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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

14 Dec 06. The Pentagon is working on the next update to its unmanned systems road map for release in summer 2007, which for the first time will focus not just on unmanned aircraft but unmanned ground and sea systems as well. The road map will cover 2007-2032 and should be sent to the services in draft form for their review in late January or early February, according to Dyke Weatherington, head of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Planning Task Force.”As many of you know, the interaction between air, ground and maritime is core to our military capabilities,” Weatherington said during the Army Aviation Association of America’s (AAAA) UAS symposium in Arlington, Va., Dec. 12. “It should be no different for unmanned systems.” This time around, the summary of programs will be in the back of the road map rather than the front, Weatherington said. The front will be devoted to issues of greater concern to the Pentagon, including “how we integrate this stuff, how we address policy issues across the broad range of unmanned systems, [and] how we integrate these at the combatant commander level,” he said. “This next one is not going to be perfect … especially [concerning] the integration of all the three domains,” Weatherington told The DAILY. “We’re doing as much as we can … but that’s a relatively immature area. We’ll do our best to capture the major issues associated with that, but it’s going to take some work.” (Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report)

Dec 06. General Atomics awarded $13m contract modification for IGNAT UAV program. General Atomics Aeronautical System, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Dec. 18, 2006, a $13,807,439 modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for contractor logistics support in support of IGNAT Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (65 percent), Adelanto, Calif. (5 percent), Palmdale, Calif. (5 percent), and Salt Lake City, Utah (25 percent), and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This was a sole source contract initiated on May 1, 2006. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the reporting contract office (DAAH01-03-C-0124). (Source: Shephard)

13 Dec 06. Flights of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Beale Air Force Base in California are on hold while the U.S. Air Force and manufacturer Northrop Grumman try to determine why the aircraft briefly lost communications with the ground during its first flight from the base last month. Beale is home to two Global Hawks, the first of which arrived in October 2004 and has been kept on the ground for maintainer training. The second aircraft, which arrived last month, is to be flown in the local area for pilot training. But during its first operational flight from Beale on Nov. 21, that aircraft briefly experienced a lost communications link, at which point it began climbing to a pre-programmed parking altitude. The lost link lasted less than a minute, a government source told The DAILY, but occurred just after FAA flight controllers had cleared the aircraft to begin descending. When it began climbing instead, FAA controllers were briefly surprised, although the Global Hawk operator quickly clued them in. The controllers “just saw a behavior they hadn’t expected, and that caused them a little concern,” the source said.Despite the glitch, the flight was not cut short and the aircraft landed normally, according to Beale spokesman Capt. Mike Andrews. “We’re still looking at the problem and we’re still working very closely internally and externally with the FAA and the local flying community,” Andrews told The DAILY. “Safety is our first concern. We want to make sure we address this.” (Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report)

14 Dec 06. UCAVs offer fast track to stealth, long-range and carrier operations. On 9 November 2006 the US Air Force (USAF) became the first service to establish a

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