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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

13 Jul 06. According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, military authorities requested the U.S. to sell it four Global Hawks in 2008 at last year’s SCC in Hawaii in order to secure independent surveillance ability on North Korea. Korea requested this several times. However, last June, the U.S. put out a “not for sale” policy and have rejected Korea’s requests. The U.S. is thought to have rejected the request for fear that the core technology might be leaked. Some are known to be worried that confidential information collected on North Korea using the Global Hawk might be leaked to the North. In particular, its ability to track ballistic missiles the moment they are launched with its infrared sensors and report the information to a ground-level base allows it to be utilized as the core equipment of a missile defense (MD) system. The U.S.’ refusal to sell the Global Hawk has set back the military’s plan to introduce a high altitude UAV system until after 2010, and if the U.S. continually refuses, the whole system could fall apart. However, the mid-altitude UAV system development will be possibly completed around 2015. On the other hand, Japan received consent to buy the Global Hawk last June, and it has already secured budgets and commenced preparations to introduce the Global Hawk into its system.

16 Jul 06. The U.S. Coast Guard is hoping unmanned aerial systems (UASs) will help close the operational gap in its maritime air patrols, a top agency official says. Current Coast Guard legacy aircraft fly 44,400 marine patrol aircraft (MPA) flight hours per year, well short of the agency’s target of 61,600 MPA flight hours, says Rear Adm. Wayne Justice, the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Response. The Coast Guard plans to narrow that gap by 2012 with new aircraft and ship-launched UAVs acquired through the long-term Deepwater recapitalization program. Deepwater calls for the procurement of 45 Eagle Eye Vertical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as well as high altitude endurance UAVs. In addition, the land-based high altitude UAVs, capable of flying more than 30 hours without refueling and loitering in an area far longer than manned aircraft, will significantly improve Coast Guard maritime domain awareness, Justice told a July 13 Senate Commerce Committee hearing on UAVs. (Source: Shephard)

20 Jul 06. The U.K. MoD is soon to issue a UOR for the supply of UAVs and associated systems for use in Afghanistan. General Atomics, Thales, Northrop Grumman and BAE are amongst companies expressing interest.

Jul 06. Polish military tests claim to be world’s first for target pointing for artillery by mini UAV. WB Electronics, the leading military system integrator in Poland, performed an unprecedented demonstration of integration between SOFAR – the mini UAV surveillance platform and the automated artillery fire control system TOPAZ. The demonstration was held in June at the Wicko Pomorskie military test range in northern Poland. The tests were organized by the Polish MoND (Ministry of National Defence), which has sought for indigenous solution of mini UAV. The new, fully functional SOFAR mini UAV completed a number of in-flight tests as TOPAZ surveillance tool. The target pointing accuracy is the crucial MoND demand. WB Electronics’ SOFAR has been first to achieve results meeting MoND request in a test attended by the military. TOPAZ Fire Control System, also from the house of WB Electronics, had received the target coordinates from SOFAR and destroyed the target in the second round. The first round missed the target by mere 25m. The second firing being corrected in accordance to impact observation (also provided by SOFAR) hit the center of 4×4 m target floating in the open sea 8 km away from the firing battery. The battery consisted of four 152mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers “DANA”. SOFAR was observing the firing continuously from a distance of 400m from the target at the altitude of 500m. In the subsequent nighttime

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