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.
RQ-4 Global Hawk
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.
A Bloomberg Government report released June 17, said the U.S. Air Force has experienced 129 drone accidents in the past 15 years, with aircraft produced by Northrup Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems involved in more of the accidents than those of any other manufacturers.
A demonstrator for the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) UAV crashed near NAS Patuxent River on June 11. The UAV crashed into swampland about 20 miles east of the base and was destroyed, after what the Navy described as a routine flight. The accident came just four days before Northrop Grumman unveiled the first MQ-4C, the full-specification Bams UAV, at Palmdale, Calif.
Northrop Grumman gained a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract to supply five Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs with advanced multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) radars for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.
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.
NATO officials expect to sign the long-awaited contract to provide an Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability within the next three months. Northrop Grumman will provide five Global Hawk Block 40 UAVs, while a consortium of European companies that includes EADS Cassidian and Selex Galileo will provide transportable and mobile ground stations. Initial operating capability (IOC) is slated for 2017-18.
The U.S. Department of Defense rolled out a $614 billion Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission February 13, revealing further program cancellations and “restructurings” to previously announced cuts. Sacrificed in the Pentagon’s exercise to reduce $259 billion over its five-year future years defense program (FYDP) are the Navy’s medium-range martime unmanned aircraft system (MRMUAS) and the Air Force’s next generation missile (NGM).
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