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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

16 Feb 06. Northrop Grumman Corporation concluded a series of flights Jan. 5 that demonstrated the weapons-capable MQ-5B Hunter UAV ability to fly more than 21 hours, which is almost a ten-hour increase over the original RQ-5A Hunter UAV. “The MQ-5B increases our gross take-off weight to 1,950 pounds, providing our forces the capability to perform intelligence-gathering missions exceeding 21 hours using a single unmanned aircraft; or carry significantly more payload weight,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Gabbert, program manager of medium altitude endurance programs for the Army. “The fact that the MQ-5B is integrated into the Army’s One System ground control station offers us interoperability and decreases our training time, enabling us to train our first unit very rapidly as they deploy this greatly improved system in the near future.” Northrop Grumman accomplished the endurance increase by adding fuel capacity to the Hunter’s center wing area and increasing the efficiency of the air vehicle’s heavy fuel engine.

15 Feb 06. Rockwell Collins and teammates Oshkosh Truck Corporation and the University of Parma, have successfully demonstrated their Intelligent Vehicle Management System (iVMS) on an Oshkosh® Palletized Loading System (PLS) heavy logistics vehicle. The test was conducted on January 23 and 24 at the Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. The team demonstrated how technology developed for the Defense Advanced Research Project Administration’s (DARPA) Grand Challenge could be transferred onto a different vehicle platform in a six-week time period. Rockwell Collins, Oshkosh Truck and the University of Parma successfully completed the 132-mile DARPA Grand Challenge race in October 2005. The technology, utilized on the Oshkosh TerraMaxâ„¢ vehicle for the Grand Challenge, was transferred to the PLS vehicle, which ran seven 3-mile loops, both loaded and unloaded, through a Yuma Proving Grounds desert course, with no human input. Various U.S. Army and Marine personnel either viewed the demonstration or rode on the PLS.

13 Feb 06. The Pentagon says a new high-tech robotic vehicle that destroys roadside bombs needs further testing before it can be sent into battle. The remote-controlled vehicle, called the Joint IED Neutralizer, blows up roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, with a directed electrical charge. Critics say Pentagon bureaucracy is slowing deployment of the vehicle and costing lives. More than 50 percent of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq have been caused by roadside bombs, the Los Angeles Times reported. A prototype was tested extensively in mid-September in the Arizona desert, destroying most of the roadside bombs put in its way. But the Pentagon’s IED task force said that the device required further testing, and that a decision to delay deployment had been made jointly by Pentagon officials and commanders in Iraq, the newspaper said.

14 Feb 06. EDO Corporation has been awarded a contract from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to develop a weapon carriage and release system for the MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The initial system design and development contract is valued at $1.4m.

16 Feb 06. BAE Systems recently demonstrated its vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial system (UAS) at Fort Benning, Ga., for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Army representatives. The unmanned system is designed to fly for more than one hour, and deploy a signals intelligence (SIGINT) payload, known as “WolfPack.” As part of DARPA’s Network Centric Experiment VIP Demonstration in January, BAE Systems integrated WolfPack with its UAS to demonstrate the deployment and relocation of the sensors. WolfPack consists of unattended sensors designed to detect and disrupt enemy radio transmissions while avoiding disruption of friendly military and protected commercial communications and radars. BAE Systems unmanned aerial system is one of a number of options bei

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