Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense (MoD) as a cost-cutting measure will not buy four production models of the RQ-4E Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system as planned. The MoD’s decision to stop the program after acquiring one demonstrator aircraft was disclosed earlier this week. During a parliamentary debate, Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said of the decision: “We prefer to pull the plug.
The U.S. has made a formal offer to Korea of four Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 UAVs, in a package valued at $1.2 billion. The notification to Congress states, “The Republic of Korea needs this intelligence and surveillance capability to assume primary responsibility for intelligence-gathering from the U.S.-led Combined Forces Command in 2015.” The U.S. Air Force currently flies the high-altitude mission over and around the Korean peninsula using three Lockheed Martin U-2s based at Osan Airbase.
ITT Exelis for the first time exhibited its airborne sense-and-avoid (ABSAA) radar under development for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) unmanned aircraft system. The radar was displayed this week at the Unmanned Systems North America conference in Las Vegas. It is also being promoted for other UASs as a solution to flying in unrestricted airspace, branded as the SkySense 2020H radar system.
In the current fiscal environment in which big-ticket missile programs have been shelved, restructured or cancelled altogether, Raytheon is looking at innovative ways to add capabilities to existing systems. “You’ve got to see what you can do with what you’ve got,” explained Harry Schulte, Raytheon’s v-p Air Warfare Systems. “The money’s not going to be there for the big programs, but the enemy doesn’t care about that, and we still need to address the shortfalls.”
Last month Raytheon and Kongsberg conducted the first firing of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) from the NASAMS (Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system). The June 24 firing at Norway’s Andøya Rocket Range not only validated the ability to fire the ESSM with the system, but also the ability to integrate an older-generation Hawk high-power illuminator into the system.
Absent from Lockheed Martin’s IS&GS Dragon line-up is the most famous LM product to carry that name. True, the U-2 Dragon Lady is the responsibility of a different LM division–Aeronautics–but with the evergreen spyplane about to enjoy a new lease on life, it seems strange that LM has done little to promote what is arguably the most capable multi-intelligence aircraft ever built.
Officials from Raytheon UK and personnel from the Royal Air Force (RAF) are emphasizing the excellent performance of the Sentinel R.1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (Astor) system over Afghanistan and Libya. They are hoping that the UK Ministry of Defence will reverse its 2010 decision to withdraw the ground surveillance system, which flies on five Bombardier Global Express business jets, after most British troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.
As UAVs become more prevalent, their capabilities will continue to develop. If you haven’t seen the videos demonstrating the nano-quadrotor UAVs under development at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, then you are missing something.
U.S. Air Force leadership has defended the decision to halt acquisition and current operations of the Global Hawk Block 30 UAV, in favor of retaining the manned Lockheed Martin U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.
Raytheon has just conducted a successful trial of its Griffin B forward-launch small precision weapon. The test demonstrated the weapon’s capability to defend a forward operating base (FOB). The Griffin was fired from a fixed Wedge launcher against target coordinates more than 2.5 miles away provided by sensors mounted on a tethered aerostat, of the type that are typically raised to protect Army FOBs. The Griffin A aft-launch version is in service with the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Harvest Hawk aircraft and the Air Force’s MC-130W Dragon Spear.