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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

02 Nov 11. Gray Eagle Triclops sensors revealed. New details have emerged about the triple-sensor configuration – known as Triclops – that equipped the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used during the US Army’s Manned-Unmanned Systems Integration Capability (MUSIC) exercise in September 2011 at the Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

09 Nov 11. The LONGBOW Limited Liability Company’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA)recently controlled an unmanned vehicle from an AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter, while both were in flight. The LONGBOW LLC is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. During flight tests, the UTA controlled the payload and flight path of a Gray Eagle (MQ-1C) while both the Apache and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) were airborne. This marks the first time an unmanned vehicle has been controlled from the cockpit of an Apache, a significant accomplishment in manned-unmanned teaming. The test program proved the design and provided valuable operational understanding to the Apache crew. All goals of this phase of UTA testing were completed with 100 percent success. The LONGBOW UTA is a two-way, high-bandwidth data link for Apache aircrews that allows sensor and flight path control of the UAS. UTA-equipped Apaches enable aircrews to exercise control of UAS at long ranges and receive real-time, high-definition streaming video on their multi-function displays. The UTA is fully integrated into the Block III Apache mission computer. The U.S. Army’s LONGBOW system consists of either a fire control radar or a UTA, a fire-and-forget radar frequency HELLFIRE millimeter wave-guided missile, and an all-digital M299 launcher
for the AH-64D Apache helicopter. The LONGBOW UTA will be fielded on the Apache Block III aircraft beginning in 2012

08 Nov 11. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has improved ground commanders’ ability to see potential threats and increase fighting effectiveness in Afghanistan – prompting the U.S. Navy to extend the system’s service through most of next year. A team of U.S. Navy sailors and Northrop Grumman employees began their mission in May to gather 300 hours per month of full-motion video surveillance, and deliver it in real time to ground forces.”After six months of solid performance, our team has established itself as the go-to asset for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for northern Afghanistan,” said George Vardoulakis, vice president for tactical unmanned system with Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman will operate and maintain the Fire Scout systems through October 2012 under an $18.65m contract awarded to the company Sept. 28 by Naval Air Systems Command. Fire Scout features a modular architecture that accommodates a variety of electro-optical, infrared and communications payloads. These payloads provide ground- and ship-based commanders with high levels of situational awareness and precision targeting support.

08 Nov 11. Northrop Grumman Corporation has started work outfitting the U.S. Navy’s MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with a weapons system. The Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System laser-guided 70mm rocket – in production for the Navy since 2010 – will allow ship commanders to identify and engage hostile targets without calling in other aircraft for support. Northrop will develop and deliver the equipment needed to control the weapons system under a $17m contract awarded to the company Sept. 23 by Naval Air Systems Command. Final delivery of an operational system is expected by March 2013. Once delivered, Fire Scout will be Navy’s first sea-based unmanned system to carry weapons. Its ability to operate at low ground speeds makes it particularly well suited for supporting littoral missions such as drug interdiction, antipiracy actions, search and rescue, reconnaissance and port security.

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