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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

20 September 2006. BAE Systems is to work with the Royal Air Force’s Air Warfare Centre on a project to integrate the company’s HERTI Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) System into UK military exercises. This will be the first time a fully-autonomous UAV has been introduced into military exercises in the UK. Called ‘Project Morrigan’, this programme is initially intended to run for two years. It will enable the introduction of BAE Systems’ fully-autonomous HERTI System into progressively more complex military exercises, in order to better understand the contribution autonomous UAV systems can make in the joint battlespace. The agreement between the Air Warfare Centre’s Unmanned Air Vehicle Battlelab (AUB), the Ministry of Defence, and BAE Systems was signed by Mark Kane, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Autonomous Systems & Future Capability (Air) and Air Commodore Tim Anderson, Commandant of the Air Warfare Centre (AWC). It marks a significant step forward in the development of UAV capabilities within the UK. Established earlier this year, the AUB’s Mission Directive is to test, evaluate and develop the potential for UAVs to be integrated into the Joint Operational air environment and deliver effective operational capabilities. BAE Systems, which publicly launched the HERTI system at the recent Farnborough International Air Show, has welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with the AUB.

18 Sep 06. SUAV(E) Could Have Big Impact on U.K. UAVs. A team of top British companies and universities is nearing an agreement with the Ministry of Defence that could significantly improve unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) capabilities here. One government source said that more than £200m ($376m) could be poured into the technology demonstrator program over the next few years. Britain wants a better understanding of key technologies and operational capabilities as part of its Strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Experimental), or SUAV(E), program — an effort to look at UCAV technology, cost-effectiveness and interoperability in various long-range roles.
Building a strategic UAV is likely to be the largest technology demonstrator program launched by the British since the Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) was agreed by government and industry in 1982. EAP led to the launch of the Eurofighter Typhoon program and helped save Britain from slipping out of the combat aircraft sector. The SUAV(E) initiative could have a similar impact.Andy Wilson, BAE Systems director of sales and marketing for military autonomous
systems, said the hope is that the UAV demonstrator could be the precursor to a full production program in Britain. Mike Turner, chief executive of BAE, which leads the industry UAV effort, said it was a “very important development for the future of the U.K. defense industrial base.” BAE is in talks with the government regarding the future consolidation of the military aircraft sector here. As the Defence Industrial Strategy document published by the MoD late last year made clear, the current size of the industry is unsustainable, and development of UAV and UCAV know-how has an important role in retaining jobs and capabilities in the sector. Turner said the UAV demonstrator talks with government were nearing the end during a meeting with journalists Sept. 13 following release of BAE’s interim financial results ending in June. (Source: Defense News)

19 Sep 06. The U.S. Navy on Tuesday awarded a $10m contract modification to Boeing Co. to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle services in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror. Contract work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in September 2007.

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