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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

10 Dec 10. The British Army’s Hermes 450 (H450) unmanned air vehicles
(UAVs) have achieved the outstanding milestone of providing over 30,000 hours of support to UK forces on current operations in Afghanistan. The H450 is operated and maintained by 32 Regiment Royal Artillery based at
Roberts Barracks, Larkhill, Wiltshire. H450 is a flexible system that can be used for a wide range of tasks from conducting reconnaissance prior to deployment into an area, and long-term pattern of life studies, to target acquisition and development. Due to the success and continual demand for the H450, the theatre Unmanned Air Systems Battery will increase its ability to fly simultaneous missions, providing persistent, high-quality, day-and-night-capable full-motion video. The system provides brigade headquarters with persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) via electro-optical and infrared sensors out to a range of 150km. The Commander of 42 (Alem Hamza) Battery Royal Artillery said: “We have now achieved 30,000 operational hours of Hermes 450 and the delivery of extra capability in the form of the fifth task line will help to meet the significant number of intelligence requirements that TFH [Task Force Helmand] generates each day. The capability has been absolutely key to many of the TFH operations. The H450 system is flown from and maintained in Afghanistan. This enables close liaison between flight crews and the end-user that they support.”
H450 operators are trained to fly the system tactically, balancing the need to remain covert while getting the best quality imagery. The end result of this highly capable, reliable and efficiently-operated system is a theatre UAV Battery that produces some 85 per cent of the full-motion video that is available to Task Force Helmand. 32 Regiment Royal Artillery are supported by a number of contractors on deployed operations (CONDOs) who manage the spares system. The system also requires a CONDO external pilot to launch and recover the air vehicle for each mission. The H450 is supplied by Thales UK under an Urgent Operational Requirement contract. (Source: ASD Network)

14 Dec 10. In preparation for deployment early next year, Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy have verified that the MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical unmanned aircraft system is functionally compatible with communications systems on board the USS Halyburton (FFG-40). This process, known as integration verification, cleared the way for Fire Scout to conduct bluewater – unrestricted – operations from the Halyburton. Performed Nov. 4-8 in the western Atlantic Ocean, integration verification included functional checks on the ship, verification that Fire Scout payloads worked properly, and completion of a long-duration flight at distance from the ship. A team of Northrop Grumman engineers and operators on board the ship helped re-familiarize Navy operators with Fire Scout’s control systems. Northrop Grumman is the Navy’s Fire Scout prime contractor

10 Dec 10. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace a $45.8m contract for K-MAX(R) unmanned aircraft systems for a U.S. Marine Corps evaluation of unmanned cargo resupply in an operational forward deployed environment. “The K-MAX UAS was specifically designed for the battlefield cargo resupply mission,” said Dan Spoor, Lockheed Martin Aviation Systems vice president. “K-MAX’s capabilities directly answer the Marine Corps’ requirement to augment ground and air logistics operations, supplement rotary-wing assets and keep warfighters supplied and out of harm’s way.” The contract includes the delivery of two K-MAX air vehicles and three remote control ground stations to the U.S. Marine Corps for a Quick Reaction Assessment, scheduled for summer 2011. The unmanned K-MAX has demonstrated its ability to carry and deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo at sea level and more than 4,000 pounds at 10,000 feet altitude. The air

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