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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

06 Dec 11. In a recent U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman exercise, a Fire Scout unmanned helicopter successfully sent sensor data to the cockpit display of a MH-60 helicopter. The demonstration, which took place Oct. 25 near Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., paves the way for improving the speed at which field commanders can make informed decisions during military operations. “Fire Scout complements the Navy’s manned helicopters by effectively extending the range and area of ship-based intelligence gathering operations,” said George Vardoulakis, vice president for tactical unmanned systems for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector. Until now, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data gathered by Fire Scout has been sent to its host ship for further dissemination. During the demonstration, crew members aboard a nearby U.S. Coast Guard boat also viewed Fire Scout’s sensor data in real time using a remote terminal. The capability also improves Fire Scout’s communications relay function by allowing multiple units to share real-time information to coordinate actions without delay.

21 Nov 11. Black Hornet to fill MoD nano UAS requirement. UK surveillance systems house Marlborough Communications and Norway’s Prox Dynamics have been selected to supply the latter’s PD-100 Black Hornet airborne Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS) to meet an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) raised by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for a nano unmanned aircraft system (UAS). An initial contract, worth GBP2.5m (USD3.9m), was let to Marlborough Communications as lead contractor in November. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

29 Nov 11. United 40 UAV set for flight-tests. Adcom Systems of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) is soon to commence flight-tests of a new UAV that it describes as “a radical standard beyond anything else now in service”. The United 40 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) aircraft was unveiled at the Dubai Airshow in November, not as a mock-up but as a flight-ready air vehicle that Adcom said would begin trials in December.
(Source: Jane’s, IDR)

29 Nov 11. Adcom unveils lightweight Namrod PGM. United Arab Emirates-based Adcom Systems has developed a lightweight turbojet-powered precision-guided munition (PGM) for use on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Namrod missile has a range of about 60 km and two versions have been drawn up with different warhead calibres. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

06 Dec 11. Iran’s claims to have brought down one of the U.S. Air Force’s stealthy unmanned RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance aircraft are highly dubious, analysts and Pentagon officials said. However, the loss of contact with the pilotless jet cast doubts on the service’s claim that it has a good handle on maintaining uninterrupted control of such aircraft. On Dec. 4, Iran claimed to have shot down the stealthy Lockheed Martin-built aircraft. Later, government officials claimed that it had used an electronic or cyber attack to bring down the bat-winged drone and that the aircraft was recovered largely intact. The Iranians have not produced any evidence to back up those claims. While acknowledging that an unmanned aircraft is missing, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)-Afghanistan, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, declined to say whether the aircraft in question was an RQ-170. (Source: Defense News)

07 Dec 11. GKN Aerospace celebrates successful first flight of second X-47B. Major portion of wing and fuselage structure supplied by GKN Aerospace. The US Navy and Northrop Grumman have successfully completed first flight of the second Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) air vehicle. As part of a multi-year contract, GKN Aerospace has designed and manufactured a large portion of the fuselage and wing structure for this pioneering aircraft. The tailless aircraft’s complex centre fuselage, wings, bay covers and actuated doors, all produced by GKN Aerospace, contain a lightwei

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