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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

25 Jan 13. A Northrop Grumman Corporation-built NASA Global Hawk is now conducting science missions to study the impact of atmospheric change on the Earth’s climate. The Global Hawk is collecting data and helping scientists learn more about the humidity and chemical composition of air entering the tropical tropopause layer of the atmosphere and its impact on the Earth’s overall climate. The Airborne Tropical TRopopause Experiment (ATTREX) campaign, sponsored by NASA, began on Jan. 16 at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and will conclude on March 15. In collaboration with NASA, Northrop Grumman is also providing engineering analysis, mission planning, maintenance, pilots, and flight operations support for these important science missions.

22 Jan 13. Governor Mary Fallin, Secretary of Science and Technology Stephen McKeever and Michael Toscano, president & CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), unveiled new economic data which finds Oklahoma is poised to create nearly 600 new jobs in the first three years following the integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into U.S. airspace. Meanwhile, beyond the first three years, Oklahoma stands to capture hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of additional new jobs by 2025. The data come from a forthcoming AUVSI-commissioned study examining the national and state-by-state economic impact and job creation potential resulting from the UAS integration into national airspace, which is expected to occur by 2015. Fallin created the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Council in 2011, which has since produced a strategic roadmap to help make Oklahoma the “go-to” place for UAS research, development and testing.

22 Jan 13. Report outlines Gray Eagle’s room for improvement. A US Department of Defense (DoD) report has outlined recommendations to improve the deployment and operation of the US Army’s fledgling MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capability. The report from the office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) developed its recommendations based on the Gray Eagle’s performance in an Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) held for the Apache Block III helicopter in March through April 2012 at the National Training Center (NTC) in Fort Irwin, California, and a dedicated IOT&E for the Gray Eagle, where the UAS was again based at Edwards. The March/April activity saw the UAS taking part in the manned/unmanned teaming element of the IOT&E, while the Gray Eagle’s own IOT&E was focused on the aircraft’s role in an exercise at the NTC where it operated in support of a brigade combat team undertaking a training rotation. There, the unit operated at a range of altitudes and distances, and mission sets included intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and strike with Hellfire missiles; mission success was rated at 73%.(Source: Jane’s)

21 Jan 13. US looks for USV influence. The US Navy (USN) is to move ahead with plans for an unmanned surface vessel (USV)-based influence minesweeping capability to operate as part of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package after abandoning efforts to deploy towed sweep gear from the MH-60S helicopter. Industry responses to a draft Request for Proposals (RfP) for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) are due for return to the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) by 24 January 2013. Meanwhile, the annual report from Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), issued in mid-January, confirmed that both the Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS) and the AN/ALQ-20 towed sonar are no longer being developed for the Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) programme because the MH-60S has insufficient power to tow the equipment safely. The draft RfP solicitation for UISS was posted by NAVSEA on 28 December 2012. It characterises UISS as a semi-autonomous, high-endurance unmanned magnetic and ac

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