08 May 07. FCS UAV To Arrive Early. The Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) has performed so well in tests with the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii that Future Combat Systems programmers hope to accelerate the development of the 40-pound, vertical-lift UAV. “With the hover and stare capability, the MAV is so good we want to bring it [to the warzone] earlier than planned,” said Col. Charles Bush, director of FCS’ Future Forces division. The MAV is slated to field by 2010, but FCS official want to move it into the group of Spinout 1 technologies for 2008 — long before the 2015 deployment of a full FCS Brigade Combat Team. Equipped with video cameras and infrared sensors, the soldier-controlled, three-foot-long MAV will show troops live video of enemy positions on the other side of a hill, Bush said. One soldier can backpack the MAV vehicle and its ground gear, which include controls and a display screen. Made by Honeywell, which received a $61m development deal with FCS in May 2006, the MAV was on display at the Pentagon May 8 for a demonstration with other spin-out technologies, including Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS), the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), Unmanned Ground Sensors, and Tactical Unmanned Ground Sensors. The demonstration also included a simulator for the Mounted Combat System (MCS), one of the eight variants of the FCS armored vehicles. Inside, visitors could try out the controls, scanning a virtual battlefield, directing UAVs, and firing guided 120mm rounds at targets beyond the horizon. “This provides a first glimpse of the new FCS man-ground vehicles cockpit, an environment where the vehicle has functional control of NLOS [non line-of-sight] firing capability,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Cartwright, FCS program manager. The display showed a battlefield map with blue icons for friendly forces and orange icons for enemies, plus video feeds from UAVs. “This simulates what the network will bring to the fight, using envisioned technology,” said Lt. Col. Coll Haddon, an FCS planner. (Source: Defense News)
07 May 07. Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract for system design and development of the Future Combat Systems Centralized Controller Device (CCD) for unmanned air and ground vehicles. The contract was awarded by SAIC, who is teamed with The Boeing Company as the Lead Systems Integrator. The winning Lockheed Martin team includes partners iRobot and Honeywell. The potential value for this development contract is in excess of $35m through 2014. The Centralized Controller Device will consolidate what traditionally would be numerous disparate controllers into a single integrated system, simplifying logistics and empowering the soldier. Primarily, it will control the FCS Class I unmanned aerial vehicles, Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) and Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), unattended ground sensors, ground vehicle functions and their respective payloads, while also enabling superior situational awareness, training logistics and medical functions. Overall, it will enable soldiers to control nearly 750 systems per brigade.
03 May 07. The Air Force’s first unmanned aircraft systems wing stood up May 1 at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. As Col. Christopher Chambliss assumed command of the 432nd, a piece of history was revived and a course for the way ahead continued. “This is a monumental day for the Air Force,” said Colonel Chambliss. “Having a wing dedicated to unmanned aircraft systems is a logical and important step in continuing the Air Force’s role in being the world’s greatest air and space power, and is equally critical to the Air Force’s most important customers, the American warfighters.” The people of this wing have already proven themselves as key players in the war on terrorism, said the colonel who came to Creech AFB from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, where he was the 366th Fighter Wing vice commander. “It is a great honor to assume command of such a fine group of Ai