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Unmanned Systems

July 26, 2011 | Daily News

(Editor's Note: This story was updated on July 29 to include a statement from the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command.)

The Pentagon's plan to deploy the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) to Afghanistan early next year is in doubt after the Army's request for an additional $28 million for the program in the final months of fiscal year 2011 was turned aside.

July 26, 2011 | Daily News

The Pentagon's tethered-aerostat program, an $8.5 billion effort to detect cruise missiles and fast-moving aircraft, successfully completed its first endurance test last month by staying aloft for seven  days at 10,000 feet, according to Raytheon, prime contractor for the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensors program.

July 22, 2011 | Daily News

The Army is exploring the possibility of rapidly acquiring a new missile or aircraft designed to both thwart enemy unmanned aerial vehicles and to intercept rocket, artillery and mortar rounds targeting U.S. troops, asking industry this summer to draft concepts for a capability that could be fielded in as little as two years.

July 18, 2011 | Daily News

Northrop Grumman officials say they plan to reschedule the ferry flight of the Euro Hawk remotely piloted aircraft for later this week.

The flight, which was originally set to depart today, was delayed due to weather problems. A Northrop Grumman spokeswoman told Inside the Air Force via an email that, barring any further weather issues, the flight would take place within the next few days. Confirmation on that departure date will be available shortly, the spokeswoman added.

July 15, 2011 | Inside the Army

Lockheed Martin has delivered the first of three prototypes
of its Squad Mission Support System cargo robot to the Army in anticipation of
the vehicle's deployment to Afghanistan this fall, according to a company

July 15, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The results of a scathing Pentagon report on the performance of the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle were based on a small window of testing at Navy facilities in Maryland, and the drone has performed very well in the field, the deputy program manager told Inside the Navy last week.
July 14, 2011 | Inside the Pentagon

The Pentagon is asking Congress to shift millions of dollars this summer to complete the development of an urgently needed airborne sensor designed to counter deadly improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

July 14, 2011 | Inside the Pentagon

The Army anticipates being able to resume flights of unmanned drones that use just ground-based radars in August -- more than three months after a glitch grounded the system just 11.25 hours into the flights.

July 08, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The Pentagon's top weapons tester criticized the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter drone as unreliable in combat situations and only good for collecting non-time-sensitive data, according to a June 24 report submitted to the congressional defense committees.
July 08, 2011 | Inside the Navy
With the first flight of an Unmanned Combat Air System surrogate out of the way, the Navy plans to test autonomous aerial refueling for the program using a Learjet by the end of the year, program officials told reporters last week.
July 07, 2011 | Inside the Pentagon

The Defense Department is asking Congress to approve the start of new multimillion-dollar programs to develop urgently needed sea-based, unmanned aircraft capable of hunting down terrorists.

July 05, 2011 | Daily News

(Editor's Note: This story was updated at 2 p.m. on July 6 to include a comment by a Northrop Grumman spokeswoman.)

The Defense Department is seeking permission from Congress to shift $28 million to avoid a delay in plans to assess its Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), a hybrid airship with promising capabilities that are in high demand among commanders in Afghanistan.

June 29, 2011 | Daily News

The Navy last week plunked down $2 million to advance its vision of a next-generation unmanned aircraft optimized for aircraft-carrier operations, launching a preliminary competition in a program that promises to become a big-ticket Pentagon acquisition: the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system.

June 27, 2011 | Daily News

The Army and Navy today released a joint request for information on design solutions for a vertical-take-off-and-landing unmanned aerial vehicle. The services are also teamed up on an analysis of alternatives for the platform, according to a government notice.

The RFI is intended to support the Army's development of an acquisition strategy and joint AOA for what are being called the Medium Range Multi-Purpose and Medium Range Maritime UAVs, according to the announcement, issued by the Army's unmanned aircraft systems project office.

June 24, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The development of promising unmanned systems such as undersea sensors and a carrier-based strike and surveillance drone is hindered by a bureaucratic process that threatens to stifle them before they get off the ground, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said recently.
June 24, 2011 | Inside the Navy
The Navy has been operating MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter drones off the east coast of Africa in addition to operations in Afghanistan as Navy aviation enters an important era, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said recently.
June 20, 2011 | Daily News

The price tag of the Air Force's Global Hawk program spiked 61 percent this spring, a key factor in the Pentagon's move last week to overhaul the program by trimming 13 additional aircraft and $1.6 billion, according to Defense Department documents provided to Congress.

June 10, 2011 | Daily News

Delays in operational testing of the latest version of the MQ-9 Reaper and other concerns have led House appropriators to trim the Air Force's FY-12 request for MQ-9 funding by $145 million, according to documents reviewed by InsideDefense.com.

The Air Force asked for $813 million for MQ-9 procurement in the FY-12 budget request it submitted to Congress in February. The funding would cover the purchase of 48 Block 5 Reapers, the maximum quantity contractor General Atomics can produce in a year.

June 10, 2011 | Daily News

The House Appropriations Committee has axed all 12 Fire Scouts the Navy had asked for in its version of the fiscal year 2012 defense appropriations bill, rebuffing the Navy's stated intention to nearly double its planned buy from 31 to 57 aircraft to meet additional demands, according to a document reviewed by InsideDefense.com.

The Navy had asked for nearly $200 million to fund 12 more MQ-8B Fire Scouts and develop a long-range maritime unmanned aerial vehicle.

June 09, 2011 | Daily News

(Editor's note: An official from the Congressional Budget Office on June 10 said the CBO does not advocate for specific procurement policies, as the first sentence of the original version of this story stated. The story has been modified accordingly.)