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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

Apr 07. Air Force, Army and Marine joint tactical air controllers defeated mock insurgents with the help of streaming video from the Condor unmanned aerial system during a close air support training mission here this week. Using the helicopter-style UAS, coalition — or blue forces — identified insurgent (red) forces in a faux village on the Avon Park Air Force Range and coordinated simulated air attacks by a B-52 Stratofortress bomber and an A-10 Warthog attack jet during the Atlantic Strike V exercise. Controlled by a laptop computer, the 47-inch long by 8-inch high, 11.5-pound Condor streams full motion video through its softball-size zoomable camera, which resembles a webcam. The pictures — relayed through an air support operations center to the joint tactical air controllers (JTAC) using laptops of their own — enable ground forces to position themselves accordingly or to call in air strikes. The system also is compatible with the Army’s Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, or ROVER, which is now used in the field by Army JTACs. The Emmen Aerospace-built, battery powered Condor, can travel up to 50 miles per hour and has a range of up to 30 miles, Andrea Facchinetti, president of the company, said during an April 17 interview during the exercise. The system can fly for about an hour before needing its battery recharged, he added. Ground controllers can program the fully automatic UAS to fly to a certain location using a map integrated in the base station, he said. The system can also take off and land on its own. (Source: Shephard)

Apr 07. Northrop Grumman Corp., Integrated Systems Western Region, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $7,675,484 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0057) for operations and maintenance support for the Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration (GHMD), including operation and sustainment, logistics support and sustaining engineering throughout the demonstration. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (90 percent) and San Diego, Calif. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2007. Contract funds in the amount of $4,093,962 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: Shephard)

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