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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

12 Mar 13. Drone Industry Predicts Explosive Economic Boost. Drones as weapons and drones as spies remain matters of intense debate across the country, but the controversial aircraft are poised to make an impact as something else: economic engines. Private-sector drones — also called unmanned aerial systems or UAVs — will create more than 70,000 jobs within three years and will pump more than $82 billion into the U.S. economy by 2025, according to a major new study commissioned by the industry’s leading trade group. But the report, authored by aerospace specialist and former George Washington University professor Darryl Jenkins, assumes that the White House and Congress stick to the current schedule and have in place the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks. (Source: Glstrade.com/Washington Times)

14 Mar 13. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Common Imagery Processor (CIP) has demonstrated an important new capability by processing Global Hawk Block 40 data on the Distributed Common Ground System – Imagery (DCGS-I) testbed. A live flight event late last year marked the first time that Global Hawk Block 40 data was successfully received, processed and disseminated on the DCGS-I testbed using the CIP. After the Global Hawk platform transmitted the newest Block 40 concurrent modes data to the testbed, the CIP processed and transmitted this data to other downstream ground station components for viewing and exploitation. As the primary sensor processing element of the DCGS-I testbed based in China Lake, Calif., the CIP accepts airborne imagery data, processes it into an exploitable image and then outputs the image to other elements within the testbed. The CIP is the standard image processor used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The CIP also helps coalition partners to consolidate redundant and stovepiped processing systems.

12 Mar 13. The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract valued at more than $71m to produce six additional next-generation Fire Scout unmanned helicopters. The Fire Scout endurance upgrade, designated the MQ-8C and based on Bell Helicopter’s 407, will provide ship commanders with increased range, endurance and payload capacity over the current MQ-8B variant. The Navy plans to purchase a total of 30 aircraft under a rapid development effort. Northrop Grumman is currently under contract to produce 14 Fire Scouts that are scheduled to begin deploying in 2014. Manufacturing and assembly operations of the new Fire Scout variant are well under way across the country, with airframe modifications being made at Bell’s facility in Ozark, Ala., and final assembly being completed at Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.

11 Mar 13. ShadowHawk UAS to participate in US maritime demonstration programme. The US Navy and Naval Surface Warfare Center has selected Vanguard Defense Industries-built ShadowHawk unmanned aerial system (UAS) to participate in the Stiletto maritime demonstration programme (SMDP). Funded by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office, Emerging Capabilities Division, the SMDP is aimed to help developers accelerate delivery of new maritime technologies for the armed services. The first capability demonstration of the SMDP was conducted for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, in January 2013. NECC’s deputy assistant chief of staff for strategy and technology Dale Shiflett said that the SMDP has enabled NECC sailors to look at possibilities for new and improved technologies for military. (Source: naval-technology.com)

13 Mar 13. IDF Ground Forces set to induct Skylark 2 UAV in operational service. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ground troops are planning to bring the Skylark Generation 2 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into operational service in the next few months. Currently undergoing final testing stages, the UAV is scheduled to be o

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