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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

05 Jun 06. Boeing and a team of U.S. bio-defense companies will modify the ScanEagle UAV to look for biological warfare agents as part of a program funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the U.S. Department of Defense. The DTRA has awarded Boeing Phantom Works a two-year, Phase 1 contract worth $8.2m for the Biological Combat Assessment System (BCAS) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program. The DTRA and the Boeing-led team will work with the U.S. Pacific Command and the U.S. Navy Third Fleet to design and develop a remote sensor system that can assess battle damage and collateral effects, employing breakthrough operational capabilities to locate, track, collect and detect simulated biological warfare agents in a designated target area. The team will integrate the sensor system into the Boeing-Insitu ScanEagle UAV and then will demonstrate the system’s capabilities in flight tests. Successful flight tests will lead to a possible Phase 2 follow-on contract and limited production options with the DTRA worth $15m.

Jun 06. Thales and JUEP team concludes UAV testing. Together with Boeing, Insitu and QinetiQ, Thales UK has concluded the third stage of a series of maritime trials of a UAV for MoD. Thales was the prime contractor responsible for the progress of the Joint UAV Experimentation Programme (Team JUEP), testing and monitoring a ScanEagle UAV developed by Boeing and the Insitu Group. The £3m third phase of testing was a significant step for the Royal Navy, launching the unmanned craft from the HMS Sutherland in a series of surveillance tasks, testing the networkability, image quality and manoeuvrability of the ScanEagle. Images were monitored in real-time by a networked Sea King Mk7 using Airborne Surveillance and Control before successfully landing on the ship. Testing off the north-west coast of Scotland, the ScanEagle negotiated the Hebrides during a six-hour flight, all the while transmitting footage to the HMS Sutherland.

05 Jun 06. Two new Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance systems, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation, have already flown approximately 50 missions and more than 1,000 combat hours in support of coalition forces since their deployment in the Persian Gulf in January of this year. The initial production versions of the Global Hawk have improved sensor capabilities over previous Global Hawk versions.

Jun 06. iRobot awarded $64m contract for robotic systems in Iraq and Afghanistan. iRobot Corp.*, Burlington, Mass., is being awarded a $64,330,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for operator and technician training, Packbot spare parts, and new robots for the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office for use by the Joint Robotics repair facilities and imbedded repair teams deployed in support of contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror. Work will be performed in Burlington, Mass., and is expected to be completed in May 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61339-06-D-0015).

Jun 06. Robonic’s Kemijärvi UAV Test Range Secures First Customer. Robonic’s Arctic Test UAV Flight Centre (RATUFC) at Kemijarvi, Finland will commence commercial operations in mid June with a lead customer having now been confirmed. The customer, who cannot be named for commercial reasons, anticipates a seven day flight programme with a state of the art unmanned air vehicle. The new range has been established by Robonic Ltd of Tampere, Finland, makers of the worlds premier unmanned air vehicle ground launch systems. According to Robonic Managing Director Juha Moisio, “the commencement of commercial flight operations at RATUFC represents a major breakthrough in the evolution of the European unmanned air vehicle sector.

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