22 Sep 11. iRobot Corp. is introducing a newly configured Seaglider UUV.
Seaglider can now be outfitted with a larger set of fairings that significantly increases the UUV’s volume and mass payload capabilities. Payload mass is doubled over Seaglider’s original design to four kilograms and payload volume has expanded 650 percent to more than 21,000 cubic centimeters, resulting in the ability to integrate both larger sensors and a greater number of sensors with Seaglider. “Seaglider has proven to be an extremely valuable tool for government agencies and the oceanographic community,” said David Heinz, vice president of Maritime Systems at iRobot. “Researchers have expressed a need for more sensing capabilities on Seaglider, so that it can be used in a wider range of missions. This new configuration has allowed new sensors to be integrated with Seaglider, opening the door to future development efforts and potential new markets.” Seaglider has five sensor payload ports that facilitate a range of capabilities. Recent development efforts have resulted in new sensor offerings for Seaglider, including a pumped sensor that measures conductivity, temperature and pressure with an optional pumped dissolved oxygen sensor. The integration of a radiation sensor, an echo sounder and a current profiler with Seaglider are also in development. A long-range, high endurance UUV, Seaglider operates at water depths between 20 meters (approximately 65 feet) and 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). Seaglider is the first UUV to complete a mission lasting longer than nine months without needing to replace its battery and the first to complete a mission of more than 3,800 kilometers (approximately 2,360 miles). (Source: ASD Network)
23 Sep 11. A U.S. Air Force Block 10 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, built by Northrop Grumman, completed its last mission in late May. The last Block 10 to fly as an Air Force aircraft was the one with the most flight hours, more than 7,650 with more than 7,000 of those hours flown providing surveillance for our combat troops.
“For many years Block 10 Global Hawks have persistently performed countless missions in support of the warfighter and in support of disaster relief efforts,” said George Guerra, HALE Systems vice president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “While the aircraft have concluded their missions and support for the Air Force, they will now support missions for the U.S. Navy.”
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is transferring its seven Block 10 aircraft for use by other government agencies. Currently, three were transferred to the U.S. Navy to continue to support the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) program and two were transferred for museum static displays. In August, the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $35.5m annual contract for continued operations and maintenance for the BAMS-D aircraft. All seven Air Force Block 10 Global Hawks are fully operational. The Block 10 made its first flight on Sept. 9, 2003. Since then, Air Force Block 10 aircraft flew 2,141 missions for 35,528 hours, 89 percent of which were in support of combat operations. In addition to combat missions, the aircraft supported disaster response teams addressing forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods and also provided support to the U.S. counter-drug mission. After DARPA’s initial seven ACTD aircraft, the Air Force contracted with Northrop Grumman to build nine Block 10s as a transitional capability until the larger Block 20 configuration could begin production. Two of the Block 10 aircraft were acquired for the Navy BAMS-D program in the original procurement program. Follow-on aircraft: The U.S. Air Force has deployed Block 30 Global Hawks to support the missions once supported by Block 10 aircraft. The Block 30 Global Hawks currently deployed are equipped with the Raytheon Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS). EISS includes electro optical/infrared and synthetic aperture radar. Within the next year, the Block 30 a