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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

07 Jun 12. Poland’s Ministry of Defense has announced plans to acquire between 123 and 205 UAVs by 2018, reported local newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, at a cost of at least 1bn zloty ($295mi). With the planned acquisition, the Polish ministry aims to establish a new military unit within the structure of the country’s Special Forces Command which oversees the activities of special operations units. According to a strategy paper drafted by the Ministry of Defense, which outlines the vision of the Polish armed forces’ transformation by 2030, UAVs are to become the cornerstone of the military’s reconnaissance forces. The ministry envisages that drones will be operated by Poland’s land forces and the Air Force, the document said. In addition to UAVs, the unit is also expected to operate unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), according to the Polish newspaper. (Source: Defense News)

04 Jun 12. Boeing’s Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system (UAS) completed its first autonomous flight June 1 at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The 28-minute flight began at 6:22 a.m. Pacific time as the liquid-hydrogen powered aircraft lifted off its launch cart. Phantom Eye climbed to an altitude of 4,080 feet and reached a cruising speed of 62 knots. After touching down, the vehicle sustained some damage when the landing gear dug into the lakebed and broke. Phantom Eye is the latest in a series of Boeing-funded rapid prototyping programs, which include Phantom Ray, Echo Ranger, ScanEagle Compressed Carriage, and an associated Common Open Mission Management Command and Control (COMC2) system capable of managing all of the company’s unmanned assets.

25 May 12. Seaspray demonstrated on Predator B. A consortium made-up of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), Cobham Aviation Services and Selex Galileo has demonstrated the latter’s Seaspray 7500E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar aboard a GA-ASI Predator-B unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The 16 May flight was part of an ongoing self-funded GA-ASI/Selex Galileo venture to integrate platform agnostic sensors and systems aboard the Predator. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

25 May 12. SQ-4 Recon grows capabilities. BCB International has introduced a number of improvements to its SQ-4 Recon unmanned aircraft system (UAS), increasing endurance and adding a swarming capability, among others. Speaking to IHS Jane’s at WBR’s Soldier Technology 2012 conference in London, BCB’s managing director, Andrew Howell, said that the combination of a new lithium sulphide battery and lighter motors has combined to significantly improve the platform’s endurance. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

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