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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

01 Dec 10. Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered the first production Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor to Edwards Air Force Base for integration on the first U.S. Air Force Block 40 Global Hawk. The first MP-RTIP Global Hawk flight is scheduled to occur by early 2011. The MP-RTIP technology is unprecedented and unique in its ability to provide critical coverage for the warfighter. MP-RTIP’s unique application of advanced technologies can detect multiple stopped, slow and fast-moving objects on the ground in any weather, day or night. This capability combined with the endurance of the Block 40 Global Hawk provides the warfighter with more than 30 hours of greatly improved situational awareness and combat identification per mission.

19 Nov 10. ScanEagle UAV closer to EWDF radio relay capability. Insitu Pacific is in the final stages of testing radio relay and electronic warfare direction finding (EWDF) capabilities on its ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It will soon offer them for operational deployment, the company’s managing director, Andrew Duggan, told Jane’s on 18 November (Source: Jane’s, JDW)

01 Dec 10. Singapore is to equip six army units with the Singapore Technologies Aerospace Skyblade III unmanned air vehicle, with the UAV to become operational by the end of the year. Singapore’s defence ministry says 44 operators have been trained. “Work to bring the Skyblade III’s advanced capabilities to the battalion scouts and the brigade reconnaissance surveillance targeting acquisition teams started in 2009,” it adds. The Skyblade III is a lightweight, man-portable UAV designed for launch and recovery by soldiers in the field. With a maximum take-off weight of 5kg (11lb), the complete system can be carried in two backpacks weighing 20kg each. The defence ministry says procedures and tactics were developed for the UAV through the use of the Israel Aerospace Industries Bird Eye 410 and Elbit Systems Skylark systems, which enabled it to bring the mini-UAV capability to units within a short timeframe. The battery-powered UAV can be set up in 20min and launched by hand or with bungee assistance. For landing the UAV stalls, and an airbag is deployed from its belly to cushion the touchdown. The Skyblade III has a range of 4.3nm (8km) and an endurance of 1h. Cameras provide visibility in both day and night conditions, with visual data streamed directly to a laptop computer. According to ST Aero, the Skyblade III can be used for general surveillance, early warning, mission monitoring and battle damage assessment. ST Aero is also working on the significantly larger Skyblade IV, which was unveiled at the Asian Aerospace show in 2006. The company says the catapult-launched Skyblade IV has a maximum take-off weight of 70kg and can carry a payload of 12kg. Endurance is 6-12h, with a range of 54nm. (Source: Flight International)

24 Nov 10. A robot being tested now may soon have the ability to rescue wounded Soldiers under fire without risking additional lives. The Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot, or BEAR, has been tested over the past year by Soldiers at the U.S. Army Infantry Center Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Ga. The BEAR can be controlled remotely by a motion-capture glove or specially-equipped rifle grip. A warfighter could use the equipment to guide the robot to recover a wounded Soldier and bring him or her back to where a combat medic could safely conduct an initial assessment. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) has helped fund the development of Vecna Technologies’ humanoid BEAR, and has funded integration of AnthroTronix’s iGlove and M-4 rifle grip controller into the Fort Benning testing. A computer simulation of the BEAR was created in 2009 for use in the Battle Lab’s One Semi-Autonomous Forces (OneSAF) combat operations simulator. An initial series of platoon-level assaults and cleari

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