25 Aug 14. American & Iranian UAS share airspace over Iraq. Without getting too chummy the U.S. and Iran have been trying to work out some rules for each other’s use of UAVs now operating over Iraq. Iranian UAVs have been seen flying over Iraq since late June, apparently with the approval of the Iraqi government (and quiet assent of the Americans, who already had F-16s and UAVs over Iraq). Between the U.S. and Iran there are often fifty or more UAV sorties over Iraq on some days. While Iraq is a big place, the UAVs from each country will often be seeking pictures of the same area at the same time. There have been no UAV collisions and few sightings by each other’s UAVs. Apparently the two nations have quietly agreed to leave each other’s UAVs to go about their business of supporting the Iraqi government in its fight against advancing ISIL Islamic terrorists. It’s unclear if there has been any sharing of information. (Source: UAS VISION/Strategy Page)
23 Aug 14. The Northrop Grumman Foundation, in partnership with the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, is launching the first Australia/New Zealand VEX Robotics Exhibition and Workshop. Existing teams from New Zealand will join newly formed teams from Australia at an educational experience event being hosted at Dickson College, Aug. 23-24 as part of National Science Week. The Australia/New Zealand VEX Robotics Exhibition and Workshop is free and open to all ages. VEX Robotics is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for elementary schools, high schools and colleges around the world. In the 2013-14 season more than 10,000 teams from 33 countries participated in more than 800 VEX Robotics competitions worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with the VEX Robotics World Championship which unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional and international VEX Robotics events. The VEX Robotics Competition is sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, which in 2013 provided support to launch the program in Australia with the development of 12 initial teams and a championship event. This year, many new teams are expected to join the competition. “Northrop Grumman has seen the growth and increased interest in robotics engineering programs on a local level and we are thrilled to support the VEX Robotics Competition in the communities where our employees live, work and educate their children,” said Ian Irving, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Australia. For details on upcoming events, please visit www.RobotEvents.com, a unique resource for teams and event partners to register and share updates from their robotics competitions.
27 Aug 14. Two U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Northrop Grumman Corporation’s high altitude long endurance (HALE) series safely surpassed 100,000 combat/operational support hours. The Air Force Global Hawk fleet logged more than 88 percent of the global intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information-gathering and airborne communications missions. The Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator flew the remaining hours. Combat/operational support hours are tallied separate from noncombat support hours – the UAS surpassed 100,000 total hours in September 2013. “Global Hawk has continuously and successfully supported overseas contingency operations since its first deployment to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” said Jim Culmo, vice president, HALE Enterprise, Northrop Grumman. “Operating 11 miles above danger zones, Global Hawk is a strategic airborne asset with unprecedented endurance, range and persistence providing decision makers near real-time information from around the world.” The aircrafts’ ISR missions support six combatant commands and have included contingency missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria. Global Hawk variants carry a variety of ISR sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather near real-tim