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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

21 Feb 07. Elbit Systems Ltd. is negotiating with Thales for the lease of Hermes 450 UAVs for British Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan. The deal is reportedly worth $50m. Thales is the chief contractor for the British Army’s Watchkeeper UAV program. The first UAVs are due for delivery in 2010. Meanwhile, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has recognized an urgent need for tactical UAVs for intelligence purpose, because the British Army’s existing UAVs cannot handle the harsh climactic conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Jane’s Defence Weekly” quotes British Army sources complaining about the poor performance by their UAVs, which are causing serious operational problems by units in the field. The British Army is therefore urging procurement of an interim solution until the Watchkeeper program is implemented. (Source: Globes Publisher Itonut/Shephard)

20 Feb 07. AeroVironment Corp., Monrovia, Calif., was awarded on Feb. 14, 2007, a $46,797,769 modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for procurement of RQ-11 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Known as Raven), and associated initial spare packages.Work will be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 11, 2008.Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.This was a sole source contract initiated on Feb. 7, 2007.The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338).

20 Feb 07. AeroVironment Corp., Monrovia, Calif., was awarded on Feb. 14, 2007, a $6,661,985 modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for procurement of RQ-11 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Known as Raven), and associated Initial spare packages to meet emergent Marine Corps needs. Work will be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 11, 2008.Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.This was a sole source contract initiated on Feb. 7, 2007.The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338).

22 Feb 07. The U.S. Air Force on Thursday said it awarded a $70.4m contract to Raytheon Co. for 60 multi-use sensor systems for two aircraft. The sensors will be equipped on the MQ-1 Predator, a medium-altitude, remotely piloted aircraft and the MQ-9 Reaper, another unmanned plane. The defense company will complete the work by August 2008.

15 Feb 07. The three-way partnership of InRob, Ltd., Israel Tractors and Equipment, Ltd., the Caterpillar dealer in Israel and Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd. Ramta Division, have begun of their jointly-developed Robotic MTL 257B platform. Under the partnership, the team developed a dedicated robotic control system to convert Caterpillar’s MTL 257 B into an unmanned platform for use in military, para-military, law enforcement, and civilian operations. The first phase of this development project has now been completed, and saw the integration of a military-qualified robotic control system into the MTL. The 3-way team is now focused on field demonstrations of the robotic MTL while integrating additional equipment and systems from each partner onboard this multi-terrain loader. Pooling each member’s core competencies, the partnership is confidant of its ability to provide the market with robust and reliable, yet low-cost unmanned engineering-type equipment while safeguarding operators from harm. (Source: Shephard)

Feb 07. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $5,000,000 fixed-price incentive – firm target contract. This action provides for Long Lead Parts/Advance Procurement for the following Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 7 items for Vought and Heroux: two (2) RQ-4 Block 30-ASIP enable air vehicles each containing an Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) three, (3) RQ-4 Block 40 air vehicles each cont

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