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17 Feb 12. The Syrian army has continued to bombard at least half a dozen cities, despite the United Nations calling for an end to the violence. ITN’s Bill Neely reports. “A good number” of unmanned U.S. military and intelligence drones are operating in the skies over Syria, monitoring the Syrian military’s attacks against opposition forces and innocent civilians alike, U.S. defense officials tell NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski. The officials said this surveillance is not in preparation for U.S. military intervention. Rather, the Obama administration hopes to use the overhead visual evidence and intercepts of Syrian government and military communications in an effort to “make the case for a widespread international response,” the officials told Miklaszewski.Unlike in Libya, there has been no widespread international support for military intervention in the country. And while there has been some discussion among White House, State Dept. and Pentagon officials about possible humanitarian missions, U.S. officials fear that those missions could not be carried out without endangering those involved and would almost certainly draw the United States into a military role in Syria. (Source: AUVSI)

Feb 12. This year’s Singapore Airshow 2012, held in the Asia-Pacific city-state in February, featured many companies from the region touting their new and emerging aircraft, while many U.S. companies maintained a presence but had little new wares and product releases. Unmanned systems companies from Europe and Israel focused on partnering with companies in the region and improving the capabilities of their current unmanned lineup. One of the most conspicuous unmanned systems at the show came from Elbit Systems, which showed off its Hermes 900 full-sized model debut at the show. The Hermes 900 has a larger payload bay, extended flight time and flexible payload configurations. The company previously sold the Hermes 450 to Singapore and would like to follow that up with the 900. The company also released a new hyperspectral imaging sensor, useful for conditions which electro-optical or thermal imaging is not enough, says Aharonson. The product could be useful in both the military and the civilian sectors, in applications like searching for shallow land mines, says Aharonson. Swedish company CybAero has experience selling to the Asia-Pacific region through a partnership the company has with local dealer Stratech Systems. The company would like to expand its sales to China’s civil market, the only sector that is clear for export, says Niklas Nyroth, director of sales and marketing for CybAero. The company’s prime UAV, the Apid 60 vertical takeoff and landing system, is a multipurpose aircraft that can also be used in the maritime environment. By far the largest booth presence at the show was Singapore’s homegrown ST Engineering. Its ST Aerospace division showed the company’s Skyblade IV, which will go into production in the second half of 2012, according to Milly Tay, vice president of the company’s UAV Business sector. Two years prior at the Singapore air show, the product was undergoing testing with no release date in sight. The company also showed its new Skyblade 360, which is still under development. The craft will run for three hours in a battery configuration, which ST Aerospace hopes to release sometime in 2013. A second configuration of the aircraft, using a fuel cell battery, will be in the works after that, says Tay. (Source: AUVSI)

25 Feb 12. Bluefin Robotics, a subsidiary of Battelle, is joining with The Columbia Group to invest in the next generation large submersible vehicle. Bluefin is a leader in design and manufacture of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and related technology. Battelle has a long history of meeting the technology needs of the U.S. Navy including work on the Advanced SEAL Delivery System. The Columbia Group has provided the U.S. and foreign navies with Swimmer Delivery Vehicles for more than 20 years. The

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