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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

15 Jan 07. Germany To Field Unmanned Aircraft Recon Fleet by 2014. Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, this month is expected to decide on a contract to develop a signals intelligence (SIGINT) system to be integrated into the Euro Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), work worth €430m($558m). Such a deal would include the acquisition of peripheral equipment as well as training and logistics. The contract to develop and procure Euro Hawk is to be concluded with the newly founded company Euro Hawk GmbH, of which EADS and Northrop Grumman each hold 50 percent. According to the development contract proposed to parliament the first week in January, the German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, want to field an operational Euro Hawk prototype by the end of 2010, with four additional units to be bought between 2011 and 2014. While the prototype is part of the development deal, the Defense Ministry expects the acquisition of the additional units to cost another €430m. The Bundeswehr in October 2003 conducted successful test flights from the Nordholz naval air base of a prototype RQ-4A Global Hawk equipped with EADS-made sensors in a mission environment, to prove the possibility of integrating other systems into the Global Hawk frame. The Euro Hawk system will be based on the RQ-4B, which sports increased dimensions and greater payload capacity than the RQ-4A. (Source: Defense News)

Jan 07. ISE Ltd. of Vancouver, and IFREMER of Toulon, France share in the successful conclusion of sea acceptance tests with IFREMER’s second 3000 m autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) built by ISE. Following Factory Acceptance Tests in Vancouver, the vehicle was air-shipped from the West Coast of Canada on November 25th. It arrived at IFREMER’s Mediterranean facility in Seyne-sur-mer on November 28th. Sea acceptance testing started on December 6th, and was concluded on December 12th with a dive to 2450 m off Saint Tropez. “With this AUV having successfully completed acceptance trials in deep water, IFREMER now has two vehicles, which will be used with various scientific payloads covering geo-physical, physical, and fisheries applications”, states Jan Opderbecke, Project Manager, AUVs for IFREMER. “The Explorer AUV ‘AsterX’, is an efficient and reliable system that has proven it’s capabilities for the operational oceanographic service.” IFREMER took possession of their first Explorer AUV in 2004. This latest delivery is the 4th AUV of the class built by ISE. A 5th vehicle is currently in production for the University of Bremen, Germany. The Explorer vehicle has been designed to operate from small vessels of opportunity, and has a level of modularity that allows it to be fitted with a wide variety of payload instrumentation. In the past year, the 1st IFREMER AUV has been used on scientific missions in the Atlantic, North Sea and the Mediterranean and has provided the researchers from a variety of institutes with high quality data over its depth range. (Source: Shephard)

Jan 07. The Army successfully beamed video from unmanned aerial vehicles to an Apache AH-64 Block III attack helicopter in a demonstration, service officials said. In recent tests at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, an Apache pilot in flight watched video beamed from a UAV that was 75 kilometers away. The UAV was the Future Combat Systems Class I Micro Air Vehicle, a small 50-pound, 3-foot UAV being developed for the Army’s Future Combat Systems. The test checked the software, logistics and communications systems. The video demonstration was part of a broader effort called FCS 1.1, which includes experiments with high bandwidth networking with vehicles, helicopters and UAVs. Today, the AH-64D has the ability to digitally send target information to ground vehicles; the idea with FCS 1.1 is to demonstrate how an Apache could share information with all sorts of forces. The signal travels from the MAV to a ground station where it is beamed, encrypted, to the chopper in near real-time, pro

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