Monday, April 21, 2014
Unmanned Systems
Documents on the Pentagon's unmanned aerial, ground and underwater systems
Inside the Navy - 04/21/2014

The Marines' unmanned RQ-21A Blackjack aircraft, which recently wrapped up land-based initial operational test and evaluation, is slated to begin at-sea testing in May before deploying in 2015, according to a Marine Corps official.

Inside the Navy - 04/21/2014

The MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter will take part in a concept of operations assessment for the Littoral Combat Ship's anti-surface warfare mission package in early May aboard the Freedom (LCS-1), bringing together the LCS seaframe, MH-60 helicopters and the unmanned system for the first time, according to a Navy official.

Inside the Navy - 04/21/2014

The Navy plans to test an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator at sea this summer off the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as the service begins manned and unmanned aircraft integration on its carriers.

Inside the Air Force - 04/18/2014

Pilots who operate the Air Force's unmanned aircraft are promoted less frequently than conventional pilots and high work demands are negatively impacting their training, development and quality of life, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report

DefenseAlert - 04/17/2014

The size of the Pentagon's major weapon system acquisition portfolio held steady over the last year at $1.6 trillion, with seven programs added and six programs removed because they are near the end of the procurement cycle.

DefenseAlert - 04/15/2014

The Air Force is proceeding with the development and evaluation of its Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper aircraft and plans to award a contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems to modify Block 30 ground control stations in support of those efforts.

Inside the Navy - 04/14/2014

The MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, which the Navy is integrating with the Littoral Combat Ship, will be able to mesh with any future small surface combatant the service might choose as it mulls options for 20 of the remaining ships in the program.

DefenseAlert - 04/08/2014

A classified draft request for proposals for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike system set for release at the end of the month is undergoing a final, senior leadership review, according to a top Navy official.

Inside the Navy - 04/07/2014

The Marine Corps is assessing unmanned aerial system payloads as part of a fiscal year 2015 new start effort and will spend $10 million over the future years defense plan, according to budget documents.

Inside the Army - 04/07/2014

Possible design changes and supplier base issues are putting the Army's Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system program's cost and schedule at risk, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report.

DefenseAlert - 04/04/2014

The Air Force has released its latest guidance on the development of remotely piloted systems and aircraft in an attempt to look beyond the "tyranny" of the current budget cycle, which is forcing the service to recalibrate its spending on unmanned capabilities, according to service officials.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

As the Air Force prepares to unveil a 25-year strategy for the development of remotely piloted aircraft, the service's top acquisition official for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets has spoken about some avenues already being explored, including the creation of a common mission control center for RPAs and the possibility of having one pilot control a fleet of unmanned aircraft.

Inside the Air Force - 04/04/2014

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has cleared the Air Force to proceed with a $10 million study to assess the technical feasibility of migrating the U-2 spy plane's unique imaging sensors onto the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the service's top intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance acquisition official said.

Inside the Pentagon - 04/03/2014

The Federal Aviation Administration seeks to establish a center of excellence for unmanned aircraft systems to coordinate research and development efforts to help integrate drones into U.S. skies.

DefenseAlert - 04/01/2014

As the Air Force prepares to unveil a 25-year strategy for the development of remotely piloted aircraft, the service's top acquisition official for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets has spoken about some avenues already being explored -- including the creation of a common mission control center for RPAs and the possibility of having one pilot control a fleet of unmanned aircraft.

Inside the Air Force - 03/28/2014

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is looking to other customers to fill a future production void left by the Air Force's recent decision to reduce its annual order of remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper aircraft, a company official said. And although the service's latest budget request cuts the total Reaper requirement to 346 aircraft, GA said it is not currently planning to charge the Air Force more per airframe to make up for the reduction in annual orders.

Inside the Pentagon - 03/27/2014

The Pentagon's advanced research arm seeks industry's input to help make unmanned aircraft more capable by enhancing their autonomy and collaboration abilities in the face of increasingly challenging environments.

Inside the Air Force - 03/21/2014

The head of the armaments directorate overseeing the Air Force's target drone program believes the QF-16 program will enter to full-rate production in the coming months and has declared the program "very successful to date."

Inside the Pentagon - 03/20/2014

The Pentagon is planning a live unmanned maritime operation test next year for a system designed to boost interoperability for remotely piloted drones, according to recently released budget justification documents.

Inside the Navy - 03/17/2014

The Navy will not buy any MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned air vehicles through fiscal year 2019 as a way to better align the program with contracted Littoral Combat Ship deliveries, according to fiscal year 2015 budget documents.

DefenseAlert - 03/14/2014

The Navy is delaying by more than a year, from early 2017 to the middle of 2018, the planned maiden flight of the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike aircraft as part of a series of schedule adjustments that will also push an air vehicle contract award from the first quarter to the third quarter of fiscal year 2015, according to service budget documents.

DefenseAlert - 03/14/2014

The Air Force will defer important RQ-4 Global Hawk sensor upgrade work if sequestration spending limits return in full in fiscal year 2016, according to service Secretary Deborah Lee James. The work is seen as essential to bringing the Block 30 Global Hawk fleet closer to parity with the U-2 spy plane in order to meet the high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance needs of combatant commanders as the U-2 fleet is moved toward retirement.

Inside the Air Force - 03/14/2014

As Air Force officials continue to defend the wisdom of retiring the U-2 spy plane in favor of the remotely piloted RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft, the service has released key flying-hour figures which were a factor in the controversial decision.

Inside the Air Force - 03/14/2014

More than $182 million in funds appropriated in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014 for U-2 spy plane modification and development remains unspent, according to budget figures released by the Air Force.

Inside the Air Force - 03/07/2014

The Air Force said it will cost a total of $1.9 billion over 10 years to bring the unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft close to parity with the U-2 spy plane, according to a service spokeswoman.

Inside the Air Force - 03/07/2014

The Air Force will divest its new fleet of RQ-4 Block 40 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft if there is no reprieve from sequestration spending limits in fiscal year 2016, Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Maj. Gen. Jim Martin reiterated during the unveiling of the service's FY-15 budget request on March 4.

DefenseAlert - 03/06/2014

The Air Force is trying to reduce annual spending on MQ-9 medium-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft by spreading procurement across the future years with an end goal of having a fleet of 346 Reapers by fiscal year 2021, according to the service's FY-15 budget request.

DefenseAlert - 03/03/2014

There are "no technical reasons" preventing the Air Force from migrating its prized Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System multispectral imagery sensor from the manned U-2 spy plane to the remotely piloted RQ-4 platform, according to the intelligence-gathering system's prime contractor UTC Aerospace Systems.

Inside the Army - 03/03/2014

The Army is looking for new ways to defeat unmanned aircraft systems, which are increasingly seen as threats to U.S. forces around the world, according to a Feb. 20 request for information released by the service.

DefenseAlert - 02/27/2014

Lockheed Martin is mounting a strong defense of the U-2 spy plane program after the Pentagon announced its intention to retire its entire fleet of legacy Dragon Lady intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft in favor of Northrop Grumman's unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Inside the Air Force - 02/21/2014

The Air Force contends the two Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawks being fielded by U.S. Central Command are achieving a "high system availability" despite tests in 2013 revealing major deficiencies in the unmanned aircraft's sensor payload.

DefenseAlert - 02/19/2014

As the Navy prepares to release a draft request for proposals for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike system, House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes (R-VA) wants to make sure that the service gets the requirements right for the system.

Inside the Navy - 02/17/2014

Naval Sea Systems Command has announced its intent to procure almost 1,000 additional Archerfish mine destructor vehicles as effectors for the Navy's Airborne Mine Neutralisation System.

Inside the Army - 02/17/2014

The Army plans to conduct a demonstration in October that will feature the teaming of manned and unmanned combat vehicles, according to service officials.

Inside the Air Force - 02/14/2014

Budget constraints are preventing further Air Force investment into its Miniature Air-Launched Decoy-Jammer program in spite of efforts by Raytheon, the prime contractor, to trial a range of new capabilities and launch options.

Inside the Air Force - 02/14/2014

Raytheon and General Atomics are pressing ahead with their plans to integrate the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy-Jammer with an MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft despite a lack of investment from the Air Force.

Inside the Army - 02/10/2014

The Army's Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center is examining low-cost solutions to counter enemy unmanned aircraft systems at close range, according to the ARDEC project officer in charge of the effort.

Inside the Army - 02/10/2014

Lockheed Martin and the Army's Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center announced recently that they have successfully demonstrated the ability of fully autonomous truck convoys to operate in urban environments.

Inside the Air Force - 02/07/2014

The first mothballed F-16 to be regenerated as part of the Air Force's QF-16 target drone program passed its functional check flight on Jan. 19 -- four years after its retirement at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group's "boneyard" aircraft and missile storage facility at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ.

Inside the Air Force - 02/07/2014

Air Force efforts to complete follow-on testing and evaluation of the enhanced MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle system are being hampered by ongoing development challenges, the Defense Department's top weapons tester has warned.

DefenseAlert - 02/03/2014

The Navy is seeking congressional permission to extend flight operations for the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator through fiscal year 2014, according to a reprogramming request obtained by Inside the Navy.

Inside the Navy - 02/03/2014

The Navy's MQ-4C Triton program will continue air vehicle testing through fiscal year 2014 while software development time lines will drive mission system integration and sensor performance testing into late in the fiscal year, according to the Pentagon's top weapons tester.

Inside the Pentagon - 01/30/2014

The Army intends to award a sole-source contract to Syracuse Research Corp. to provide research and engineering technical services needed to help integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

Inside the Navy - 01/27/2014

The Marine Corps recently wrapped up a study that concludes a cargo unmanned aerial system is a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to using manned helicopters in logistics scenarios, according to a service official.

Inside the Navy - 01/27/2014

The Marines are becoming more comfortable using a cargo-unmanned aerial system for logistics instead of a manned vehicle or a manned helicopter, according to a Lockheed Martin executive.

Inside the Pentagon - 01/23/2014

In an effort to increase unmanned aircraft systems' interoperability and introduce drones into the national airspace, defense officials are eying enhanced exercises and training plans, and intend to update important guidance, the Pentagon's acquisition chief Frank Kendall tells lawmakers in a recent report.

Inside the Pentagon - 01/23/2014

The Pentagon is working to ensure its satellite communications procurement strategy meets the needs of unmanned aircraft systems beyond-line-of-sight issues, Defense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall told lawmakers in a new report.

Inside the Navy - 01/20/2014

U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Samuel Locklear said last week that if the Navy, and specifically the surface Navy, hopes to remain relevant in the Asia-Pacific region, it needs to look beyond readiness and toward offensive and asymmetric capabilities -- such as offensive mining and unmanned systems.

Inside the Navy - 01/20/2014

The Navy's long-term sustainment plan for the MQ-4C Triton is ongoing and the service is not waiting on the Air Force to unveil its long-term sustainment strategy for the Global Hawk program before it makes decisions.

Inside the Air Force - 01/17/2014

The Federal Aviation Administration is working to propose a ruling on small unmanned aircraft systems sometime this year, an administration spokeswoman said on Jan. 14. The highly anticipated draft ruling is expected to define what constitutes a small UAS and where it can operate.