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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

05 Oct 11. The Marine Corps will deploy the Lockheed Martin and Kaman unmanned K-MAX┬« to Afghanistan next month. The decision follows the successful completion of a five-day Quick Reaction Assessment for the U.S. Navy’s Cargo Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program. A formal report, released last week by Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force, confirmed that the unmanned K-MAX exceeded the Navy and Marines’ requirement to deliver 6,000 pounds of cargo per day. K-MAX will be the Navy’s first-ever cargo unmanned aircraft system to deploy in an operational environment. The deploying team recently concluded training and flight tests at its base in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., and is currently preparing the aircraft for shipment into theater. The team consists of active duty mission commanders, air vehicle operators and Lockheed Martin employees.

07 Oct 11. The U.S. government’s unmanned Predator and Reaper drones
are continuing to fly remote missions overseas despite a computer virus that has infected the plane’s U.S.-based cockpits, according to one source familiar with the infection. Government officials are still investigating whether the virus is benign, and how it managed to infect the heavily protected computer systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, where U.S. pilots remotely fly the planes on their missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Something is going on, but it has not had any impact on the missions overseas,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Armed tactical unmanned planes have become an increasingly valuable tool used by the U.S. government to track and attack individuals and small groups overseas, but the virus underscores the vulnerability of such systems to attacks on the computer networks used to fly them from great distances. Wired magazine first reported the virus infection on its website on Friday and said it was logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely flew missions over Afghanistan and elsewhere. Wired said the problem was first detected nearly two weeks ago by the U.S. military’s Host-Based Security System, but there were no confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. (Source: Reuters)

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