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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

08 Mar 06. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on March 3, 2006, a $67,000,000 increment as part of a $214,321,143 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for System Development and Demonstration for the Extended Range/Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (43 percent), Adelanto, Calif. (14 percent), Palmdale, Calif. (8 percent), Salt Lake City, Utah (18 percent), Hunt Valley, Md. (14 percent), and Huntsville, Ala. (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There were 120 bids solicited on Sept. 1, 2004, and three bids were received. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0069).

06 Mar 06. The Canadian Forces has dropped plans to lease a fleet of tactical UAVs for operations in Afghanistan and instead will rely on its Sperwer UAVs to do the job. There were concerns whether the Canadian Forces had enough experience with the Sperwer to use it to support its new mission in Kandahar, which includes leading the multinational brigade responsible for the southern portion of the country. On Feb. 28, Canadian Army Brig. Gen. David Fraser took over as commander of the brigade, which includes 6,000 soldiers from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, the United States, Romania and Estonia. But a series of successful flight tests, as well as the realization that a UAV leasing plan had major problems, convinced Canadian military officials they could do the job with the French-built Sperwer. The Canadian Forces’ Sperwer had a controversial deployment in Afghanistan, with several widely publicized crashes in 2003 and 2004. The problems were blamed on a combination of operator inexperience and harsh operating conditions in the field. (Source: Defense News)

03 Mar 06. Northrop Grumman awarded $6m contract for Global Hawk operations. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $6,000,000 cost plus fixed fee contract for the operation of the Global Hawk system in a forward theater of operations for a classified length of time, which includes personnel, equipment, logistics and communication support. At this time, total funds have been obligated. This work will be complete April 2006. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-03-G-4306-0031).

06 Mar 06. Northrop Grumman Corporation and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have completed a study that will enable the MQ-5B Hunter UAV to carry additional payloads, increasing its effectiveness in providing communications, intelligence and firepower for the U.S. Army. The three-month research effort, conducted jointly by Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector and the university’s Structural Engineering department, tested the aircraft’s wing structure and verified that it can endure a higher amount of stress. This means the UAV can carry more weight during takeoff.

06 Mar 06. A Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) developed by its Communication Systems-West (CS-West) division was used to remotely command and control a Hunter UAV from an Apache helicopter as part of the Hunter Standoff Killer Team (HSKT) Advanced Concept Technology Development (ACTD). L-3 Communications supported the integration of the TCDL and the flight-testing of both aircraft under an agreement with the U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). The demonstration achieved Level IV UAV control, commanding and controlling both the UAV and its sensor payload from the airborne manned aircraft. The flight was a milestone in U.S. Army aviation history, the first time a UAV has been controlled from a U.S. Army Aviation helicopter through a TCDL. The Longbow Apache carried out its mission using hig

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