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01 Feb 11. Six months after signing the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) agreement with the U.S. Army to build three airships with 21-day persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, Northrop Grumman’s LEMV program team has completed its Critical Design Review (CDR). This is the fourth major milestone achieved by the program since contract award.”The entire U.S. Army/Northrop Grumman LEMV industry team has done an outstanding job working through a very aggressive development schedule to achieve all of these important milestones. The CDR provided an in-depth review of the complete system design of the program giving us the opportunity to assess where we are in our development and air vehicle production. It went very well,” said Alan Metzger, Northrop Grumman vice president and integrated program team leader of LEMV and airship programs. “The entire team has been collaborating and remains very focused on meeting our objective of delivering this powerful capability into the hands of our combat commanders as soon as possible.”

27 Jan 11. Sweden set to receive Shadow UAVs. The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) will shortly receive the first of two new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) procured to support its forces deployed on operations in Afghanistan. The first system will be delivered in February and will be followed by the second in June. In 2008 Saab was contracted to evaluate suitable systems on behalf of the SwAF and in May 2010 the company announced that AAI’s Shadow 200 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had been selected under a deal valued at about SEK500m (USD77m) . (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

31 Jan 11. RE2, Inc., a leading developer of intelligent modular manipulation systems, announced today that it has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a dual-arm robot and accompanying software simulation tool for the Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program’s Outreach Track. Multiple manipulator systems with high-end perception sensors are very costly to purchase for research and development purposes. Therefore, DARPA plans to provide an ARM research platform that can be shared by all researchers. As researchers develop their sensing and control algorithms, they can use the simulator to test, verify, collect data, and debug their research before executing the algorithms on the dual-arm robot. Because use of the highly dexterous dual-arm robot resource will be shared by developers across the country, researchers need a software tool that can be used to validate their control algorithms before testing on the actual robotic hardware. DARPA’s outreach track, which will make available an ARM robot for public use, will allow anyone the opportunity to write software, test it, upload it to the actual system and watch via the Internet as the DARPA ARM robot executes that software. Teams and individuals involved in this outreach track will be able to collaborate with other teams around the world. The goal of the four-year ARM program is to develop software and hardware that enables a robot to autonomously grasp and manipulate to perform complicated tasks with a human providing only high-level direction. (Source: Google)

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