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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

01 Apr 11. AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) today announced that the Global Observer unmanned air vehicle undergoing flight test envelope expansion at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) in California experienced a mishap at 2:30 am Pacific Daylight Time today, approximately 18 hours into its ninth test flight. There are no reports of injury or damage to other property.
“Flight testing an innovative new solution like Global Observer involves pushing the frontiers of technology and convention,” said Tim Conver, AeroVironment chairman and chief executive officer. “Risk is a component of every flight test program, and the learning that results from a mishap enables us to improve system reliability and performance. One benefit of testing an unmanned aircraft system is that pilots and crew are not in harm’s way when a mishap occurs.”
Conver added, “We will work closely with the Investigation Board to determine the cause of the mishap and once its findings are available we will apply its recommendations to future activities. Global Observer remains a compelling solution to important government and commercial needs.”
The joint U.S. government and AeroVironment Global Observer team was in the process of expanding the flight envelope of the first air vehicle, which had been operating for nearly twice the endurance and at a higher altitude than previous flights AeroVironment the mishap occurred. The second air vehicle developed as part of the joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD) program is nearly complete and remains at AeroVironment’s development facility. AV received the contract for developing and demonstrating Global Observer as a JCTD program in September 2007. Six U.S. government agencies have provided more than $140m in funding for the program, most of which has been expended.

05 Apr 11. iRobot Corp. unveiled pre-production prototypes of the iRobot® 110 FirstLook™ unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). A small, light and throwable robot, 110 FirstLook provides hasty situational awareness, performs persistent observation and investigates confined spaces. The robot weighs less than five pounds and is 10 inches long, making it ideal for building clearing, raids and other close-in scenarios.
“FirstLook is going to be a very important tool for warfighters and first responders,” said Robert Moses, president of iRobot’s Government and Industrial Robots division. “Given its small size, ruggedness and state-of-the-art capabilities, the robot is ideal for a range of infantry missions and special operations.”
110 FirstLook survives 15-foot drops onto concrete and is waterproof to three feet. The robot climbs steps, overcomes curbs and other obstacles, turns in place and self-rights when flipped over. With four built-in cameras and two-way audio communication, 110 FirstLook provides multi-direction situational awareness. It also has digital mesh networking capabilities, allowing multiple robots to relay radio communications over greater distances. 110 FirstLook uses a wrist-mounted, touchscreen operator control unit (OCU) with a built-in radio. Over the next several months, iRobot will demonstrate 110 FirstLook for military and law enforcement personnel. The robot will be available for delivery to customers in 2012. (Source: Yahoo!/BUSINESS WIRE)

31 Mar 11. Engineers with the 772nd Test Squadron facilitated electromagnetic interference testing on a Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft at the Benefield Anechoic Facility here March 10 and 11. They teamed with representatives of Northrop Grumman Corporation and the German government to complete the testing. The Euro Hawk is similar to the Air Force’s operational RQ-4 Global Hawk, and although EMI testing already has been conducted on the Global Hawk, the Euro Hawk has never been flown in the unique radio frequency environment of Europe.
“There are radars and radio stations. Our civilization is filled with
electromagnetic sources,” said Daniel Suh, NGC Euro Hawk System engineering manager. “In hig

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