeroVironment, Inc. received firm fixed-price orders valued at $20,731,992 for digital Raven unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and digital retrofit kits, and $17,141,648 for Raven system spare parts, repairs and training services for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The Raven system and retrofit order represents a portion of the $12m appropriated for RQ-11 Raven system procurement in the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December 2009. The balance of government fiscal 2010 procurement funding that is anticipated to be converted into orders is proceeding through the procurement process. Typically the organizations responsible for administering this program retain a portion of approved funding to pay for program expenses and government furnished equipment.

22 Feb 10. The US Army’s latest extended range / multipurpose (ER/MP) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has successfully completed a series of tests with Hellfire II UAS missiles at the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, California. Hellfire II UAS missiles are specifically designed to fire from a UAV with a 360° targeting ability, according to service officials. US Army UAS deputy project manager Tim Owings said the tests, involving nine perfect or near-perfect missile firings demonstrated the missile’s ability to engage a wider target envelope than a typical Hellfire missile. “The Hellfire UAS missile can take advantage of a 360° look around angle. The ball on the UAV can swivel 360 degrees so that you can engage targets that are below y

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