26 Feb 07. Lockheed Martin has successfully conducted the second phase in a series of tests of a new centralized controller device for unmanned air and ground vehicles. During the tests, Lockheed Martin demonstrated control of three different unmanned systems with its second-generation prototype device. “This Phase 2 demonstration represents our latest step forward in risk reduction for the U.S. Army’s Future Combat System Centralized Controller Device,” said Gene Holleque, director – Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The latest iteration of control device design allowed us to experiment with combinations of features, such as a touch screen joystick control. It also provided the opportunity to evaluate the configuration and placement of the controls for ease of use, and to explore the packaging issues inherent in integrating the necessary capability into a single small, lightweight device.” The centralized controller prototype developed by Lockheed Martin is manufactured by Esterline Mason Controls. It incorporates a touch screen, hand grips and several switches accommodating diverse control schemes and system operational requirements. The unmanned systems tested in Phase 2 included the iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT) PackBot(R) small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV); the Honeywell (NYSE: HON) Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) unmanned air vehicle and a Lockheed Martin medium-size UGV demonstrator. The Phase 2 demonstration followed the successful December 2006 Phase 1 demonstration in which two additional unmanned robotic systems were tested. In total, five different unmanned systems have been successfully tested during the prototype centralized controller demonstration.
28 Feb 07. Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems in McKinney has won a $70.4m Department of Defense contract to build targeting systems for unmanned aircraft. The contract was awarded in February, and work is expected to be complete in August 2008. Under the contract, Raytheon will make 65 targeting systems. The targeting system provides long-range surveillance, tracking and targeting for missiles and laser-guided firepower. The systems can be used on helicopters, airplanes and unmanned aircraft.