25 Aug 06. Northrop Grumman Corporation rolled out the first production version of the new RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance system in a ceremony today at the company’s Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale. Company and U.S. Air Force officials introduced the advanced capability Block 20 air vehicle to an audience of senior government and military representatives, community and civic leaders, industry teammates and employees. The Block 20 Global Hawk represents a significant increase in capability over the Block 10 configuration. The larger Block 20 aircraft will carry up to 3,000 pounds of internal payload and will operate with two-and-a-half times the power of its predecessor. Its open system architecture, a so-called “plug-and-play” environment, will accommodate new sensors and communication systems as they are developed to help military customers quickly evaluate and adopt new technologies.
Aug 06. Hydroid LLC have recently received a contract for a REMUS 100 system from the Ocean Systems Laboratory, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. David Lane, a professor at the university’s Engineering School of Engineering and Physical Science stated that “The Ocean Systems Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University aims to raise the technology readiness levels of its leading research portfolios in computer aided detection and classification, adaptive broadband sonar design, advanced navigation/motion control and onboard autonomy. As a reliable AUV platform with an established customer base, REMUS 100 will provide a first class demonstration platform in planned trials with offshore, scientific and military partners across the world.” Hydroid LLC holds the exclusive license from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the manufacture and further development of the REMUS Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) technology. (Source: Shephard)
31 Aug 06. Lockheed Martin introduced its new Squad Mission Support System (SMSS), leveraging robotic technologies for future robotic weapons systems. The SMSS will decrease the amount of time a warfighter has to spend in controlling robotic systems by providing vehicles with a greater perception of their surroundings on the battlefield. Combining perception with extraordinary mobility will allow vehicles to follow the warfighter across any terrain, guaranteeing the payload the robotic system is carrying will be available whenever and wherever the warfighter needs it. “Innovation and hard work have brought to life the SMSS,” said Gene Holleque, director – Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This system will fill a present need for the Army’s combat operations.” This robotics program, funded by Lockheed Martin as an independent research and development project, will provide manned and unmanned transport and logistical support to the Light and Early Entry Forces. The SMSS’ supervised autonomy will provide the warfighter with a reliable squad-size vehicle which will improve combat readiness, while assuring re-supply channels and casualty evacuations.
30 Aug 06. The Indian government is set to unleash UAVs to map the movement and positions of Naxalites in Chhattisgarh, in what is an aggressive attempt to tackle the rising threat of ‘red terror’. Top government sources said UAVs would be pressed into “air surveillance” to gather information on positioning of Naxalites in the vast jungles. Paramilitary forces in these jungles have been unable to gain an upper hand for lack of knowledge of the inhospitable terrain. The UAV-procured intelligence would be used to plan pin-pointed offensives by ground forces. If the Centre’s move comes through, paramilitary forces, mainly the CRPF, and state police may assume a pro-active role in pursuing Naxalites for the first time. Till now, the Maoists, familiar with the jungles, surprised the forces at will, inflicting heavy casualties on them as well as on anti-Naxal salva judum t