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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

10 Sep 12. France, which had favoured a joint project with Britain to build military drones under the previous government, is looking at partnerships with other countries, Defence Minister Jean-Yves said on Monday, as he criticised the cost and effectiveness of the project with Britain. Le Drian previously said the new Socialist government would reach a decision before July 14 on the next-generation medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) drone, but on Monday he said talks with other countries were taking time. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy had pushed France’s Dassault Aviation and Britain’s BAE Systems to build their own drone as part of a defence accord between the two countries.
“Regarding the MALE drone … I have major reservations about the project on which we were originally embarked, both in terms of cost and efficiency,” Le Drian said at a defence event in Brittany. I am considering a solution, and if it’s taking a bit of time, it’s because we
would not be alone, that means with other countries.”
Le Drian added that France remained committed to the A400M military transporter being built by EADS’ Airbus unit, which was recently hit by fresh delays. The country has ordered 50 of the aircraft. (Source: Reuters)

10 Sep 12. The SeaFox™ mine neutralization system, delivered by ATLAS North America (ATLAS NA), a subsidiary of the German-based ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH, once again proved its effectiveness in performing unmanned mine countermeasure missions, when participating in Trident Warrior 2012 U.S. Navy Fleet Experiment, July 9-20. During the Fleet Experiment, Textron/AAI used its Fleet Class Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) with a L-3 Klein 5000 V2 Side Scan Sonar to investigate a suspected minefield. When detecting a mine-like object, its’ coordinates were input into the SeaFox™ to further prosecute the potential target. A second CUSV then remotely deployed the SeaFox™ for examining and identifying the exercise-mines, followed by a simulated mine-neutralization. The Trident Warrior scenarios were executed in a practice mine-field laid by the U.S. Navy off-shore of the Marine Corp Base at Camp Pendleton, California. SeaFox™ successfully performed over 15 mine hunting and neutralization missions from the Textron/AAI CUSV against both moored and bottom mines and under differing sea conditions.

11 Sep 12. Patria and Insta complete the first Unmanned Aerial System flights with MPNDL data link. Patria and Insta have successfully completed the first Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) test flights of the Multi Purpose Networking Data Link (MPNDL). Carried out in connection with the Cassidian-led Agile UAV NCE test flight campaign, the tests were the first time MPNDL has flown on-board an unmanned system. Successful testing of MPNDL in an actual UAS scenario was yet another major milestone in the long-term development of a networking Command and Control data link designed to fulfill UAS communication related capability gaps originally identified in the extensive Technology Study carried out for the European Defence Agency EDA during 2006.

11 Sep 12. On 5 September, the Department of Defense announced new guidelines that will allow 66 countries to buy American-made unmanned air systems, but did not name the countries on that list. At IDEAA’s ComDef 2012 in Washington, Richard Genaille, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said the guidelines come from a Defense department policy worked out last year. Ultimately, Congress and the State department will have the final say in implementing these proposed regulations. After the announcement, Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush told Reuters he was happy the Obama administration had taken this “significant” step to boost arms exports, but that the regulations should be quickly codified into policy. “I wish we were further along in getting that done. It’s slow, it’s painful, but we’re doing the right things to move in that direction,” Bush told Re

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