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Unmanned Systems

August 2, 2010

Another delay for the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D) has pushed back first flight to December and sea trials to 2013, but the program manager told Inside the Navy today he believes the program is now on track.

Last November, Naval Air Systems Command announced that first flight would be delayed until early 2010. Capt. Jeffrey Penfield, UCAS program manager, said in an interview that a review of the program was conducted in the spring and "we came out with a new schedule in late April to early May."

July 29, 2010

Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc. has been awarded a contract for the Small Tactical Unmanned Air System after months of delays, the Pentagon announced today.

The contract was originally scheduled to drop by the end of fiscal year 2009. However, the award was pushed back in December of last year, and again in May.

July 26, 2010

The Navy is setting requirements for a medium-range unmanned air vehicle that will follow in the footsteps of the Fire Scout and may be deployed by 2019, officials told Inside the Navy last week.

July 23, 2010
The Office of Naval Research met with industry last week to discuss establishing a program of record for a Navy cargo unmanned aerial system by the middle of the decade, and a Marine Corps official said a successful deployment of an immediate cargo UAS system could lead to exploding demand across the services.
July 23, 2010

The Army's 25-year "unifying strategy" initial capabilities document for its unmanned systems is being prepared for an Army Requirements Oversight Council review, after which service officials expect it will be sent to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council for final approval by the end of the month.

July 23, 2010

The Army is mulling the ramifications of operating unmanned ground systems in complex environments, considering questions of legal liability should an incident occur, according to Army Capabilities Integration Center officials.

July 22, 2010

An ongoing Defense Department effort is focused on bringing ground stations that control unmanned drones more in line with that iPhone resting in your pocket.

July 16, 2010

The Army is conducting a joint capabilities technology demonstration of a ground vehicle Combat Autonomous Mobility System, the results of which will inform an autonomous navigation capabilities development document the service is creating.

July 15, 2010

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli today raised questions about the service's Common Controller program -- a kind of beefed-up joystick for steering various unmanned systems from afar -- saying a similar functionality could be achieved with much cheaper, commercially derived gadgets.