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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

Jul 06. Final JUEP trials break new ground for UAV handling and spark armed forces interest. The final trials of the three-year Joint UAV Experimentation Programme (JUEP) were completed earlier this year. Sqn Ldr Jon Hiscox, SO2 UAV Air at the Royal Air Force’s Air Warfare Centre UAV Battlelab, said that the trials had been a success despite time and budgetary pressures. for acounting reasons the programmes budget had to be spent before the end of the financial year on 31st March. The three year programme has looked at the utility of UAVs in a number of scenarios, but the final trial conducted in the Benbecula proving area of the coast of north-west Scotland broke new ground in its launch, control and recovery of a UAV from a frigate. For the trials Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland was equipped with a ground control station (GCS) in its helicopter hanger and with a launch catapult and skyhook retrieval system. During the course of the three-week trial the ScanEagle achieved six launches and four retrievals aboard the warship. The Type 23 frigate was also successfully able to demonstrate NATO Level 5 control of the UAV. There was also a second GCS on one of the islands in the trials area and operation of the ScanEagle was successfully passed between the two stations. John W. Hayn, Boeing International Program Manager Unmanned ISR Systems, told Unmanned Systems that possibly the most technically challenging part of the trials, especially given the financial and time constraints, was the link establised with a Sea King helicopter. QinetiQ was responsible for the alterations to the aircraft which was fitted with an antenna to receive imagery from the ScanEagle and a flat panel display for its dissemination to the aircraft crew. As a result of this the teamwas able to achieve Level 2 control of the UAV from the helicopter. Hayn says that this is a first for any country. (Source: Shephard)

Jul 06. AB Precision introduce new Guardian miniature ROV. In the early nineties, ABP and its Miniature Remotely Operated Vehicle (MROV) Cyclops provided the world’s EOD community with its first readily available means to remotely deploy EOD tools in confined and difficult to access areas such as those found in buses, planes, trains and residential dwellings. Through continuous development Cyclops has remained at the forefront of capability and versatility in this rapidly developing market and to this day is the favoured equipment by many of the world’s most respected EOD authorities. However, ABP has recognised that to retain this status against increasing competition and capability, a step change in capability, operability and maintainability is required. To ensure ABP makes this step change and to ensure the EOD community has the tools it requires to counter the ever increasing threat from global terrorism into the future a significant development programme has been underway at ABP. (Source: Shephard)

Jul 06. The UK is moving ahead with plans to procure an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) with a mine countermeasures (MCM) reconnaissance (Recce) capability to enter Royal Navy (RN) service from 2009. Industry observers expect the programme to cover the acquisition of between two and four vehicles, plus associated control and ancillary systems and provision of contractor logistic support for a minimum of five years. The primary role of the vehicles will be the execution of MCM reconnaissance operations, hydrographic surveys and environmental monitoring in support of other RN operations; it will have a secondary role in support of search and salvage operations. Candidate vehicles to meet the Recce UUV requirement include Bluefin Robotics’ Bluefin-12, the Hydroid REMUS 600, the Kongsberg HUGIN MRS, Atlas Elektronik’s Sea Otter Mk II, the ISE Explorer, and Saab Underwater Systems’ AUV-MR. It is understood that BAE Systems Underwater Weapon Systems is considering bidding a system derived from its Talisman testbed UUV. (Source: Jane’s Navy Inter

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