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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

20 Sep 13. US Navy Expands Surveillance Mission for Northrop Grumman BAMS-D. The US Navy will increase by 50 percent the monthly surveillance flights of a Northrop Grumman Corporation-built maritime unmanned demonstrator under a contract awarded September 6. The contract will allow Navy commanders to keep closer tabs on activities in the ocean and coastal regions of the Middle East. Under terms of the $9.98m award, the company will provide maintenance, operations and other support services to enable the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) aircraft to fly 15 missions per month, up from nine missions per month in previous years.
“The Navy planned a six-month demonstration of the BAMS-D aircraft in 2009 to test the maritime surveillance capabilities of the system,” said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman program director for the Triton unmanned aircraft program that includes the BAMS-D. “That demonstration was so successful that the service has used them for more than four years now.”
Based on the Global Hawk unmanned air system designed for land surveillance, the BAMS-D systems were modified to work in a maritime environment. In April, the aircraft surpassed 10,000 flight hours. The BAMS-D aircraft regularly fly missions more than 24 hours long. Flying at high altitude, they can monitor and gather imagery from vast areas of ocean and coastal regions.

16 Sep 13. Zycraft’s Vigilant-class IUSV completes phase 1 development. Zycraft has successfully completed the phase one development of the Vigilant-class independent unmanned surface vessel (IUSV), LongRunner. During the development phase, the LongRunner vessel has successfully completed in-water testing off Singapore waters and travelled a total of 2000nm over 24 months. The IUSV has also undergone several fleet battle experiments and validated continuous unmanned operations, exceeding 48 hours. Remotely commanded and controlled from Zycraft’s headquarters ashore using satellite communications, the unmanned vessel travelled 100nm into the South China Sea during the phase one development period. Capable of being operated from base to base and independent of a mother ship, the 16.5m-long IUSV features Arovex advanced composite material and allows more payload and fuel for enhanced range and operational capabilities. Zycraft’s president, James Soon, said that the Vigilant IUSV has been designed to be very effective in above-water maritime surveillance and could be the nexus for widespread USV employment. In order to provide enhanced situational awareness to a shore base, the unmanned system is fitted with radar, electronic support measures (ESM), and electro-optic sensors as well as automated identification system (AIS). With an endurance capacity exceeding 1200nm, the IUSV can be used to conduct missions including coastal security, search and rescue, and maritime logistics for nations with large exclusive economic zone. Navies with the IUSV concept do not need to construct bigger ships to carry small USVs, but instead can depend on the size of the bigger IUSV to have high endurance and carry the needed payloads, according to Zycraft. Currently, Zycraft is working with several vendor partners to develop sensor technologies to further enhance the ability of the IUSV roles. (Source: naval-technology.com)

18 Sep 13. Aurora Flight Sciences announced at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference that the Orion Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) successfully completed its first flight on August 24, 2013. The flight was conducted on a western test range, lasted three hours and thirty-one minutes, and reached a maximum altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level. (Source: UAS VISION)

16 Sep 13. Northrop Sees Foreign Sales Opportunities for Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman Corp. on Monday said it expects expanded sales of its high-altitude unmanned Global Hawk aircraft, which passed 100,000 flight hours this month, with foreign countries including Canada, South Kore

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