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DARPA Awards Five Contracts for the Evaluation of TERN Naval UAS

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US Navy Receives the First MQ-8C VTUAV

July 19, 2013 by · Comment
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Defense Acquisition Board approves Standard Missile-6 full-rate production — Press Release

SM-6 program on track to reach initial operating capability in 2013

TUCSON, Ariz., May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — A Defense Acquisition Board approved full-rate production of Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) Standard Missile-6. Once operational in 2013, the SM-6 will provide U.S. Navy vessels extended range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

“SM-6 is a game-changing, transformational fleet defense missile, and we’re on track to reach initial operating capability this year,” said Wes Kremer, Raytheon Missile Systems’ vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems. “This is a monumental moment for the SM-6 program and signifies a new era of fleet defense for our naval warfighters.”

In February, Raytheon delivered the first SM-6 from its new $75 million, 70,000 square-foot SM-6 and Standard Missile-3 all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The facility features advanced tools and the latest processes for missile production, enabling Raytheon to streamline processes, reduce costs and add value for the warfighter.

“The first delivery of low-rate initial production rounds to the U.S. Navy was in February 2011, which was six months ahead of contract,” said Mike Campisi, Raytheon’s senior director of Standard Missile-1, -2, and -6 programs. “The first full-rate production Standard Missile-6 is on track for an April 2015 delivery, which is three months ahead of contract.”

About the Standard Missile-6

SM-6 delivers a proven over-the-horizon air defense capability by leveraging the time-tested advantages of the Standard Missile’s airframe and propulsion.

  • The SM-6 uses both active and semi-active guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques.
  • It incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities from Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile.

About Raytheon

Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 91 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @raytheon.

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Congress Continues Push Back on Defense Spending Proposals

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) continues their mark up of the 2013 defense budget proposed by the Obama administration and continues their push back on proposed cuts to programs. As part of a plan to reduce defense spending by almost $500 billion over the next 5 year defense plan certain programs were ended or reduced. Congress as it often is does not like some of these reductions and is adding them back into the budget.

The HASC is just one of four different committees in both parts of Congress that can rewrite the budget. After the markups are complete the House and Senate vote their own versions of the bill and a Conference Committee irons out the final version that goes to the President. There is no guarantee that any changes made by any of the committees will stick but it is clear that there are a lot in Congress not willing to reduce spending the way that is being proposed.

Earlier we wrote of how they added back in a submarine the Navy had delayed until 2018. Now the committee is changing some proposals with other systems.

These include the retirement of several Northrop Grumman (NOC) Global Hawk strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The Air Force had proposed mothballing the Block 30 version of the system and continuing to use the manned U-2/TR-1 aircraft instead. They also would not buy more of that block. The bill the HASC is writing would prevent the retirement before 2014.

The committee has also reduced or eliminated some of the troop cuts and increased co-pays and fee for TRICARE, the military medical plan. Another area they are exploring is increasing funding for some of the Army’s vehicle programs which was cut.

These reductions and the troop cuts are based on the fact that the U.S. is withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Obama administration is predicting less deployments and action in the near future.

This is just the first round of mark ups and the ending bill will be some sort of compromise where some cuts are kept and others aren’t. It does show though that there are many in Congress not ready for large reductions in defense spending and investment.

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Air Force Continues Commitment to KC-46A

At a recent conference the Air Force Secretary, Mr. Michael Donley, discussed the key programs for the Air Force’s future. Facing a declining budget situation the Air Force as all of the services may be forced to choose which investments have a higher priorities then others. Not surprisingly the keys for the Air Force will be the F-35, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), space and the KC-46A tanker.

The KC-46A currently being developed by Boeing (BA) will go into service later this decade to replace the aging KC-135 fleet. In terms of total cost it is one of the largest current defense programs. If the Air Force follows through with the first 170 odd aircraft the cost will be about $35 billion. There are plans to buy another 300 or more.

If there are as significant reductions to the defense budget as being discussed then the KC-46A like so many other programs may see quantities cut. This could be either the total procured or the annual buys. It could also see it being maintained at the expense of other investment programs such as new UAV or space programs.

Tankers are a key force multiplier for the United States. Declining amounts of strike assets increase the reliance on the tanker fleet. The need for the KC-46A is well established and it is a program now that the commitment to Boeing has been made that the U.S. really cannot afford to reduce. Whether this holds true remains to be seen.

U.S. Navy Plans Unmanned Aircraft Development Program

The United States has invested a large amount of money the past two decades into unmanned aerial vehicles. Used primarily by the U.S. Army and Air Force they originally conducted reconnaissance and intelligence gathering missions. Since 9/11 several have been weaponized and carried out precision strike missions. The U.S. Navy while doing some R&D has not purchased a full up system yet to be based on ships. This, though, is about to change.

The Marine Corps and Navy are already conducting research into unmanned cargo systems that might eventually replace the current MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters made by Sikorsky for that mission. These lift loads from supply ships to combat ships as part of underway replenishment. Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Kaman (KAMN) are doing work with the K-Max helicopter to see how well it works as an unmanned platform.

The Navy just announced the start of a new program called Medium Range Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (MRMUAS) which will begin in FY12 with a goal of entering production late in this decade. The MRMUAS will be primarily oriented towards Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions and will be ship based.

As with many programs recently started by the Pentagon several development contracts will be awarded to various companies which will then lead to one or more of them being selected for further development and production.

Several existing systems being developed by defense contracts are certainly available to be proposed for this effort including the K-MAX being looked at for the cargo mission as well as Bell, a part of Textron (TXT), and Boeing (BA) products. This also does not rule out a new development effort for this requirement by any defense contractor.

The shift to using UAS for current manned missions will continue for the foreseeable future. Budget pressures may cause these programs to be delayed or even eliminated especially if there is major cost growth in core Navy systems such as the F-35 JSF or ship construction. Unfortunately as has been shown in the past investment in new systems and technologies may take a back seat to the funding of more important programs. If the Navy has to choose between its newest manned aircraft, new submarines and aircraft carriers over UAS vehicles it will probably be an easy decision.

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More Guided Weapons From Lockheed

The U.S. military has invested in and used a great deal of advanced guided weaponry since 9/11. This includes systems such as Hellfire anti-tank missiles, Excalibur laser and GPS guided artillery shells as well as a great deal of ordnance delivered from aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Aerial weapons included GPS systems like the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) which is a bomb with a guidance kit as well as the more traditional laser guided systems.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) a few months ago was awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force for the production of Paveway Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) kits. This was a five year contact worth almost $500 million if all options were exercised.

Now the Air Force has exercised the first production option with a $134 million award for the production of the Paveway kits. The kit consists of a seeker and guidance unit as well as an air foil component that actually flies the bomb. The bombs rely on gravity and are not powered. They basically glide into the target homing in on a laser from either an aircraft or ground unit.

Since these attacks are carried out on individual houses or vehicles and the U.S. wants to minimize collateral damage as much as possible guided weapons are the primary attack option. The Paveway kit may be fitted to bombs of different sizes as well so as to allow better weaponeering and targeting options.

As the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq winds down the demand for these types of weapons will also be reduced as they will not be used as much. The production of ordnance and ammunition has increased greatly over the last ten years and it can be expected to drop just as dramatically as the U.S. will need less of it.

For a company like Lockheed cut backs in one product line may be balanced out with other programs but there will be some companies that primarily produce ordnance that may be seriously affected.

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Lockheed and Kaman to Work on Unmanned Cargo Aircraft for Army

The u.S. military has invested heavily in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). These primarily perform reconnaissance and intelligence collection missions although they and the C.I.A. have used them for strike missions against limited target sets. As with lots of different countries across the globe the U.S. is looking at other roles for these systems with an eye to freeing up manpower or providing better force protection through limiting exposure of troops.

At the end of last year the U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Kaman (KAMN) a contract to develop the K-MAX cargo helicopter into a unmanned resupply system. That contract was worth about $45 million. Now the U.S. Army has followed suit.

They awarded the two companies a similar contract with a value of up to $47 million. This is to also look at making the K-MAX into an unmanned cargo helicopter with a goal of reduced workload and increased accuracy.

The K-MAX is a rather unique looking aircraft with twin intermeshed rotors that carries a decent load externally. It has been developed for use in logging and cargo operations.

The Army and Marine Corps are also looking at using unmanned ground vehicles to provide supply in combat areas. These include a range of vehicles from ones that accompany troops to carry their gear to bigger systems that would replace the current manned trucks carrying large amounts of fuel and cargo. This kind of technology has the potential to free up troops from these missions as well as provide a way to transfer cargo safely.

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Mixed Results Posted for Defense Contractors

Several of the largest U.S. defense contractors posted their second quarter results for 2011 recently and they were definitely a mixed bag. Perhaps reflecting the current uncertainty around the U.S. defense spending as well as the Federal budget overall many of the companies reported declines in revenue and earnings though overall they are confident that the year will end similar to their earlier predictions. 2012 though may be a different matter as some troubling trends arose in the reports.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) was probably the most disappointing of the group. The company has restructured itself considerably over the last few years first jettisoning its engineering service business, TASC, and then in the last few months its entire shipbuilding arm to form (HII). The maker of aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles as well as providing a variety of services to defense agencies reported a decline of 27% when compared to last year’s quarter. Earnings were only about $520 million down from $711 million or over 50 cents a share. Sales too declined almost ten percent or 700 million. The company is predicting that its guidance for the year will be met. Management blamed delayed awards for aircraft as a principal contribution to the decline. If the U.S. defense budget does begin a serious reduction as predicted then these programs may see further cut backs. If the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter overcomes its struggles Northrop will also see the end of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet production for the Navy as they transition to Lockheed’s aircraft.

General Dynamics (GD) was able to post an increase but it was only $5 million or 9 cents a share. The company feels that for the year they will see an increase in their annual Earnings Per Share (EPS) to $7.15 – 7.20. Increased sales of aircraft and defense equipment allowed the company to stay fairly constant although revenue fell almost 3 percent to $7.88 billion.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) the lead contractor for the largest defense program in history, the F-35, posted increases over last year. They said that revenue from the advanced aircraft as well as PATRIOT PAC-3 air and missile defense missiles spurred the improvement. On paper the company saw a decline compared to last year but that takes into account two divisions that the company has since sold. The company is now predicting the full year earnings to be between $7.35 – $7.55 up from an earlier $6.95 to $7.25.

Of course the news for the overall F-35 program has not been good as recent cost increases have had some question the further investment in the program. Cuts or slowing the F-35 will hurt Lockheed in the short term. As the program continues and gets sorted out it will become a major portion of their revenue as production increases from the 15-30 a year right now to 70 or more in 2015 and out. The U.S. Air Force projects spending over $6 billion a year on F-35 production in 2015. Much of that will go to Lockheed as the prime contractor. Lockheed is adjusting to the current spending environment by cutting several thousand personnel mainly in the support areas to reduce their overhead and help their ability to offer lower prices.

The whole industry is entering a time of uncertainty as the cut backs in funding for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan along with the overall U.S. budget pressures will see less defense spending. They will need to adjust their business lines as well as their workforces to meet the changing needs of the U.S. military. The fallout may be worse for the smaller and mid-sized defense contractors many of which rely on single contracts or business areas that may see major contractions. All-in-all it is time for investors to evaluate companies and their holdings.

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Army Awards GD Low Rate Initial Production Contract for JTRS

The U.S. military has been developing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) as their new standard radio for almost twenty years now. The program has had its ups-and-downs as it struggled with the level of technology required to meet the requirements of the program. On top of that the number and variations of the radio are quite complex as it will be used in aircraft, ships, vehicles, by ground troops and also be integrated into Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The JTRS once it enters full rate production will replace the ubiquitous SINGCARS radio system used since the 1980′s.

In late June the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS) Program piece approved approval to go into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) after having a successful Milestone C decision. This means that it has completed much of its engineering and development and is considered technically mature enough to begin production. The LRIP will demonstrate that it is possible to produce the system and allow the production to ramp up to meet full rate demands.

This has been followed by an order to General Dynamics (GD) and its partners Thales Communications and Rockwell Collins (ROC) for LRIP production of two versions: the Rifleman version and the Manpack radio. The AN/PRC-154 is meant to be carried by the individual soldier and 6,250 were ordered. The 100 Manpack are larger and will support operational testing and provide two channels.

The SINGCARS program was highly successful and earned its contractors a great deal of revenue due to the large demand. ITT Corporation (ITT) received what is most likely the last production contract for the system earlier this year. It had a value of about $600 million and includes parts and engineering support for existing radios. The JTRS contractors are hoping for the same thing with their programs.

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Boeing to Upgrade AH-64A for U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has awarded Boeing (BA) a contract to upgrade existing AH-64A Apache attack helicopter to the AH-64D Longbow standard. The total value of the contract is almost $200 million and will pay to modify 72 aircraft.

The AH-64D is the currently the most modern attack helicopter in use by the United States and some of its Allies. It has seen heavy use in Iraq and Afghanistan providing fire support for Soldiers and Marines on the ground. Its payload of 30 mm cannon and Hellfire missiles are well suited for the engagement of enemy troops in fixed or fortified positions.

Boeing produced almost a 1,000 AH-64A for the U.S. and foreign users before 2000. The AH-64D Longbow adds a fire control radar mounted above the rotor blades. The AH-64D also has various other modifications and improvements from the A model including increased digitization.

The Army and Boeing have continued to develop the Apache and the latest version, the Longbow Block III, was just approved for entry into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) by the Department of Defense in October. The Block III continues sustained improvements and adds the capability for the Apache to communicate and control Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) directly. Boeing received a contract worth almost $250 million to support this next step in the acquisition process.

Modern weapons tend to have very long lives. Now not just ships but aircraft and armored vehicles served for decades. These systems like the AH-64A offer many years of useful life due to careful maintenance and modification and upgrades. The U.S. and other armed forces sometimes find it easier to pay for wholesale upgrades of models rather then buying new ones. The contract given to Boeing to convert A to D models is an example of this. By investing this money they are able to not only extend the life of the system but improve its capabilities overall and allow it to make a more significant contribution on the battlefield.

These contracts also provide a buffer for times when there are no new equipment production contracts. Although right now Boeing is making new AH-64D as well as upgrading A to D configuration.

Photo from Demon Brigade flickr photostream.

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Military Leaders Convene to Discuss the Future of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at IDGA’s Premiere UAV Summit

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) announces the UAV Summit scheduled for April 11 – 14, 2011 in the Washington DC area. Members from every service, coast guard/border patrol, and acquisition will convene in the Washington DC Metro Area this April to discuss and evaluate the current and future state of UAV technology and development throughout the US Military. IDGA’s 7th Annual UAV Summit will deliver a comprehensive overview of new requirement

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Elbit Wins Brazilian Armored Vehicle Contract

The near term plans of many defense contractors is to expand their overseas sales as a potential way to offset declines in domestic business. They will do this with the support of their governments who want to maintain an industrial base, decrease their defense costs and keep their economy going. In the past countries would either turn to the United States or Soviet Russia for the bulk of their buys as these countries offered equipment and support on good terms as part of their foriegn policy.

Now though the world’s defense industry has expanded greatly and there are now many available sources of weapons and equipment. This is of benefit to customers as it offers greater competition which should keep prices down as well as a greater variety of choice in what they may buy.

Israel for example has greatly expanded their presence on the world’s defense market with sales to countries such as India, Turkey and in Africa. One company that has taken advantage of Israel’s push for this market is Elbit Systems (ESLT) which has expanded in the U.S., European and South American markets through the sale of electronics and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

In a recent win announced by the company Brazil ordered armored vehicle turrets from the company armed with thirty millimeter cannons. This follow on contract is worth about $260 million. These turrets will be installed on existing Iveco manufactured armored vehicles.

One of Elbit’s core businesses is electronics such as data links and displays. To further their penetration of Brazil and the South American market it acquired companies in Brazil that develop and make electronics. Elbit has also done the same in the United States allowing it greater access to the U.S. Defense Department.

As the world’s defense spending shifts to markets outside the U.S. and Europe Elbit may find itself well positioned to win more contracts like this. It also is in good shape to grow its business in Brazil who are planning a major update to their armed forces over the next several years.

Photo from Ingy The Wingy’s Flickr Photostream.

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Cubic Receives $35 Million Contract to Provide Advanced Instrumentation for U.S. Test Ranges — Press Release

Cubic Receives $35 Million Contract to Provide Advanced Instrumentation for U.S. Test Ranges

SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwire – November 11, 2010) – Cubic Defense Applications, the defense systems business of Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB), has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $35 million as part of an industry team developing the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) for U.S. military test ranges. If all options are exercised, Cubic’s participation in the CRIIS program has a potential value close to $90 million.

The CRIIS program fulfills a critical Department of Defense (DoD) requirement to provide Time, Space, and Position Information (TSPI) and system test data to support weapon system testing for a variety of platforms, including advanced aircraft, ships, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground vehicles and dismounted soldiers.

Cubic is a key subcontractor on a team led by Rockwell Collins. The U.S. Air Force awarded Rockwell Collins a $140 million contract to develop the first phase of CRIIS.

“Cubic is known worldwide for its air combat training systems. With this major contract win, we are expanding significantly into the test and evaluation (T&E) instrumentation market,” said Brad Feldmann, President of Cubic Defense Applications.

Under contract to Rockwell Collins, Cubic will be responsible for portions of the design, development, packaging and integration of airborne, ground vehicle and shipboard subsystems. Cubic also has responsibility for site installation and activation. The initial contract includes development for three airborne subsystems, a wing-mounted instrumentation pod for F-15 and F-16 aircraft, and two internal systems designed to be installed within the F/A-18, F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

Development of the airborne, ground vehicle and shipboard subsystems will take place in San Diego. Ultimately, CRIIS will be operational at eight test ranges including Edwards Air Force Base, Eglin AFB, Nellis AFB, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, NAS Patuxent River, White Sands Missile Range and the Yuma Test Center.

Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major business segments: Defense Systems, Mission Support Services and Transportation Systems. Cubic Defense Systems is a leading provider of realistic combat training systems, cyber technologies, asset tracking solutions, and defense electronics. Mission Support Services is a leading provider of training, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services. Cubic Transportation Systems is the world’s leading provider of automated fare collection systems and services for public transit authorities. For more information about Cubic, see the company’s Web site at www.cubic.com.

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Military Leaders to Convene and Discuss Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Payload Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) Challenges

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) announces the first annual UAV Payloads Summit scheduled for December 6 – 8, 2010 in the Washington DC area. Program managers, technical directors, engineers, and strategists from military, industry, and academia will join to discuss, evaluate, and lay the groundwork for the development of UAV payload solutions. As more money is being allocated to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for an increasing number of mil

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U.S. ISR Data Requirements Lead to Storage Contract for IceWeb

Prior to the U.S. Civil War intelligence was gathered by men on horses or foot who wrote down their reports with pen and paper. In that war the Union used tethered balloons with telegraph equipment. In World War I airplanes began to conduct reconnaissance missions with cameras providing overhead views of enemy positions. In World War II electronic means of collection were added including signals intelligence (SIGINT) and more sophisticated photo equipment was developed. Finally satellite and other advanced electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems came into use including the proliferation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

All this has meant is that the amount of data being collected has increased dramatically. This now includes thousands of hours of real time video from UAV, helicopters, aircraft and other collection systems. Like the computing and internet world storage has grown from kilobytes to megabytes to giga and terabytes in both capability and requirements.

This demand has led to IceWeb (IWEB) the cloud network storage specialist who make systems like the 48 terabyte IceWeb 5000 data storage to win a contract through its partner VideoBank with the U.S. government to store this kind of data.

The collected data must be stored in such a way as it is available for immediate analysis and exploitation as well as for longer term use. The use of cloud storage such as this is an efficient way to manage data especially in the amounts that is being generated by the U.S. in support of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Raytheon’s Phalanx Sensors Used in Laser Shoot Down of Airborne Targets

July 22, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Raytheon, Syndicated Industry News 
Raytheon's Phalanx Sensors Used in Laser Shoot Down of Airborne Targets
July 19, 2010

FARNBOROUGH, England, - Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and a U.S. Navy team used a combined-beam fiber laser to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in flight during an over-the-water engagement.

The UAV targets were engaged and destroyed using the Navy's Laser Weapon System guided by Raytheon's Phalanx Close-in Weapon System sensor suite. LaWS is made up of six industrial-use lasers that simultaneously focus on the target.

"These engagements validate the operational viability of the Phalanx-LaWS combination at sea," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "The Raytheon- Navy team demonstrated the systems' capability to detect, track, engage and defeat dynamic targets at tactically significant ranges in a maritime environment."

For the test, the LaWS was mounted on a stable platform close to the Phalanx Block 1B mount. The Phalanx operator used the Block 1B's surface mode to perform electro-optical tracking and the system's radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS. When the Phalanx acquired the UAV, the LaWS destroyed the target.

"The Raytheon-Navy team is moving directed energy solutions toward utility in the battlespace to provide warfighters with speed-of-light protection," said Lawrence. "This shoot down leverages the significant investment the Navy has made in the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System and extends its combat-proven leadership in close-in defense systems."

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New Taranis combat aircraft thunders into view

July 12, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: BAE Systems, Syndicated Industry News 
New Taranis combat aircraft thunders into view
July 12, 2010

A prototype unmanned combat aircraft of the future, Taranis, has been unveiled by the MOD for the first time today.

Named after the Celtic god of thunder, the concept demonstrator will test the possibility of developing the first ever autonomous, stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) that would ultimately be capable of precisely striking targets at long range, even in another continent.

Should such systems enter into service, they will at all times be under the control of highly trained military crews on the ground.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony at BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire, Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth said:

"Taranis is a truly trailblazing project. The first of its kind in the UK, it reflects the best of our nation's advanced design and technology skills and is a leading programme on the global stage."

Representing the pinnacle of UK engineering and aeronautical design, Taranis is an informal partnership of the MOD and industry talents including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ and GE Aviation.

Speaking on behalf of the industry team, Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems' Programmes and Support business, said:

"Taranis has been three-and-a-half years in the making and is the product of more than a million man-hours.

"It represents a significant step forward in this country's fast-jet capability. This technology is key to sustaining a strong industrial base and to maintain the UK's leading position as a centre for engineering excellence and innovation."

The Taranis prototype will provide the MOD with critical knowledge on the technical and manufacturing challenges and the potential capabilities of Unmanned Combat Air Systems. Flight trials are due in 2011.

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LEMV Media Availability Conference Call With USASMDC/ARSTRAT and Northrop Grumman LEMV Team

LEMV Media Availability Conference Call With USASMDC/ARSTRAT and Northrop Grumman LEMV Team
June 15, 2010

A new hybrid airship weapons system, just larger than the length of a football field, will take to the skies in just 18 months to provide an unblinking, persistent eye for more than three weeks at a time to aid U.S. Army troops in Afghanistan. Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $517 million (GBP350.6 million) agreement to develop up to three Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) systems for the U.S. Army.

What: Conference call with U.S. Army Space and Missile
Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command
(USASMDC/ARSTRAT) and Northrop Grumman LEMV team

When: Tuesday, June 15, 2010
11 am EDT

Where: 1-866-740-2200 x3482288
Global Dial-in 617-597-5157 x3482288

Special Guests:
Ms. Debra Wymer, Acting Director, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Technology Center
Ms. Cathy Dickens, Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting
Mr. Marty Sargent, Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle Project Manager
Mr. Mike Lee, Chief, High Altitude Technology Division, USASMDC/ARSTRAT
Mr. John Cummings, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs Office

Alan Metzger, Program Manager, Northrop Grumman
Kelly Whalen, Strategy Development, Northrop Grumman
Gordon Taylor, Hybrid Air Vehicles (UK)
Dianne Baumert-Moyik, Northrop Grumman PAO, LEMV
Cyndi Wegerbauer, Northrop Grumman PAO, Advanced Programs and Technology
Ken Beedle, Northrop Grumman International PAO (UK)
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Boeing Conducts Test Flight of ScanEagle Compressed Carriage

May 26, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Boeing, Syndicated Industry News 
Boeing Conducts Test Flight of ScanEagle Compressed Carriage
May 26, 2010

ST. LOUIS, - The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] successfully flew its ScanEagle Compressed Carriage (SECC) unmanned airborne system (UAS) at a testing facility in eastern Oregon on May 12. The 75-minute flight evaluated the aircraft's airworthiness and flight characteristics in a simulated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission.

The SECC -- powered by a six-horsepower, heavy-fuel engine -- was launched from a ground vehicle, flew an autonomous flight plan at various altitudes and provided streaming video from its electro-optical/infrared sensor package to a nearby ground station. The SECC was recovered using the same runway-independent SkyHook recovery system used by the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned airborne systems. The SECC system will complete additional tests in the coming months.

"This is a big step toward adding another aircraft with additional capabilities to Boeing's UAS stable," said Ron Perkins, director of Boeing Phantom Works' Advanced Unmanned Airborne Systems. "The vehicle's 132-inch wingspan and folding aero surfaces allow it to be carried on an aircraft pylon or in a container, giving the warfighter the choice of operating it from air, underwater, ground or surface platforms."

The SECC is a long-endurance, autonomous UAS designed to provide ISR, targeting, and battle-damage assessment.

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Army Buys More Ravens From AeroVironment

The U.S. Army has made a significant investment in small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over the last ten years. They use these primarily for the ISR mission attaching them to tactical maneuver units. One of the primary systems they have developed is the Raven manufactured and supported by AeroVironment (AVAV). Yesterday the Army awarded a contract to purchase a further sixty-three of the systems worth over $11 million.

This is on the heels of orders for the U.S.M.C. and upgrade kits for systems currently in service. The U.S. military plans further development and investment of all types of UAV to support their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thenationalguard/ / CC BY 2.0
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Boeing Unveils Unmanned Phantom Ray Demonstrator

May 10, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Boeing, Syndicated Industry News 
Boeing Unveils Unmanned Phantom Ray Demonstrator
May 10, 2010

ST. LOUIS, - The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today unveiled the fighter-sized Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system, a test bed for advanced technologies.

“We are on a fast track, and first flight is in sight,” said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works. “Phantom Ray is on schedule to fly in December, about two years after this project began. This is a tremendous accomplishment for Boeing and the Phantom Ray team.”

Phantom Ray is scheduled to begin taxi tests this summer. The first flight in December will be followed by up to nine additional flights over approximately six months. Phantom Ray is designed to support potential missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous aerial refueling.

“The initial flights will take Phantom Ray through its paces for the flight test profile. Beyond that, the missions and systems tested will be determined by future warfighter needs,” said Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing.

Phantom Ray, which evolved from the X-45C program, is one of several programs in the Phantom Works division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Phantom Works uses rapid prototyping initiatives to design, develop and build advanced aircraft and then demonstrate their capabilities.

Key Phantom Ray suppliers include General Electric-Aviation (propulsion and power distribution), Honeywell (brake system), Woodward-HRT (flight control actuation system), Crane Hydro-Aire (brake controls) and Heroux-Devtek (landing gear).


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The UAV Market Is Good for Northrop, But Expanding Drone Missions Poses Challenges

May 6, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: BNET, Syndicated Industry News 

Northrop Grumman’s most recent results were buoyed by the sale of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The continue investment of the U.S. military in these systems will aid companies like Northrop and…

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The UAV Market Is Good for Northrop, But Expanding Drone Missions Poses Challenges

May 5, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: BNET, Syndicated Industry News 

Northrop Grumman’s most recent results were buoyed by the sale of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The continue investment of the U.S. military…

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Boeing to Highlight Commitment to Customer Readiness at Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition

April 28, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Boeing, Syndicated Industry News 
Boeing to Highlight Commitment to Customer Readiness at Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition
April 28, 2010

ST. LOUIS, -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] will spotlight a wide array of existing and emerging technologies in support of customer readiness at the 2010 Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition. This year's event takes place May 3-5 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

"Boeing's existing products and solutions are supporting the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine as they undertake missions around the world, at sea and on land," said Matt Moffit, Boeing vice president, Navy/Marine Corps Programs. "As we continue to deliver on these programs, we also are investing in innovative technologies in order to deliver the capabilities that warfighters will require in the future."

Company executives and customers will provide the media with updates on programs including P-8A Poseidon, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, V-22 Osprey, and Ship to Shore Connector in briefings and interviews. The Boeing exhibit also will feature the company's most-advanced unmanned aerial vehicles, precision weapons, and information-transfer systems.

Boeing's online press kit at www.boeing.com/bds/mediakit/2010/navyleague will be updated throughout the show with presentations from the briefings and schedule changes, if any. The site also contains program backgrounders, executive biographies and a link to high-resolution photos.

Note: All briefing times are local to Maryland (Eastern time).

MONDAY, May 3
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Chesapeake E

1115-1150: P-8A Poseidon
Boeing P-8A Deputy Program Manager Jay Sutorius and a Navy representative provide an update on the P-8A Poseidon flight-test program and manufacturing schedule.

1330-1415: Super Hornet and Growler (customer briefing)
U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18 program manager, PMA-265, discusses both the Boeing-built F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which has been combat-deployed since 2002, and the EA-18G Growler, which recently entered full-rate production.

TUESDAY, May 4
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor 11

1340-1430: V-22 Osprey
Bell Boeing Vice President Gene Cunningham and Marine Col. Greg Masiello, V-22 program manager, PMA-275, provide a program update and discuss the V-22 Osprey's performance in recent combat and humanitarian deployments.

1500-1550: Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) (prime contractor briefing)
Marinette Marine Corp. President and CEO Richard McCreary and Vice President, Government Programs, Terrance Etnyre outline the progress of their effort to capture the Navy SSC program to replace the Landing Craft Air Cushion. Marinette Marine and Boeing announced their teaming agreement at Navy League in 2009.

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