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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

25 Jan 06. U.S. forces supporting the war on terrorism gained two critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets this month when the U.S. Air Force deployed the first two production RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles to theater. Global Hawk is designed and produced by Northrop Grumman Corporation. “The Air Force is committed to bringing real-time reconnaissance information to the commanders and is confident that Global Hawk is the right high-altitude asset to provide persistent surveillance over the battlefield,” commented Jerry Madigan, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s High Altitude Long Endurance programs. The two RQ-4A Global Hawks arrived at the operating base earlier this month. The deployment team began functional test flights of the two vehicles immediately upon arrival. The Global Hawks, their sensors and ground stations were all tested and performed to Air Force requirements before the deployment. They joined a previously deployed Global Hawk test asset, designed and developed as part of the system’s advanced concept technology demonstration phase. That air vehicle has logged more than 3,000 hours in combat during a total of approximately two years in theater.

30 Jan 06. Raytheon Company has been awarded a follow-on contract to produce ground segments for Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk program, which will support the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial system. Financial terms were not disclosed.

26 Jan 06. Bell Helicopter has announced that its TR918 Eagle
Eye Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) lifted off the ground for the first time today when it achieved the first flight milestone in this ground breaking, vertical-lift unmanned aircraft program. At 8:54 a.m. (CST) the vehicle lifted vertically off the ground hovered for nine minutes, executed yaw and translation maneuvers and then landed safely on the ground. The vehicle flew a second flight within 30 minutes of the maiden flight’s landing.

Jan 06. Brazil: Fugro orders new ROV and will develop eight more over two years. The in 2005 established joint venture FUGRO OceansatPEG SA (in which Fugro has an interest of 62%) has been awarded a contract with a total value of USD 25.4m by the Brazilian oil company Petrobras. Fugro will equip a chartered vessel with two Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) systems, of which one will be a new purchase. The project comprises a variety of inspection and construction support services in Brazilian waters over a period of two years. The contract includes an option for a two year extension. The work will start in June 2006. Furthermore Fugro will develop eight new ‘work class’ ROV systems in the next two years. These systems (fitted with remote controlled underwater cameras and manipulators) will be used for inspection and maintenance, drilling support, as well as construction support activities such as underwater pipe-laying. A number of these new ROVs are designed to operate in water depths up to 3,000 meter.

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