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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

May 10. Bomb Disposal: Robotic Solutions. Soldier (May 2010) includes details of the robots available and about to be available to those who have to deal with improvised explosive devices (IED). Northrop Grumman has launched the latest, Mark 9, version of the Wheelbarrow tracked robot. The Mark 9 is said to include significant advances in technology and a range of new features. Northrop Grumman has also designed Cutlass, a six-wheeled robot equipped with various pieces of equipment for probing and making safe IED. Cutlass, Wheelbarrow’s successor, is to enter production during 2010 with delivery phased throughout 2011 and beyond.
Comment: On 28 Dec 06, the Defence Procurement Minister announced the award of a £65m contract to Remotec UK for the supply of 80 bomb disposal robots known as Cutlass. Remotec UK is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. QinetiQ is supplying the vehicle command and control system, as a major subcontractor to the programme. Wheelbarrow is credited with saving hundreds of lives, particularly in Northern Ireland, since its introduction in 1972. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/18, 10 May 09)

12 May 10. General Dynamics Robotic Systems’ Autonomous Navigation System (ANS) program has successfullycompleted its Critical Design Review (CDR). The ANS system is an onboard, integrated suite of sensors and technology that enable autonomous navigation, perception, path-planning and vehicle-following capabilities for unmanned ground vehicles. Designated by the U.S. Army for integration on the Armed Robotic Vehicle-Assault (Light) (ARV-A(L)), the ANS is capable of controlling several other classes of manned and unmanned vehicles. Successful completion of the CDR enables the General Dynamics Robotic Systems team to continue maturing, fabricating, and testing the ANS design. These activities will lead to delivery of prototypes and the start of Integrated Qualification Testing in 2012. The ANS CDR is among the first in a series of critical Increment 2 reviews underway for the Army’s Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Modernization program. General Dynamics Robotic Systems is the leading partner on the ANS program.

07 May 10. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.’s Lynx® Block 30 Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) radar has surpassed 1,000 collective mission hours on Sky Warrior® Block 1 aircraft in support of U.S. Army combat operations in Iraq. Lynx radars have been deployed on four Sky Warrior UAS since early December 2009 as part of the Army’s Quick Reaction Capability-1 (QRC-1) deployment for the Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAS Program.
“The achievement of this milestone, combined with its operationally demonstrated performance and reliability, is a testament to the maturity of the Lynx Block 30 production radars,” said Linden Blue, president, Reconnaissance Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “The Block 30 radar is making a difference to the troops on the ground, providing timely situational awareness and threat-warning in support of tactical operations.”
In addition to supporting QRC-1 operations with the Lynx radar, GA-ASI is providing full Contractor Logistics Support (CLS), including radar operation, image analysis, and maintenance support. GA-ASI mission crews have planned over 80 specific target set collections in support of tasked intelligence requirements, resulting in the collection and analysis of over 11,000 SAR images. A second group of four Lynx Block 30 radars is scheduled to begin Limited User Testing with the Army later this month in support of this summer’s planned QRC-2 deployment. The Lynx Block 30 radar is currently the only SAR/GMTI payload to have completed ER/MP integration testing and deployment. The radar also features very fast Coherent Change Detection (CCD) algorithms and is continually being improved with enhanced performance and capabilities. Lynx Block 30 provides the all-weather detection capabilit

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