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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

07 Feb 13. Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully flew a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft for the first time using open architecture-based command and control software and hardware developed by the company, moving the company one step closer to offering its common Mission Management Control System (MMCS) product, which can be implemented across various unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to improve mission effectiveness and reduce training requirements. The flight demonstration was conducted last December, and was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk Program Office as part of the Ground Station Technical Refresh contract. The MMCS used for the demonstration was comprised of hardware and software developed by the company’s Common Mission Management System (CMMS) product center. The MMCS is based upon an open, nonproprietary, standards-based, scalable, common architecture and service descriptions. During the flight demonstration, a Global Hawk took off under operator control through the U.S. Air Force Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Once airborne, aircraft control was successfully transferred to the MMCS located at the Global Hawk Systems Integration Laboratory in San Diego. The aircraft was then flown through a series of maneuvers until control was transferred back to the LRE for landing. The Ground Station Technical Refresh contract is a stepping stone for continued development of common UAS control systems that can be used by a variety of unmanned platforms. Currently, each UAS requires a costly dedicated, custom-built command and control system. By developing a common foundation for command and control with sufficient flexibility to meet a range of standards, CMMS will ultimately be able to support a variety of UAS platforms. The CMMS product line is built upon standard off-the-shelf commercial hardware and core software infrastructure that decreases the time required to develop new unmanned control systems and enhances future technical upgrades because the system architecture is based upon well defined industry standards. Additionally, with the CMMS product line, pilots will be able to operate a variety of dissimilar unmanned platforms using the same informational displays and control features, thereby improving mission effectiveness while reducing training requirements.

06 Feb 13. The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and the Northrop Grumman Foundation announced a partnership to establish 200 new VEX Robotics Competition teams in locations worldwide and support the program’s outreach. In addition, the partnership will support the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship in Anaheim, Calif., April 17-20, an event that will attract more than 700. The REC Foundation is on target to increase to 7,000 teams – a 30 percent growth this year alone. The partnership with the Northrop Grumman Foundation will uniquely position the REC Foundation to respond to growing demand in communities in the U.S. and around the world with support for operational growth, events and new team grants. Locations targeted for expansion include: Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York, Dallas, Florida and Mississippi. The Northrop Grumman Foundation will provide a $2m grant over two years beginning in 2013.The REC Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which provides student teams worldwide with hands-on, curriculum-based robotics engineering programs while also offering valuable teamwork and problem-solving experience. Teams compete year-round at more than 350 events that culminate in April at the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship. The VEX Robotics Competition is the largest middle and high school robotics program in the world and is expected to reach more than 85,000 students during the 2012-2013 season.

01 Feb 13. A pair of big, blimp-like craft, moored to the ground and
flying as high as 10,000 feet, are to be added to a high-tech shield designed

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