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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

23 Dec 05. India’s maritime snooping capabilities are all set to get a boost, with the Navy now ready to operationally deploy its first-ever squadron of Israeli UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or spy drones. The Navy’s first UAV squadron, with eight Searcher-II and four Heron UAVs, which can transmit imagery in real-time to their ground control stations by day as well as night, will be formally commissioned at Kochi by Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash on January 6.

03 Jan 06. MachineTalker, Inc. has completed flight tests of its intelligent mesh network, collecting wireless sensor data from on-board sensors, processing and passing results to Talkers(R) on the ground. The system is designed to share sensor information among nearby UAVs proving the feasibility of intelligent and autonomous UAV squadrons. The successful flight testing of the rugged MachineTalker(R) wireless sensor nodes is the first step in an on-going process of demonstrating the efficacy of low cost sensor networks in UAVs and in other aerospace applications. The information gathered by the on-board sensors can be relayed to the ground or to another UAV within radio range. The small UAVs can be used for both commercial and military security applications; while Multiple UAVs acting in concert(known as swarming) can provide both redundancy and analysis of recorded sensor data. In the UAV flight tests, selection of parametric data for review was made from the ground station in real-time with results gathered, processed and conveyed from the on-board Talkers(R) back to the ground for display and review.

23 Dec 05. 23. Metal Storm [MTSX] is developing a scalable modular weapon system for both the Army and Navy that can be used on unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) to provide non-lethal to lethal munitions. The system is designed so it can go on various UGVs, David Smith, Metal Storm CEO, told Defense Daily. “The Navy and Army are both investing a lot of effort and money into developing various-sized UGVs. They are looking not to have one specific weapon system that will be associated with any one of these UGVs,” he said. “They want some
versatility.” Metal Storm is a U.S. subsidiary of the Australian defense company Metal Storm Limited. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract is for bigger UGVs that are about 3-feet off the ground, with three tires on both sides and roughly a 2,000-pound payload, Smith said. More than likely the UGV would carry an eight-barrel pod on the front and back, he added.
Part of the requirement Metal Storm is trying to work is the ability to take the sensor suite, weapons suite and barrel pod off of one UGV and mount it on another, essentially creating “plug-and-play” systems, Smith said. The company’s weapon system can load a complete line of scalable lethality, he
added. Metal Storm has both a four- and eight-barrel pod that can fire
everything from flash bang grenades to sponge grenades (rubber balls), and
sponge pellets, all the way up to armored piercing rounds. “We can put them all
in the same weapon.” All the munitions are preloaded and a hand-held unit controls the weapon system. (Source: Defense Daily)

Dec 05. DARPA considering UGV Grand Challenge event in urban environment. In a recent posting on their website, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) have released a detailed questionnaire for feedback on the 2005 event – and in question 11 they quietly announce “DARPA is considering a future Grand Challenge event centering on autonomous vehicle operations in an urban area”

Dec 05. Northrop Grumman awarded $8.3M contract for Fire Scout testing on HSV-2 vessel Northrop Grumman Systems Corp, San Diego, Calif. is being awarded an $8,345,263 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-00-C-0277) for shipboard testing of Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, including shipboard installation and flight testing on the

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