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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

10 Aug 10. The Australian Defence Ministry has approved a new $175m deal for 18 RQ-7B Shadow 200 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and support systems to protect Australian troops in Afghanistan. Shadow is powered by a 38hp engine with eight-hour endurance and a range of 100km. It can be launched from a trailer-mounted pneumatic launcher and retrieved using an arrester wire. The UAV carries a suite of sensors that include high-resolution video and still cameras, ultra violet sensors and laser direction finders. The vehicle also provides complete autonomy to troops and supplies live footage and data from the aircraft in real time on ground terminals. The US-built Shadows will be used for battlefield surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition. The deal also includes two support systems, ground vehicles, training packages and through-life support. Australian Defence Minister John Faulkner said the Shadow 200 system would provide the Australian Army with a proven tactically mobile TUAV system. He said the Scan Eagle UAV would remain in service until the Shadow 200 was delivered. (Source: armytechnology.com)
30 Jul 10. UK reveals spending on Iraq, Afghanistan UAVs. The UK Ministry of Defence spent more than GBP500m (USD776m) during the past six years in purchasing and leasing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for use in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The information, released for the first time in late July by UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Peter Luff, suggests the UK is the third-largest spender on unmanned systems in the world, behind the US and Israel. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

22 Jul 10. Aeronautics trials new advanced UAVs. Aeronautics Defense Systems is in advanced trial stages for a new generation of its Orbiter and Aerostar unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), company officials told Jane’s in mid-July. The privately owned Israeli company has also established a ground forces division and has appointed a former Israel Defence Force (IDF) colonel to oversee operations. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

04 Aug 10. Following intense negotiations, Team Defence is proud to announce the launch of a Collaborative UGV Programme in partnership with Smith Engineering and RCAUK. The UGV will be based on Smith’s highly successful line of UGVs; and draw on RCAUK’s class leading work in remote guidance to produce a vehicle optimised around support for the dismounted Fire Team. Team Defence has developed a demanding requirements set, anticipating the needs of the combat infantryman in the contemporary operating environment, against which the vehicle will be tested and matured. The base vehicle is powered by a 15hp, single fuels compliant engine. The UGV is capable of dashing, laden, to 12 km/h; climbing a 45′ slope unaided; and has support provision for applique ECM and communications equipment. The programme aims to grow the capability whilst remaining unmatched in its class in mobility, reliability and, crucially, value for money.”

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