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14 May 07. Watchkeeper goes on show in final configuration. Thales UK has unveiled the final configuration of its Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as it nears completion of the programme’s Critical Design Review (CDR).Due to be finished in June, the CDR represents a significant stage in the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) tactical UAV programme, enabling manufacture of the system to begin in earnest and leading to an in-service date with the Royal Artillery of 2010. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

21 May 07. Bental Industries introduces its new 2.75″ diameter MicroBAT 275 at IDEF in Ankara, Turkey, May 22-25, 2007, at the Israel Pavilion, Stand G-531. As the most compact of the company’s family of small stabilized payloads for mini and micro UAV platforms, the MicroBAT 275 meets the complex challenges of surveillance, reconnaissance, and observation missions. Developed in response to the rapidly expanding mini and micro UAV market’s need for lighter surveillance solutions, the MicroBAT 275 is the smallest payload available today. Designed for both day and night operation in enemy territory, the system – which can be combined with additional capabilities such as Bental’s hybrid system – delivers high survivability during missions. (Source: ASD Network)

May 07. DARPA demonstrates low-cost autonomous control system for multiple UAVs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has successfully shown how its lowcost, autonomous control system can manage a variety of unmanned U.S. Army reconnaissance aircraft, in airspace also occupied by manned aircraft, to deliver timely information about enemy positions to troops on the ground. The system, known as HURT, for Heterogeneous Unmanned Reconnaissance Team, allows ground forces to receive video surveillance imagery of the surrounding area and request specific information about suspected enemy positions on user-friendly touch-screens. The system autonomously processes multiple requests and directs the most suitable aircraft to take a closer look. The latest exercise, the third demonstration of the HURT system’s capabilities, was conducted April 9-24, 2007, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. During the demonstration, the HURT system controlled combinations of manned and unmanned aircraft to send essential tactical data in real-time to Soldiers equipped with handheld computers.DARPA program manager Dr. Michael Pagels explained, “This demonstration showed the increased effectiveness of multiple airborne assets to the warfighter when the assets are flown in a coordinated manner.” (Source: Shephard)

May 07. Northrop Grumman wins $371m contract for five Global Hawks and associated equipment. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $371,376,333 fixed-price-incentive/firm-target contract modification to provide for 5 Global Hawk Air Vehicles, 3 Mission Control Elements, 3 Launch and Recovery Elements, along with associated equipment. At this time, $185,688,167 have been obligated. Solicitations began March 2006 and negotiations were complete May 2007. This work will be complete March 2010. Public Affairs POC can be reached at (937) 255-2350. Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-06-C-3002/P00001). (Source: Shephard)

02 May 07. Aurora Flight Sciences has been selected for award of a contract through the Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to develop a low-cost, easily deployed, degradable taggant that can be dispersed over a wide area of interest using an unmanned aerial system, such as the company’s next-generation GoldenEye 80 UAS. The taggant would note suspicious activity in the area, giving Coalition Forces a means to detect the emplacement of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as build activity profiles for areas of operation, providing invaluable military intelligenc

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