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|Grand Challenge Contenders Selected
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Grand Challenge 2005 Site Visits Announced
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says 118 Grand
Challenge 2005 teams have been selected to receive visits by DARPA
personnel for in-depth, on-site evaluations of their autonomous
From May 2 to May 15, 2005, DARPA
personnel will visit the 118 teams at locations across the U.S. to
assess each teams autonomous vehicles capabilities on a 200-meter
test course. The vehicles will be evaluated on their ability
to navigate among waypoints, stay within course boundaries, and avoid
randomly placed obstacles.
The site visits are
an essential element of the qualification process for the Grand
Challenge and will enable a realistic assessment of a vehicles
potential to complete the Grand Challenge course.
to the Grand Challenge 2005 Program Manager, Ron Kurjanowicz, "site
visits give DARPA a chance to meet the personnel, evaluate the
autonomous operation of the vehicles, and assess other vehicle
qualities required for a teams vehicle to finish the Grand Challenge
route across the desert."
DARPA will use the
site visit results to invite the top 40 teams to the Grand Challenge
National Qualification Event, September 27 to October 5, 2005, at the
California Speedway in Fontana, CA.
said "a robust community of inventors, engineers, mechanics, students,
and scientists has risen to meet the challenge to develop innovative
autonomous vehicle capabilities that will save lives on the
DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 is a field test of
autonomous ground vehicles for the purpose of advancing autonomous
vehicle technology. The vehicles must travel approximately
150 miles over rugged desert roads using only onboard sensors and
navigation equipment to find and follow the route and avoid
DARPA will award $2 million to the
team whose autonomous vehicle successfully completes the 2005 route the
fastest within a 10-hour time period. Teams are developing
their vehicles without government funding.
TerraMax robotic vehicle was one of the 118 teams picked for evaluation
for the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005.
"Being chosen by DARPA
for a site visit is a huge first step and represents tremendous work by
our team, both here at Oshkosh Truck and with our partners at Rockwell
Collins and the University of Parma, Italy," said Don Verhoff,
Oshkosh's executive vice president of technology. "Based on the success
of our TerraMax vehicle at last year's Grand Challenge, we're
optimistic about our chances this year."
TerraMax was one of only seven entries to complete the 1.3-mile
qualifying course for the Grand Challenge. The platform for TerraMax is
Oshkosh's combat-proven Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). For
the 2005 Grand Challenge, TerraMax has been given rear-wheel steering
for improved maneuverability.
|Submariners Test UAVs
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Submarine Force Tests UAV
Navys submarine force recently conducted a demonstration in Kings Bay,
GA, using a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to test its
utility for force protection.
During the demonstration, a
prototype UAV was launched and controlled by force protection personnel
ashore to search out the waters ahead of the submarine as it entered
The small plane weighing in at approximately five
pounds is able to break down into five pieces and can be stored in a
small suitcase, making it portable and easy to take anywhere its
"The beauty of UAVs as other military users have
found is they are economical, portable and reliable," said Lt. Cmdr.
Tom Armstrong, Commander, U.S. Naval Submarine Force anti-terrorism
force protection officer.
The UAV can be used in a number
of different ways, but its primary purpose for the submarine force
would be for reconnaissance and photographic surveillance to support
force protection. The new UAV design is ideal for stealth, due to its
ultra-quiet electric motor and small size.
comes in the versatility of the vehicle. According to Armstrong, it can
be flown in all kinds of weather and can be launched in a very unique
"It can be flown via Global Positioning System (GPS).
We just program what route we want it to fly and it doesnt matter if
its night or day, in bad weather or good," he said. "We could launch
the UAV from the submarine at sea or launch it from shore depending
upon the available range."
Acquisition of this UAV for
submarine force protection is still under consideration, but Armstrong
is optimistic this technology will be a part of the fleet in the
"This affordable surveillance tool offers great
potential benefits and savings to the submarine force, and I hope well
be able to take advantage of this great technology soon."
|Mars Rover Mission Extended
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Mars Rover Mission Extended
has approved up to 18 more months of operations for Spirit and
Opportunity, the twin Mars rovers that have already completed active
exploration of the Red Planet for more than 14 months.
rovers have proven their value with major discoveries about ancient
watery environments on Mars that might have harbored life," said Dr.
Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science
Mission Directorate. "We are extending their mission through September
2006 to take advantage of having such capable resources still healthy
and in an excellent position to continue their adventures."
Erickson, rover project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, CA, is making long-term plans for the twin robotic vehicles
that may be around for quite a while.
though, "Either mission could end tomorrow with a random part failure.
With the rovers already performing well beyond their original design
lifetimes, having a part wear out and disable a rover is a distinct
possibility at any time. But right now, both rovers are in amazingly
good shape. We're going to work them hard to get as much benefit from
them as we can, for as long as they are capable of producing worthwhile
Opportunity is within a few football
fields' length of a region called "Etched Terrain," where scientists
hope to find rocks exposed by gentle wind erosion rather than by
disruptive cratering impacts, and rocks from a different time in Mars'
history than any examined so far. "This is a journey into the unknown,
to something completely new," said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell
University, Ithaca, NY, principal investigator for the rovers' science
Opportunity has overtaken Spirit in total
distance driven. It has rolled more than 4.9 kilometers (3 miles) --
eight times the original goal. On March 20, Opportunity also set a new
Martian record of 220 meters (722 feet) in a single day's drive. Also,
Opportunity's solar panels, though now dustier than Spirit's, still
generate enough power to allow driving for more than three hours on
Spirit is in much rougher terrain than
Opportunity, climbing a rocky slope toward the top of "Husband Hill."
With a boost in power from wind cleaning its solar panels, and with its
formerly balky right-front wheel now working normally, Spirit is making
longer one-day drives than it has for months.
do have some signs of wear and exposure. Spirit's rock abrasion tool
shows indications that its grinding teeth might be worn away after
exposing the interiors of five times more rock targets than its design
goal of three rocks. Researchers probably won't know the extent of wear
until Spirit's next rock-grinding attempt, which may be weeks away.
Also, troubleshooting continues for determining whether
Opportunity's miniature thermal emission spectrometer is still usable
despite tests indicating a problem last month. All other instruments on
both rovers are still working normally.
|More R&D Contracts for LCS
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Bath Iron Works Awarded $16 Million Contract for LCS Program
U.S. Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General
Dynamics, a $16 million Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Final System Design
(FSD) contract to procure required long lead material in support of the
Long lead material is being procured
under the FSF contract in order to meet the requirements of the
anticipated Flight 0 production contract.
The LCS is the
Navy's newest surface combatant, the requirement for which has been
identified as part of a broader surface combatant force transformation
The Bath Iron Works LCS concept features an
innovative trimaran hull and open architecture design to provide
superior joint warfighting capability and flexibility to accommodate
planned and emerging mission growth and system upgrades. Designed for
operations in littoral (near-shore) waters, various unmanned systems
will operate from the advanced combatant.
|'Energizer' battery under development
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Electro Energy Receives Contract for Development of Lower-Temperature Thermal Batteries
Energy Inc, a manufacturer of advanced batteries, has received a
24-month Phase II USAF contract worth $658,435 to develop technology to
lower the operating temperature of thermal batteries used in military
Thermal batteries are used to provide
electrical power for fusing and weapons such as shoulder-fired missiles
and smart bombs. In typical operation, when power is required, the
battery is heated by an internal heat source melting the salt
electrolyte, allowing electric energy to be produced. Such batteries
generally have excellent shelf life prior to activation, which is one
of their many attributes.
The main objective of this
program is to reduce the battery operating temperature to less than 250
degrees C, compared to existing systems that operate between 350
degrees to 550 degrees C.
The company began research on
this innovative program effort under a Phase I contract of $99,876 from
the Air Force last year. Based on the success of Electro Energy's Phase
I effort, the Air Force awarded the Phase II follow-on, which supports
further R&D of the technology and also allows Electro Energy to
consider commercial potential of the
|"Wing Warping" on the Horizon
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Wing Warping
NASA flight research project, designed to test the concept of
wing-warping to control aircraft turns, indicates the concept works,
even at supersonic speeds.
This high-tech version of
century-old technology may have an impact on aircraft design, making
airplanes more maneuverable at high speeds, enable them to carry
heavier payloads or use fuel more efficiently.
Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) project is located at NASA's Dryden Flight
Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, CA. The project is evaluating
active control of lighter-weight flexible wings for improved
maneuverability of high-performance aircraft.
is jointly sponsored and managed by NASA, the USAF Research Laboratory,
Wright- Patterson AFB, Ohio; and Boeing's Phantom Works.
manager Larry Myers said "we have demonstrated a number of subsonic and
supersonic flight conditions, where we have actually taken advantage of
the aeroelasticity of the wing.
"We've gotten excellent
results, good agreement with predicted results, and roll rates are
comparable to what we predicted in simulation. It looks like we've
proven the AAW concept," he added.
control of wing flexibility is a step toward the "morphing" concept,
where aircraft can change their shape to adapt to differing aerodynamic
conditions. The AAW is primarily intended to benefit aircraft that
operate in the transonic speed range. The range is approximately 80 to
120 percent of the speed of sound, where traditional
control surfaces become minimally effective or ineffective.
flexibility is generally a negative at those speeds. Wing flexibility
tends to offset or counteract the effects of normal aileron movements
at high aerodynamic pressures.
The AAW concept reverses the
traditional approach to this problem. The traditional approach has been
stiffening the wings of high- performance aircraft with more structure
and more weight. AAW reduces the structure and weight. It then actively
controls the wing flexibility via computerized flight controls.
obtained from flight tests at Dryden will help guide the design of
future aircraft including high-performance fighters, high altitude,
long endurance (HALE) uninhabited aerial vehicles, large transport
aircraft and high- speed, long-range aircraft.
aircraft is a Boeing F/A-18A Hornet obtained from the USN. It carries
extensive instrumentation to measure the twisting and bending of the
wing during flight.
"Transitioning AAW will likely be a
relatively long process, since it represents a design philosophy," said
Pete Flick, Air Force AAW program manager. "The application to future
aircraft will depend on specific design requirements of those future
systems. The benefits are greatest when a vehicle design is initiated
with AAW in mind, and limited when applied to an existing vehicle," he
|SSST Contract Awarded
|By AUVSI Staff
|| SSST Fabrication
Sciences Corp., Chandler, AZ, was recently awarded a $12.5 million
contract to produce ten GQM-163A Supersonic Sea Skimming Targets
(SSST). Work will be performed in Chandler, and is expected
to be completed in April 2007. Contract. The Naval Air
Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity.
|NASA has New Leader
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Michael Griffin Takes the Helm as NASA Administrator
Michael D. Griffin has reported to work as NASA's 11th Administrator.
During his confirmation hearing, Griffin said his priorities are to:
* Fly the Space Shuttle as safely as possible until its retirement, not
later than 2010
* Bring a new Crew Exploration Vehicle into service as soon as possible
after the Space Shuttle is retired
* Develop a balanced overall program of science, exploration and
aeronautics at NASA, consistent with the redirection of the human
spaceflight program to focus on exploration
* Complete the International Space Station in a manner consistent with
our international partner commitments and the needs of human
* Encourage the pursuit of appropriate partnerships with the emerging
commercial space sector
* Establish a lunar return program having the maximum possible utility
for later missions to Mars and other destinations
George W. Bush nominated Griffin as NASA administrator in March, while
he was serving as head of the Space Department at Johns Hopkins
Griffin said he
would reassess the space agencys decision to cancel a mission to
service the aging Hubble Space Telescope using either the space shuttle
or a robotic mission.
|Boeing Names Global Strike Solutions Boss
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Boeing Names First Vice President of Global Strike Solutions
Boeing has named Darryl W. Davis the first vice president of Air Force Systems Global Strike Solutions.
new organization, based in St. Louis, answers an emerging requirement
in the Department of Defense for systems capable of projecting global
power and includes Boeing's fighters, bombers, weapons and unmanned
"This new group has the critical task
of providing the military services with a coordinated set of Global
Strike solutions," said George Muellner, Boeing Air Force Systems vice
president and general manager.
Davis successfully led the
Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) X-45 program and prominently
positioned Boeing in the unmanned systems arena. Prior to his unmanned
systems position, he worked in various engineering, business
development and program management.
A former Brookings
Institution Congressional Fellow with the U.S. Senate, he holds a
bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from
Purdue University and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from
the University of Missouri at Rolla.
|UAV Seaplane Envisioned
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Vought and Geneva Aerospace Team on Sea-Going UAV
A newly announced contract could take unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to the high seas.
Aerospace is providing the airframe and technologies for the Kingfisher
Jr. hybrid UAV development headed by Vought Aircraft.
recently was awarded a $497,000 contract from the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to begin investigating the feasibility
of a sea-going UAV designed to take off and land on water.
will modify Geneva's Dakota UAV for water operations, removing landing
gear and adding floats, said Dave Duggan, vice president of business
development for Geneva.
Under the DARPA contract, Vought
will modify the Dakota UAV for water operations, develop sea state
sensors, develop ATOL (Autonomous Take Off and Landing) software, and
demonstrate vehicle capability to modify flight characteristics based
on transmitted sea state data.
The Dakota features a
16-foot wingspan and a 200-pound airframe, which was originally
designed by Daedalus Research Inc., for the U.S. Naval Research
Laboratory as a rugged UAV test-bed. It has been used as a sensor test
platform and surrogate vehicle for several research and development
efforts, including autonomous operations exercised by the U.S. Navy.
Vought says the research could lead to the scaled-up
Kingfisher II Seaplane UAV that could conduct anti-submarine warfare
and mine warfare while also serving as a weapons platform. As
envisioned, the 9,500 lb. Kingfisher II (with 2,500 lbs. of mission
payload) would have a 41-foot wingspan and an overall length of 38
feet. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney PW525B turbofan (producing 4,100
lbs. of thrust), the Kingfisher II would cruise 250 knots at 25,000
feet in altitude. The Kingfisher II would fold to fit in an 11-meter
rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).
Erich Smith, senior vice
president, program management and business development, said "Vought
has a long history of innovation and ingenuity, and now through our
Kingfisher II concept, we have an exciting new research project that
positions us well for future work in unmanned systems."
addition to the Dakota, Geneva is providing Vought with flightTEK, its
industry-leading flight computer developed specifically for UAVs.
Geneva also will provide engineering services needed to adapt the
flightTEK control system for use on the high seas.
adapting our core guidance systems to enable a UAV to land on the open
ocean," Duggan said. "The technology challenge is landing on the waves
without harming the airplane. That requires integration of a sea motion
sensing device to predict the movements of the water and choose a
landing point on the back side of a wave -- without
Vought expects testing to be completed by the end of the year.
Geneva's flight control technologies, we're well on our way to
accomplishing our goals," said Fred Schwartz, vice president of
military programs for Vought. "Geneva has already developed flightTEK
to the point that the baseline take-off and landing controls are nearly
in place. We simply have to take them to the next level for this
specialized ocean-use application."
Based outside Dallas,
Geneva Aerospace (www.genaero.com) designs technologies for UAVs,
offering advanced flight controls, software, systems integration
services and complete UAV systems.
|Germany's EMT Delivers
|By AUVSI Staff
|| EMT delivers 115 ALADIN UAV Systems
German Armed Forces have ordered a total of 115 ALADIN close-range
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems from EMT to equip its army task
forces with reconnaissance drones. Deliveries start in August 2005.
ALADIN is a mobile and compact mini-UAV system comprising
one portable control station and two aircraft with very low signatures.
Operated by two soldiers, it can be put into action in less than 5
minutes. ALADIN has a range of five kilometers. The optional IR version
for night operations will be available the end of this year.
incorporates the experience of more than 400 German Army reconnaissance
missions that were conducted with pre-production systems in Afghanistan
and in Germany under severe weather conditions and in difficult
|Northop Grumman's Aussie Deal
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Northrop Grumman Teams with Australian Companies
Grumman has teamed with leading Australian companies to develop an
Australian ground system that would work with the U.S. firms Global
Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Johnson, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems
sector, said the goal is to offer Australia a fully capable,
cost-effective solution. "We want to include command- and-control
functionality, exploitation of Global Hawk data and complete
interoperability among Australian forces and with U.S. assets in the
one package," he said. "We also want to include these key companies in
evolving a total support program for the Australian Global Hawk system,
including through-life support."
The Global Hawk team includes Tenix Defence, Saab Systems and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems.
Project AIR 7000, the Australian government intends to acquire a UAV
system capable of performing multiple roles and supporting a wide range
of military and civil missions. Global Hawk is a strong candidate to
meet the Australian needs, offering unparalleled capability to detect
land and maritime targets to support a wide range of civil and military
As the ground environment study progresses, the
team will seek additional capabilities from Australian industry,
particularly small- and medium-enterprise firms in defense and
Northrop Grumman will also
leverage its United States supplier team for Global Hawk to aid in the
ground systems development, to include: Raytheon, which provides sensor
and ground systems, and Rolls Royce for the engine on the USAFs Global
|United Defense Develops Robotics
|By AUVSI Staff
|| United Defense Develops Robotic Technologies
Defense Industries continues to expand its role in unmanned ground
vehicle (UGV) research with receipt of a $30.9 million U.S. Army
Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC)
As part of an ARV Robotics Technology (ART) effort, United Defense will integrate
unmanned platform technologies leveraged from Army and commercial
developments into a representative Future Combat Systems (FCS) Armed
Robotic Vehicle (ARV) platform, and support experimentation and testing
of these systems during demonstrations.
demonstrators will be used by the ART program as a step toward
transitioning ART technologies into the FCS ARV System Development and
Demonstration (SDD) effort.
"We are pleased that TARDEC
selected the United Defense approach as the best solution to further
UGV system technologies for ARV," said Buck Tanner, UGV Program Manager
for United Defense Ground Systems Division. "Unmanned ground vehicles
will bring a new dimension to the warfighting effectiveness of units of
action by providing them with a capability they do not have today. We
are committed to furthering technologies that will bring these
capabilities to soldiers as soon as possible."
September 2003, United Defense was selected by the FCS Lead System
Integrator to design and develop two Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV)
variants. The ARV-RSTA variant will provide Reconnaissance,
Surveillance and Target Acquisition for the FCS Units of Action, while
the ARV-Assault variant will provide direct and indirect fires under
remote control in support of mounted and dismounted operations.
Defense will focus on tactical mission behaviors to reduce soldier
operational burden and interaction, semi-autonomous perception to
enhance operations in unfavorable conditions, mobility systems that
match manned ground vehicle operating tempos, survivability
technologies that secure vehicles against certain threats, and embedded
diagnostic systems specific to unmanned systems.
program will include the delivery of an ART vehicle demonstration
platform that is autonomously controlled through an advanced mobility
suite, and features a suite of reconnaissance, surveillance and target
acquisition (RSTA) sensors. Weapon systems, security systems, advanced
tactical behaviors software, and a diagnostic/prognostic suite will be
integrated in the demonstrator.
Experiments are planned
for September 2006 and March 2008 to demonstrate the robust nature of
the technologies. United Defense will also deliver an ART simulation
and integration laboratory (SIL) at the conclusion of the second
Industry subcontractors to United Defense
include General Dynamics Robotics Systems (GDRS) and Omnitech Robotics
|Finding Your Way Without GPS
|By AUVSI Staff
|| New Technology for Navigating Without GPS
new method for navigation at sea, independent of GPS, is being put
forward in a dissertation from Swedens Linköping University.
merchant marine, military, and recreational boat traffic all rely on
the global satellite system GPS to determine their position at sea. But
sometimes information from the system is incorrect. Poor visibility or
lax attention can then spell disaster.
GPS can be jammed,
either unintentionally or intentionally. Signals from the satellites
can be interfered with by ice build-up on the vessel's antennas, by
other communication equipment, or by physical obstacles. Submarines
cannot usually use the system.
Doctoral student Rickard
Karlsson at the Center for Control and Communication describes in his
thesis how modern, simulation-based methods of treating signals can be
used to monitor and, if necessary, to take over the GPS function on a
This technology, unique in the world, requires no
external infrastructure and is not susceptible to interference.
Instead, the vessel's own radar is used to measure the distance to
surrounding shores, and this data is then compared with a digital sea
chart. In a submarine, information from sonar equipment is compared
with a digital depth chart. In combination with data about the movement
of the vessel, the correct position can be calculated.
method is based on a mathematical algorithm, a so-called particle
filter, which is installed as a program in the vessel's computer
system. There is no need for any further hardware to be installed
beyond what is already on board. Preliminary trials show that the
method works just as well as GPS in navigating an archipelago.
dissertation entitled Particle Filtering for Positioning and Tracking
Applications deals with several other uses of the same principle:
positioning industrial robots, tracking vehicles from another vehicle
to avoid collisions, and tracking boats and ships from an
|Gordon England Moves to DoD
|By AUVSI Staff
|| President Nominates Navy Secretary for Pentagon's No. 2 Position
Bush has nominated Navy Secretary Gordon R. England to succeed Paul
Wolfowitz as deputy secretary of defense. Wolfowitz was confirmed as
the next World Bank president March 31, and his term will begin June 1.
In a written statement, England said he is "honored and
humbled" by his selection as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfelds
deputy. England has served twice as Navy secretary, interrupted by a
nine-month stint in 2003 as deputy secretary of homeland security.
Previously, England was executive vice president of
General Dynamics. Earlier in his career, he was president of Lockheed
Fort Worth and president of General Dynamics Land Systems. He earned
his bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and his master's
from the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.
He is a Baltimore native.
The White House also announced
March 31 that the president intends to nominate Eric S. Edelman to
succeed Douglas J. Feith as undersecretary of defense for policy.
Edelman, a career foreign service officer, is U.S. ambassador to Turkey
and previously served as principal deputy assistant to the vice
president for national security affairs.
Both nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.
|Andros Robots Get a New Home
|By AUVSI Staff
|| New Home for Northrop Grummans Remotec Robotics Unit
Grumman recently celebrated the grand opening of its newly consolidated
Remotec, Inc. robotics facility at 353 JD Yarnell Parkway in the Eagle
Bend Industrial Park, TN.
Mack Barber, president of
Remotec, said``we are very proud of our new headquarters, engineering
and manufacturing facility here in Anderson County. It's bigger and
better and reflects the direction we're going as a company.''
new 75,000 square foot engineering, manufacturing and administrative
office building consolidates what had been four separate, less-modern
facilities to enable smoother operations and communication flow between
business and production components.
``The move opens doors
for more efficient future operations, new products and growth in our
hazardous-duty robotics business,'' Barber added.
is a world leader in providing mobile robot systems for use in
hazardous duty operations by military organizations, law enforcement
agencies, nuclear facilities and research laboratories. The robotic
technology developed and deployed by Remotec is fast becoming the
standard for hazardous-duty robots.
|QF-4 Drone Crashes
|By AUVSI Staff
|| USAF Releases QF-4 Drone Accident Report
of an unmanned QF-4E drone to react properly to controller inputs led
to its intentional destruction during a mission Sept. 8, 2004, over
White Sands Missile Range near Holloman Air Force Base, NM, according
to an Air Force report released March 18.
piloted jet was assigned to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron Detachment
at Holloman. No one was injured, and damage to the drone is estimated
at $1.5 million.
According to the Air Combat Command
Accident Investigation Board report, the drone exceeded its flight
limits and stalled. Corrective measures from the controller and the
drone's autopilot failed, causing the drone to lose control.
controller, operating from a ground station located within the range
complex, used a ground-based UHF flight termination system to destroy
the drone, which crashed in two pieces.
|Endurance Hunter UAV Flies
|By AUVSI Staff
|| First Flight of Endurance Hunter UAV Conducted
Grumman recently conducted the first flight of a new configuration of
the U.S. Army's RQ-5A unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system called the
Endurance Hunter (E-Hunter).
Conducted March 17 at a
company flight test facility near Douglas, AZ, the flight is part of an
on-going cooperative effort between Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Army
to extend the range, endurance and payload capacity of the Hunter
system. Northrop Grumman operated the new UAV under the control of
a``One System'' ground control station.
combines the fuselage of the battle-proven Hunter UAV with a new tail
assembly and a longer center wing to create a UAV that can fly missions
up to 30
hours in length, at altitudes in excess of 20,000 feet.
Valenzuela, Northrop Grumman's E-Hunter program manager, said
``E-Hunter combines the internal payload carrying capability of the
RQ-5A Hunter with a longer wing and tail booms that can carry a variety
of external sensors, communications and weapons payloads. Using only a
field-installable kit, we can convert any of the service's current
Hunter UAVs into a higher-performance, longer-endurance UAV.''
wing and tail assembly used on E-Hunter are identical to those used on
Hunter II, Northrop Grumman's offering for the Army's next generation
Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAV program.
goal of the initial flight was to evaluate E-Hunter's controllability
and handling characteristics. After several high-speed taxi runs, the
air vehicle lifted off at a speed
of 47 knots. At an altitude of
2,000 feet, the company's flight operations team conducted a series of
controllability tests at 60 knots and 80 knots.
series of low-approach passes to validate low-speed handling and to
visually verify landing gear and arresting hook extension, the air
vehicle landed at a speed of approximately 48 knots.
prototype Army One System ground control station used for the E-Hunter
flight was produced by Northrop Grumman with its own funding.
company plans to conduct additional E-Hunter envelope expansion flights
in the near future to demonstrate the UAV's ability to fly at higher
altitudes for longer periods of time.
|Tossable Surveillance Device Unveiled
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Eye Ball "Tossable" Surveillance Device Revealed
Remington Technologies has unveiled the Eye Ball R1 (Eye Ball), a "tossable" audio/video surveillance device.
wireless, baseball-sized device with real-time audio and video rotates
to provide a 360-degree visibility of an environment. Law enforcement
officers can roll, toss, or drop the ruggedized Eye Ball into virtually
any hazardous situation - providing the immediate visibility required
for users to make safe, intelligent decisions in dangerous
Once deployed, the Eye Ball captures and
transmits real-time audio and video to the Eye Ball's Personal Display
Unit (PDU). In addition to serving as a wireless receiver,
enables users to direct the Eye Ball with precision, focusing the video
camera throughout the Eye Ball's 360-degree viewing area.
PDU also activates the Eye Ball's near-infrared "night vision" for dark
operations. The Eye Ball streams audio and video up to 200 yards away
from the PDU.
The Eye Ball's video camera provides a
55-degree horizontal and 41-degree vertical field of view providing
clear vision into rooms, hallways, and stairwells. Users control the
Eye Ball's 360-degree rotation via the PDU and gain visibility through
its 6.4-inch color screen.
Internal Eye Ball near-infrared
LEDs illuminate dark environments. Near-infrared capabilities can be
set manually or automatically. The PDU enables users to control up to
two Eye Balls and centralize audio and video feeds from both
The Eye Ball R1 attaches quickly to a pole -
providing visibility into ceilings or attics, looking around corners,
down hallways, or into rooms. The Eye Ball and PDU use lithium ion
batteries and maintain battery power for up to two and three hours
The Eye Ball R1 kit is $4,800. The Eye Ball
Kit includes a rugged case with two Eye Ball R1 units, one Training
Ball, one Personal Display Unit, and two chargers. Test and evaluation
units are available upon request. Deliveries will begin in Q2 2005.
For additional Eye Ball background, including upcoming
events that will feature Eye Ball demonstrations, please visit
|BAE Conducts OAV II Test Flight
|By AUVSI Staff
|| BAE Systems Conducts First Untethered Flight of OAV
Systems has successfully conducted the first untethered flight of its
second-generation ducted-fan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAV built for the Defense Advanced
Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Organic Air Vehicle Class II (OAV II)
program, twice completed a course of ten waypoints at Southern
California's Hansen Field.
The seven-minute flight of the
ducted-fan drone, similar to a design the company is developing as part
of DARPA's OAV II competition, followed more than 100 tests conducted
with a safety tether over the past several months.
flight validates our approach to fulfilling the OAV II mission and
punctuates what has been a highly successful flight test program," said
Tom Hyde, BAE Systems' director of UAV programs.
Systems is one of three UAV manufacturers working under
multimillion-dollar DARPA contracts in the first phase of the OAV II
program. The firms are designing UAVs for reconnaissance and
surveillance, maneuver force protection, and targeting.
Systems developed its aircraft as part of an independent R&D effort
to design and demonstrate a family of ducted-fan UAVs. The ducted-fan
design shrouds the fan, making it ideally suited for company- and
platoon-level operations in which takeoffs and landings occur in close
proximity to the warfighter.
The three-phase program is
intended to yield a vehicle of sufficient maturity to transition into
an Army System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program to fulfill
the Army's requirement for a Class II UAV. During the OAV II programs
second phase, scheduled to begin in June, DARPA will proceed with
exercising options with one or more contractors.
|Twin Predator UAV Losses
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Twin MQ-1 Predator Losses in Iraq
USAF MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed on March 26 in
the vicinity of Balad, Iraq followed by a second Predator loss in
Rawah, Iraq, on March 30.
The aircraft made by General
Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. were assigned to the 15th
Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis AFB, NV. They were in
the U.S. Central Command area of operations supporting Operation Iraqi
Freedom. Accident investigation boards are investigating the recent
|Global Hawk Keeps Racking Up Combat Hours
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Global Hawk UAV Reaches 4,000th Combat Flight Hour
Grummans RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle reached 4,000 combat
hours on March 23 during an operational mission.
Hawk UAV has performed nearly continuous combat service with the USAF
since 2001. Overall, the UAV system has achieved more than 6,500 total
George Guerra, director of Northrop Grumman's
Air Force Global Hawk program said ``Early on, the Air Force placed a
great deal of confidence in Global Hawk by pressing it into service
supporting combat operations well ahead of schedule. Since its debut in
theater, the system has provided unprecedented support to our fighting
forces on the ground, at sea and in the air.''
autonomously from take-off to landing, flying at an altitude of 65,000
and with an endurance of more than 30 hours, the Global Hawk provides
surveillance and reconnaissance information to the warfighter in near real time.
The U.S. Navy also plans to procure Global Hawk to demonstrate maritime surveillance capabilities to the fleet later this year.
|GA-ASI Develops Hunter-Killer Predator
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Recent Unmanned Systems Contracts
Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of San Diego, CA, has been
awarded $68.2 million to undertake System Development and
Demonstration (SDD) of the MQ-9 Hunter-Killer
The MQ-9 is the next generation of
the Predator family of medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs). The R&D effort will enhance the
drones weapons carrying and targeting capability. The
contract includes options for the retrofit of four aircraft to the SDD
configuration, along with communications and ground and flight test
GA-ASI was also awarded a $10 million
contract to continue Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Predator support
and repair services and $20 million to provide additional Predator
readiness spares package kits.
awarded $25.9 million to produce Multi-spectral Targeting Systems (MTS)
"A" forward-looking infrared systems, including 22 Turret Units and
associated line items, to support the Predator UAV
program. The MTS provides real-time imagery selectable
between infrared and day TV, as well as a laser-designation
Raytheon received $6.8 million to demonstrate a
Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance (TF/TA) radar in support of the
U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Northrop Grumman
received a $8.8 million competing contract.
Sciences, Manassas, VA, was awarded a $20 million contract for
Excalibur Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) research and
development. The work is expected to be completed by April
24, 2010. This was a sole source contract initiated on Feb.
1, 2005 by the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate.
Grumman received $24 million to fabricate 12 BQM-74E aerial targets and
48 extended range BQM-74E aerial targets for the U.S.
The BQM-74E is a subsonic, subscale,
jet-powered aerial target capable of being air launched or surface
launched (land or shipboard). The BQM-74E supports fleet
training requirements for gunnery, surface-to-air and air-to-air
missiles exercises from fixed sites and during open ocean and deployed
remote site operations, both air and land.
San Diego-based aerospace firm also received a $11.7 million contract
from the USN to deliver Fire Scout VTOL Tactical UAV hardware for the
U.S. Armys Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. A version of the Navy
Fire Scout will serve as the FCS Class IV UAV. Hardware to be provided
include eight airframes, transponders, radar
altimeters, GPS/INS systems, antennas and pressure
|Carnegie Mellon Robot Chills Out
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Researchers Deploy Robot on Frozen Lake in Preparation for Antarctic Expedition
Nomad, one of Carnegie Mellon University's most accomplished robotic rovers, is at it again.
time the rover that trekked 220 kilometers through Chile's Atacama
Desert and explored Antarctica for meteorites is being groomed for a
potential return to the frozen continent to search for signs of living
microorganisms near the top of its icy surface.
Mellon robotics researchers recently deployed Nomad on the frozen
surface of Lake Mascoma in Hanover, NH, as part of the LORAX Project
(Life on Ice, Robotic Antarctic Explorer), which seeks to measure the
distribution of surviving microorganisms in the near-surface ice on the
Nomad, which successfully traversed 10
kilometers through the snow and ice on Lake Mascoma, was equipped with
a wind turbine for the first time, while researchers studied the
possibility of powering a robotic investigation with combined wind and
Carnegie Mellon and NASA researchers worked
with the Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
(CRREL) in Hanover, to arrange the long-distance autonomous navigation
tests on Lake Mascoma, which they say simulates the flat, icy terrain
of the Antarctic plateau. CRREL also provided logistical support and
test facilities to the Carnegie Mellon and NASA team. CRREL researchers
made ice thickness measurements throughout the test area and confirmed
18 inches as safe conditions for the rover trials.
which has been upgraded with sensors and computing to increase its
ability to act independently, first gained notoriety in 1997 when it
traveled through the Atacama and again in 2000 when it autonomously
discovered meteorites in Antarctica and became the first robot to
perform science on its own.
In the past, Nomad has largely
been teleoperated, but for the LORAX expedition, it was given the
"brains" of another robot called Zoé that has been surveying
microscopic life in the Atacama Desert.
"The goal of this
field experiment was to establish that Nomad's mobility on snow and ice
and our technology for autonomous navigation meet the requirements for
survey traverse in the Antarctic," said Robotics Institute Associate
Research Professor David Wettergreen.
alumnus Liam Pedersen of NASA's Ames Research Center is the project's
principal investigator. Wettergreen and Senior Systems Scientist
Dimitrios Apostolopoulos are co-investigators at Carnegie Mellon's
Robotics Institute where the rover design and analysis, and autonomous
navigation work is being done.
Apostolopoulos has been
leading rover mechanism work while Wettergreen has been developing its
autonomy. The Carnegie Mellon researchers are being funded by a
one-year, $400,000 grant from NASA.
Researchers at the
University of Oklahoma are developing an ice coring and sampling
device, while others at the University of California at Berkeley are
developing a fluorescence spectrometer, which could be the primary
science instrument in identifying the presence and abundance of
microorganisms in Antarctic ice.
|iRobot's Dyer Joins Athena Board
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Joe Dyer on Athena Board of Directors
Athena Technologies, Inc., has appointed VADM Joe Dyer (U.S. Navy, ret) to its board of directors.
who brings a wealth of military, government and private sector
experience to Athena's governing board, is currently the executive vice
president and general manager for iRobot Inc.'s Government and
Dr. David Vos, Athenas founder and
president said, "bringing Vice Admiral Dyer to our board will add a
level of insight, experience and creativity that will immediately be
felt at our company. His public and private sector background in
unmanned systems development is well-suited to our mission and I think
we both understand how future combat environments are changing because
of these dynamic platforms."
Prior to his 2003 retirement,
Dyer was the commander of the Naval Air Systems Command. Dyer's naval
career also included positions as the commander of the Naval Air
Warfare Center's, Aircraft Division, naval aviation's chief engineer
and three years as the Navy's chief test pilot.
the appointment to Athena's board, Dyer said, "Being able to affiliate
with Athena is important to me because I believe the types of
technologies they are focusing on represent the transformational links
to the battlefield of the future. Companies like Athena are providing
the technical know how to make that future a reality."
|AAI Acquires ESL Defence
|By AUVSI Staff
|| AAI Acquires British Firm ESL Defence
Industrial says its wholly-owned subsidiary AAI Corp. completed the
acquisition of ESL Defence Limited (ESL), an electronic warfare (EW)
systems company based in the United Kingdom, on April 4, 2005. The
purchase price was approximately $10 million in cash.
in Hamble, England, ESL is a market leader in the design and production
of electro-optic (EO) test and simulation products for use on flight
lines and in aircraft maintenance facilities. The simulators are used
to assess the operational readiness of sophisticated missile warning
and countermeasures self-protection systems used on military aircraft.
ESL's EO simulators are also used at military test, evaluation, and
training ranges to evaluate the effectiveness of new self-protection
systems and to train pilots for combat readiness.
addition, ESL specializes in EW related research, study, and in-service
support activity for U.K. government agencies and prime contractors
both in the United Kingdom and in the United States.
EO test and training products have grown during the past year due to
the accelerating use of EO defensive systems to protect aircraft from
man- portable missile
threats. The strong demand is expected to
continue and should result in continued business growth. ESL is
expected to generate approximately $7 million in sales during the
remainder of 2005 and be accretive to UIC's results of operations.
ESL product line complements AAI's EW test and training products," said
Frederick M. Strader, president and chief executive officer. "The
integration of AAI's highly successful EW test and training products
with ESL's flight line test systems will allow us to broaden our sales
distribution channels internationally and offer our customers a full
range of support equipment to test the complete complement of EW
sensors on military aircraft."
|Aurora Flight Sciences Delivers
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Aurora Fabricates First Aft Fuselage for the RQ-4B UAV
Flight Sciences has delivered the first aft fuselage for the new RQ-4B
model of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to prime
contractor Northrop Grumman.
Under the previously
announced Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase II (EMD)
contract, Aurora designed and fabricated tooling for the new aircraft's
aft fuselage, vertical tails and engine nacelle components.
aft fuselage is a critical path item for the RQ-4B, and being the lead
on this component assembly shows how Aurora has matured as a company,"
said Aurora Flight
Sciences President John Langford. "When Aurora
started our Global Hawk work in 1995, we were a scrappy small company.
Over the past 10 years, we have developed the mature design and
manufacturing capabilities and experienced staff that make it possible
to lead a critical project like the aft fuselage."
the company received its first subcontract to build vertical tails for
the RQ-4A. Over the years, Aurora has increased the scope of its Global
Hawk work. Today the company manufactures almost one-third of each
Global Hawk fuselage assembly.
Tom Williams sector vice
president for Northrop Grumman's high altitude, long endurance programs
said " the know-how, dedication and ability to deliver quality products
demonstrated by subcontractors like Aurora Flight Sciences make it
possible to put such a powerful tool in the hands of America's fighting
men and women."
Despite Aurora's Global Hawk experience,
the scope of the EMD contract was daunting. Employees at Aurora's
Bridgeport, WV manufacturing facility designed and manufactured tooling
for the 120 different components that make up the aft fuselage.
the tooling was complete, Aurora fabricated each of the components and
devised an assembly plan for the aft fuselage. The assembly process
worked exactly as planned, and Aurora's technicians are already
applying lessons learned from the first assembly to further streamline
the aft fuselage assembly process for subsequent RQ-4Bs.
new RQ-4B Global Hawk is larger than the currently deployed block 0
systems, carries 5 percent more payload and provides two and a half
times the available onboard power for sensor systems. The RQ-4B is
expected to make its first flight in 2006.
|NASA/GA-ASI to Demo Altair UAV
|By AUVSI Staff
|| UAV Earth Science Flight Demo Scheduled
and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in
cooperation with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI),
will be conducting a series of flights near the Channel Islands off the
Southern California coast this spring to evaluate the ability of
remotely operated aircraft to conduct a variety of Earth Science
The goal of the Altair Integrated System Flight
Demonstration Project is to evaluate the operational capabilities of
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for science missions related to oceanic
and atmospheric research, climate research, marine sanctuary mapping
enforcement, nautical charting, and fisheries assessment and enforcement.
remotely piloted Altair, whose development was funded in part by NASA,
will carry a payload of instruments for measuring ocean color,
atmospheric composition and temperature, and surface imaging during
flights in late April and early May. Six flights totaling about 53
hours flight time will be flown at altitudes up to 45,000 feet and
durations up to 20 hours.
|BAE Systems Develops LMSJ
|By AUVSI Staff
|| LMSJ Development Contract Awarded
USAF on April 6 awarded BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare
(EW) Systems, Nashua, NH a $5 million contract to perform additional
development of the Lightweight Modular Support Jammer (LMSJ).
mandated, the program will undertake hardware and software
modifications and upgrades to the basic LMSJ system to include: total
end-to-end integration with the advanced threat alert and response
digital receiver; development and fabrication of a high band
transmitter and active phased array antenna; and, improvements to the
electronic attack (EA) jamming manager and techniques
Ground testing and flight test
demonstrations of the full system on a small unmanned aerial vehicle
will take place at an electronic warfare (EW) test range in Nevada to
further evaluate jammer performance against realistic radar
Also included in the research effort
is a thorough study of the feasibility and architecture for a network
centric EW battle management concept, which would control an EA
system-of-systems. The LMSJ contract concludes in October
The Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, is the contracting activity.
|Metal Storm on Target
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Metal Storm 'On Target' With Live Fire Demos
Storm successfully completed a series of weapon demonstrations of a
Metal Storm 40mm weapon mounted on a Foster-Miller Talon unmanned
ground vehicle (UGV).
In the demonstrations at the U.S.
Armys Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, the Metal Storm-equipped Talon
engage a variety of targets, including simulated personnel, an infantry
carrier and a bunker, with pyrotechnic rounds.
demonstration showcased the technical and operational capabilities of
the Metal Storm 40mm weapon system combined with a robotic platform
currently in use by the U.S. military. Senior scientific and technical
personnel attended the demonstrations from the U.S. Department of
Defense as well as selected defense industry representatives.
Metal Storm 40mm weapons system employed in the demonstrations was a
specially designed 4-barrel array loaded with 4 rounds per barrel and
utilizing significant design and engineering improvements, including
improved cartridge reload and recoil management systems.
also incorporated an optical targeting system integrated with a
purpose-designed mount, which provided 2-axis control, stability and
accuracy in aiming and operating the weapon.
Chief Executive Officer, Mr. David Smith, said the demonstrations
achieved their objective in generating a positive response from key
defense industry personnel.
"Our system performed
extremely well and we are delighted with the positive feedback and
interest expressed by those attending. We already have a number of new
potential opportunities under discussion as a result of the
demonstrations and our technical staff has gathered very valuable data
on the performance of the system. This is the outcome we were aiming
for," he said.
The demonstrations were held as part of a
Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) that the U.S.
Army Armament Research, Development and
Engineering Center (ARDEC) has with Metal Storm.
from the Medium Caliber Ammo Branch of ARDEC attended the live fire
demonstrations to observe the functionality of the system. Under the
CRADA they will be working with Metal Storm on the development of a
range of munitions for use in the Metal Storm 40mm weapon system.
live fire demonstrations at Picatinny Arsenal did not include firings
from the Dragonfly DP4X unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as previously
planned because of operational restrictions on the range, which
prevented in-flight live fire trials being possible.
are currently being made for in- flight test-firings and demonstrations
to be held in the next few months at another location.
|Herley Industries Acquires
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Herley Buys Innovative Concepts, Inc.
Herley Industries has acquired Innovative Concepts, of McLean, VA, for about $20 million in cash.
its inception in 1985, ICI has developed wireless communications
technology and real-time embedded systems, software, hardware and
high-speed processing in support of the defense industry. ICI's core
competencies are directly applicable to the increasing defense industry
requirements for tactical communications and data processing.
N. Blatt, chairman of Herley, stated, "The acquisition of Innovative
Concepts completes our strategy to accumulate the technology that we
believe is essential for Herley to successfully compete in the defense
industry of the future&The military requirements of the future
involve unmanned forces equipped with precision weaponry with
technology that detects and identifies, in real-time, to eliminate
"Herley has working relationships with
companies that provide us with access to unmanned platforms. Our recent
acquisition of Micro Systems and the strength and market acceptance of
their command & control systems, when combined with Herley's
in-house capabilities, create a full line of product solutions to
control unmanned platforms.
"The millimeter wave technology
Herley acquired when we reached a licensing agreement with Lockheed
Martin and Xytrans will give Herley the capability to be an active
participant in lightweight, precision guided weaponry that will be on
next-generation missiles as well as a variety of unmanned
"The acquisition of Innovative Concepts is the
last link in the strategic chain that will enable Herley to provide the
data links between the vehicle, the ground stations and the long and
growing list of diverse electronic equipment that will need the
products Herley now has to offer.
"The acquisition of ICI
is an excellent fit for Herley and will provide immediate benefits for
both business operations. Herley has strong relationships with the U.S.
Navy and Air Force while ICI has strong ties with the U.S. Army. Herley
has significant content on fixed-wing platforms, with ICI involvement
focused on rotary-wing aircraft. Herley is a hardware oriented company
and ICI is a software driven company.
Innovative Concepts had revenues in their last fiscal year of approximately $28 million.
Industries, Inc. is a leader in the design, development and manufacture
of microwave technology solutions. Based in Lancaster, PA, Herley has
nine manufacturing locations and more than 1000 employees. Additional
information about the company can be found at
|Noted NASA Scientist Passes Away
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Noted NASA Researcher Dies
Dale Reed, 75, a distinguished NASA aeronautics researcher who
pioneered Lifting Body and remotely piloted research aircraft programs
at the Dryden Flight Research Center in the 1960s and 70s passed away
March 18 in San Diego due to complications of cancer.
he worked on numerous aeronautical research programs during his almost
52-year career at NASA Dryden, Reed is best known for his major
contributions to aeronautical research in the initiation and
development of the Lifting Body and Remotely Piloted Research Vehicle
As manager of innovative programs, Reed's
fascination with using model drones airplanes for flight research led
to the Remotely Piloted Research Vehicle (RPRV) Program. In place of
the model aircraft operator's simple switch console, Reed substituted
ground-based cockpit containing all of the flight instruments and sensors of a fully equipped airplane.
tested his concept with the Hyper III, the first RPRV to have a test
pilot fully in the loop, using a radio uplink. Reed carried the concept
further with the PA-30 and 3/8th scale F-l5, both of which added a
computer control system in conjunction with the ground-based
Reed held a patent for the Mini-Sniffer -- a
foldable Mars airplane with hydrazine-fueled engine designed to ride
aboard a Viking spacecraft and be remotely dropped to explore the
from low altitude. If used as Reed had envisioned, the craft would have
performed aerial exploration until its fuel ran out, then land at a
desirable spot to continue feeding back information through the Viking
Orbiter, like the familiar Mars rovers.
|Integrated GPS Receiver Unveiled
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Integrated GPS Receiver Unveiled
Data Systems, Inc., a leading supplier of data acquisition equipment,
has introduced an integrated 20 Channel L1+L2 GPS receiver for Heims
line of high performance airborne recorders.
signal interfacing and interchangeable media cartridges, these
recorders provide highly flexible, COTS solutions that can easily adapt
to changing mission requirements in both airborne and mobile
The integrated GPS receiver
provides two functions essential to airborne data acquisition systems.
Primarily, the GPS receiver serves as a highly accurate time
synchronization source used to generate precision UTC time stamping for
the entire range of the recorders flexible modular signal interfaces.
The GPS receiver eliminates the need for stand-alone free running time
sources that require jam synchronization at the beginning of every
mission. The GPS timing source is used to continuously synchronize the
recorders precision data time stamping electronics and eliminates time
inaccuracies due to drift experienced when using free running time
sources. The Heim recorder also uses the GPS time information to
produce a modulated IRIG B, A, or G time output source that can be used
as the master time source to synchronize other instrumentation
In addition, the fast acquisition and
re-acquisition receiver provides high dynamic, precision navigational
data. The GPS system can be specified for economical single frequency
low rate operation or high performance L1+L2 plus WAAS to support high
dynamic, high-velocity applications. Accurate navigation solutions are
provided one or ten times per-second. The GPS receiver data is also
compatible with typical Differential GPS Solution applications. The
user has the flexibility to program the specific message output from
the wide variety of message types available.
The GPS data
is captured and recorded in the IRIG106 Chapter 10 flight data
acquisition standard data format. Heim data packet recording technology
is recognized as a leader in providing very accurate time base and
inter-channel phase accuracy for multiple input channels covering a
wide range of disparate signal types. The GPS capability further
enhances the recorders ability to capture data that can be accurately
and reliably time synchronized to other mission events during mission
The GPS option is available either in a
signal module package for plugging into any Heim airborne recorder or
it can be integrated into the latest recorder mainframes. Fitted
integrally into D5000 series flight test or D7000 series mission
recorders, the GPS option provides full functionality without taking up
valuable signal interface module slots. The integration of precision
GPS data and timing information eliminates the need for bulky
stand-alone GPS receivers and time generators, thus reducing the
traditional three box solution to a single COTS recorder.
more information on Heim Data System's complete product line, contact
Ginny Decker, Heim Data Systems, Inc. PO Box N, Belmar, NJ, 07719.
Telephone (732) 556-2318, fax (732) 556-2319, visit www.heimdata.com,
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|L-3 Com to Aquire Sonoma Design
|By AUVSI Staff
|| L-3 Com Agrees to Acquire Sonoma Design Group
Communications has signed an agreement to acquire Sonoma Design Group.
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The business will be
renamed L-3 Communications Sonoma EO, Inc.
Santa Rosa, CA, Sonoma Design Group designs, develops and manufactures
highly stabilized electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging systems
for airborne and surface platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles
The business produces ultra-performance imaging
systems for the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and
targeting needs of the U.S. intelligence and military community.
Design Group provides large aperture turrets, payloads and sensors for
EO/IR and laser systems. The company supplies turreted EO/IR sensors
and gimbal equipment on several key programs, including the U.S. Navy's
Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft, fixed and rotary wing UAVs, as well as
both classified and unclassified
Design will enhance L-3's market penetration in the growing EO/IR
sector, while continuing as a merchant supplier of very advanced
stabilized products," said Frank C. Lanza, chairman and chief executive
officer of L-3 Communications. "Sonoma's high resolution imaging
capabilities are very complementary with our Wescam business and will
create increased opportunities for L-3 in both the military and
homeland security segments."
|Israel's Elbit Delivers
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Elbits Skylark UAV delivered to the IDF Ground Forces Command.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Ground Forces Command (GFC) has taken
delivery of initial Elbit Systems Skylark mini-UAV systems.
an advanced mini-UAV, is designed for day and night observation and
data collection "over the hill" up to distances of 10
km. The man-pack system is equipped with a quiet electric
motor, and conducts totally autonomous flight. A single soldier can
launch the UAV after little training.
Elbit Systems was
selected last year by the Israel Ministry of Defense to supply Skylark
mini-UAV systems for the GFC, after successfully passing a series of
stringent tests which demonstrated its technical and operational
capabilities, meeting the demands set by the Israel MoD and the
Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international defense
electronics company engaged in a wide range of defense-related programs
throughout the world, in the areas of aerospace, land and naval
systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance ("C4ISR"), advanced electro-optic and
The Company focuses on the upgrading
of existing military platforms and developing new technologies for
defense and homeland security applications.
|LSI Issues Final RFP for Class II/III UAV
|By AUVSI Staff
|| FCS Team Issues Final RFPs for Class II/III UAVs
and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), as the Lead
Systems Integrator team for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS)
program, in late March released separate Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
for development of FCS Class II and III Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
systems. Bidders were given30 days in which to respond. Contract awards
are anticipated in early August.
A phased acquisition
approach will be implemented for Class II and III development efforts.
Multiple contracts will be awarded for Phase I, involving technology
and risk reduction demonstrations.
Phase II will include
flight, logistics and training demonstrations of both industry- and
DARPA-developed (OAV-II) systems. Candidates will be
evaluated for their suitability to meet FCS requirements during a
24-month concept maturation phase, which will result in down-selects
for the final phase of System Design and Development (SDD) when the LSI
and the Army will select the best-value solution for Class II and III
"Leveraging best-of-industry solutions and
current government development efforts will yield innovative,
affordable and technologically superior UAV systems," said Mark
Franzblau, FCS UAV integrated product team leader.
Class II UAV will provide reconnaissance, security/early warning,
target acquisition and designation at the company level. A 70-120 lb.
drone with a 16km radius of operation, it will be vehicle mounted,
providing enhanced dedicated imagery.
The Class III UAV
(300-500 lbs. with 40km radius) will have greater endurance and a
larger payload-carrying capacity. It will operate at the battalion
level. Both FCS Class II and III UAV systems will be deployed with the
first full FCS-equipped unit of action beginning in 2014.
|Robots in the ICU
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Hospital Introduces Robots in ICU
Medical Center is conducting initial clinical tests of the RP-6 mobile
robot system in its neurosurgery intensive care unit (ICU).
RP-6 robot, made by InTouch Health Inc. in Santa Barbara, CA, allows
doctors to "virtually" consult with patients, family members and health
care staff at a moment's notice, even if miles away from the
Intensivists the physicians who specialize in
the care of critically ill patients in the neurosurgery department at
UCLA are using RP-6 to provide additional monitoring from their homes
and offices of ICU patients. Studies show that intensivist presence in
the ICU can decrease morbidity, mortality, length of stay and cost of
The project is funded through an assistance
agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command,
Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, located at Ft.
There is a nationwide shortage of intensivists.
There are fewer than 6,000 practicing intensivists in the United States
today. and more than 5 million patients admitted to ICUs annually.
Therefore, only about 37 percent of ICU patients receive intensivist
care. These specialists are familiar with complications that may occur
and are therefore better able to minimize errors.
testing the RP-6 robot as a way to extend the reach of the intensivist.
The patient sees, hears and interacts with the doctor through the
nearly 5-foot-6-inch tall robot, which displays a live video image of
the physician's face on its monitor/head.
seated at a computer console called a ControlStation, also sees and
hears the patient through a live video image projected on a monitor.
The ControlStation comes equipped with a joystick, which allows the
physician to drive the robot to the patient's bedside, control
movements of the robot's head and even zoom in to take a closer look at
the patient or bedside monitors.
Leveraging the health care
expert's time offers the possibility of improved patient care, reduced
length of stay and cost savings. UCLA has combined its in-house
electronic medical information system, GCQ, with the RP-6 remote
presence system to monitor and access patients anytime from homes and
offices in a way not previously possible.
Quest, or GCQ, founded by Martin, Nenov and Farzad Buxey, is a
commercially available, remote wireless mobile patient data system
developed at UCLA Medical Center.
Patient and family
reaction to the robot has been very positive. In a study done by Johns
Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, half the patients preferred a
tele-rounding visit by their own doctor to a "real" visit by another
physician. And 80 percent of the patients felt that the robot increased
UCLA is the first hospital to test
the RP-6 robot in the ICU, though more than a dozen other institutions
are using the robot to provide remote medical expertise in areas such
as emergency rooms and patient wards.
|Tracking the Gulf Stream
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Underwater Robot Launched from Bermuda
small autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named Spray was recently
launched about 12 miles southeast of Bermuda in a mission to study the
The two-meter (6-foot) long orange glider with
a four-foot wingspan will slowly make its way northwest, crossing the
Gulf Stream and reaching the continental shelf on the other side before
turning around and heading back to Bermuda, where it will be recovered
The voyage is the vehicle's second trip across
the Gulf Stream. Spray made history last fall as the first AUV to cross
the Gulf Stream, but this time it is making the trip from the other
Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution located in Massachusetts previously launched the 112-pound
Scientists are tracking Sprays progress and are
able to communicate with the vehicle via satellite during the mission
to change course or alter the information it is collecting while at
The vehicle will proceed north at about one-half
knot, roughly half a mile an hour or 12 miles per day, measuring
various properties of the ocean as it glides up to the surface and then
glides back down to 1,000-meters depth (3,300 feet) three times a day.
Every seven hours Spray spends about 15 minutes on the
surface to relay its position and information about ocean conditions,
such as temperature, salinity and pressure, via satellite.
has a range of 6,000 kilometers, or about 3,500 miles, which means it
could potentially cross the Atlantic Ocean and other ocean basins.
Researchers plan to send the vehicle on its first round
trip between Woods Hole and Bermuda later this year -- marking another
first for an underwater vehicle.
The successful trip last
fall proved the viability of self-propelled gliders for long-distance
scientific missions and has opened new possibilities for studies of the
oceans. Research missions are being planned using the vehicle once
field testing is completed.
Researchers developed the
Spray glider with support from the Office of Naval Research. Sensor
development was funded under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Climate Observations Program. The Gulf Stream project
is funded by the National Science Foundation.
|Proteus With Teeth
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Weapon Dropped from Proteus UAV
Grumman has successfully demonstrated the ability to release a weapon
from a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle
The drop on Feb. 24 of a 500-pound
inert weapon from Proteus over Nellis AFB, NV supports a Northrop
Grumman-funded effort to develop a new multi-mission MALE UAV dubbed
Model 395. Based on Proteus, Model 395 will be able to perform a
variety of missions ranging from traditional intelligence gathering to
weapons delivery. Proteus is a manned UAV surrogate developed by Scaled
Steve True, Northrop Grumman's Model 395 test
director, said the weapons drop is the first of several demonstrations
the company has planned to exercise and highlight Model 395's ability
to fulfill a variety of special customer mission requirements. The next
flight demonstration is planned for later this year.
jet-powered Model 395 is a cost-effective, multi-role, multi-mission
UAV with the right altitude, speed, endurance and payload capacity to
perform tasks that span our
customers' air operations,'' said Chris
Hernandez, vice president and general manager of the company's Unmanned
Systems unit. ``In the hunter-killer role, it can carry
multi-spectral sensors to detect and track targets and myriad munitions to destroy those targets.''
to Hernandez, the Model 395 system will also extend the reach of air
commanders by providing tailored support to ground forces in near-real
time in almost any combat situation. A family of modular payloads will
allow it to be optimized quickly for a variety of missions including
signals intelligence, psychological operations,
communications relay and area surveillance.
addition to its 900-pound internal payload capacity, Model 395 will be
able to carry external payloads of up to 6,500 pounds. It also has more
than 100 cubic feet of unused
|GA-ASI Completes ER/MP SCD
|By AUVSI Staff
|| GA-ASI Completes ER/MP Demo for U.S. Army
Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) recently completed a
Systems Capability Demonstration (SCD) at Fort Huachuca, AZ as part of
Phase I of the U.S. Army Extended Range Multi-Purpose (ER/MP)
The Warrior Team, led by GA-ASI, with
teammates AAI and SPARTA, completed all required flight test objectives
in record time, flying a minimum number of hours to meet program
objectives. One aircraft, equipped with a heavy fuel engine,
flew the majority of the missions in order to demonstrate the maturity
of this heavy fuel engine installation, an engine combination that
meets a longstanding Army requirement.
demonstrator aircraft capitalized on the experience of over 120,000
Predator flight hours and extensive combat experience to meet the
demands of the test objectives with ease.
demonstrated the requirement to transition from line-of-sight data link
to satellite link control for over-the-horizon control with a single
aircraft, leveraging GA-ASIs 12-year satellite control experience with
Predator systems. This capability eliminates the burdensome
and inefficient need to have two aircraft airborne, one with a data
link relay to support the other mission airplane.
availability to meet the demanding schedule was
exceptional. The aircraft demonstrated automatic as well as
pilot control landings. Most missions were flown from the
AAI One-System ground control station (GCS) required by the U.S.
Army. One heavy weight mission was also flown with four
hellfire missiles installed.
"Overall, this operation was
extremely successful, thanks to the dedicated professionalism of our
small support team and to the performance of our combat proven aircraft
systems," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president and chief executive of
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
|iRobot Provides EOD Robots to DoD
|By AUVSI Staff
|| iRobot Wins $18 Million USN Contract to Produce EOD Robots
has been awarded a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) contract worth
over $18 million to deliver its PackBot EOD robots -- explosive
ordnance disposal robots -- for rapid deployment in support of U.S.
troops around the world.
iRobot PackBot EOD robots are
being used daily in Iraq and Afghanistan to disarm roadside bombs and
other improvised explosive devices (IEDs). To fulfill the contract,
iRobot will deliver over 150 robots to the U.S. Navy by the end of
"The rapid acquisition of small EOD robots comes in
response to war fighters' requirements for technologies that protect
personnel and overcome the threat posed by unexploded ordnance, mines
and IEDs," said Commander Scott Stuart, EOD Program Manager, NAVSEA.
"The EOD program office is working in close partnership
with joint force and combatant commanders, and with industry, to
deliver state-of-the-art capability, based on commercial off-the-shelf
technologies that meet the demands of real-world operations."
PackBot EOD is a rugged, lightweight robot designed to assist in
explosive ordnance disposal, HAZMAT, search-and-surveillance, hostage
rescue and other vital tasks for military units. It can handle a full
range of conventional ordnance disposal and improvised explosive
iRobot PackBot EOD's lightweight, ruggedized
OmniReach Manipulator System can reach as far as two meters in any
direction to assess and safely disrupt difficult-to-access IEDs,
military ordnance, land mines and other incendiary devices.
|Hound Sniffs Out Illicit Drugs
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Sniffing Out Drug Traffickers
a South Texas highway local police and border patrol agents are using a
hand-held sniffer developed at Sandia National Laboratories to help
stem the flow of illegal drugs northward into the U.S.
loaned the South Texas Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force one
of its prototype Hound systems in November 2003 as part of a field
trial to evaluate the system for drug detection. Since then Task Force
officers have used the Hound system at border checkpoints to help
screen vehicles for narcotics and drug money.
officials say its officers have on numerous occasions used the Hound
system to help local, state, and federal law enforcement officers
detect covert narcotics shipments in vehicles at checkpoints.
toolbox-sized Hound system includes a front-end sniffer developed by
Sandia for sample collection and a commercial chemical detector that
works for both explosives and drugs.
Although the system
was originally developed for explosives, the switch from detection of
explosives to drugs is relatively simple within the commercial
detector, says Dave Hannum, one of the Sandia developers of the
pre-concentration technique that makes the Hound system so
The sniffer works by drawing a bathtub's worth
of air through its nozzle, trapping heavy organic compounds in the air
on a filter, then heating the filter and redistributing the collected
compounds into a smaller air sample. The compounds then are identified
in a commercial ion mobility spectrometer-based detector that is part
of the system.
It's the equivalent of netting hundreds of
fish in a vast ocean, then releasing those fish into a pond and fishing
for them, with much increased odds.
The Hound system is
sensitive enough to detect and identify residues in the fingerprints
drug users leave behind on door handles, steering wheels, locker
Sandia pioneered the pre-concentration
approach in the mid 1990s and has since developed a family of
explosives-detection systems based on the technique, including
hand-held detectors, a vehicle screening system, and a walk-through
portal that can sniff trace amounts of explosives on people's skin and
A commercial version of the portal is now being
used to screen airline passengers at a checkpoint at New York's JFK
|Megitt Provides WMD Sentry
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Megitt Provides Unmanned WMD Sentry to Canadian Forces
Defense Systems (MDS), a unit of Meggitt PLC, has been awarded a
contract by Defence R&D Canada Suffield to provide technical
support in the manufacture, systems integration, and testing of follow
on units of the DRDC Suffield developed MultiAgent Tactical Sentry
(MATS) unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) entering service with the
The MATS system consists of a series of
state-of-the-art protective sensors integrated onboard a UGV for use in
the detection of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear
Under the contract, MDS Canada (formerly
Schreiner Canada) will provide engineering support to DRDC Suffield for
the construction of the follow on MATS UGVs, their payload integration
and the fabrication of ground stations.
MDS, a unit of
Meggitt PLC, is a world leader in the design, development and
manufacture of free flying aerial, marine, and ground-based targetry,
including towed targets and countermeasures, unmanned aerial vehicles,
UGVs, unmanned surface vehicles, pods and aeromechanical structures,
electronic scoring systems, ammunition handling equipment and
environmental control systems.
|NASA Working on Swarming UAVs
|By AUVSI Staff
|| New Software Let UAVs Team Up
old saying, "birds of a feather, flock together," can now be applied to
a couple of small uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) flown in a NASA
research experiment using principles derived from studies of fish and
bird motions to simultaneously guide them around obstacles.
and technicians from NASA's Ames Research Center and Dryden Flight
Research Center recently conducted flight tests over a 'virtual' forest
fire to evaluate new flight-control software that will allow UAVs to
autonomously react to obstacles as they fly pre-programmed missions.
The tests were conducted over a remote area of Edwards Air
Force Base, CA, to investigate cooperative flight strategies for
airborne monitoring and surveillance of natural disasters and for
"We developed and flight tested
several novel approaches for providing assistance to wildfire
suppression crews using a team of two small UAVs," said John Melton,
principal investigator for the Networked UAV Teaming Experiment at NASA
The aircraft were flown using a combination of rules
from nature and robotics to cooperatively transit and search a virtual
The two autopilot-equipped, 12-foot wingspan
APV-3 UAVs were built by RnR Products, Milpitas, CA. They flew along
computer-generated paths and demonstrated the ability to avoid
obstacles in a cooperative and synchronized manner, all without the
help of flight personnel.
The software also created
waypoints on a rectangular grid of the search area, automatically
developed individual flight plans and transmitted them to each vehicle.
After passing their first few waypoints, one of the aircraft was
commanded to begin orbiting over the virtual fire. The remaining search
points were then transmitted to the second aircraft that incorporated
these points into its flight plan and completed the mission.
technology may one day enable swarms of aircraft to move safely from
one area to another as a flock or group," Melton said. "A number of
UAVs could be flown stacked in a vertical column with instruments to
collect air samples on future science missions or help ground personnel
monitor forest fires and other natural disasters," he added.
Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is supporting a variety of
technology development projects for remotely or autonomously controlled
high-altitude, long-endurance UAV aircraft.
have the potential to serve as platforms for a wide variety of Earth
science, surveillance, and communications relay and disaster-mitigation
missions. They are especially useful in circumstances where flying a
manned aircraft is dangerous.
The Networked UAV Teaming Experiment was sponsored by the Directorate's
Aeronautics Systems Analysis Project.
More Predators for the USAF
|By AUVSI Staff
|| Predator Fleet to Expand
officials plan to buy enough General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to equip as many as 15
squadrons, up from the three currently. The USAF would spend $5.7
billion over the next five years for the medium-altitude, long
endurance (MALE) drones, said an AF spokesman.
increase, announced March 18, is in response to the escalating demand
for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. The plans
are intended to ensure an increased number of Predators are available
in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots.
A future total
force initiative will establish two Air National Guard Predator units
in Texas and Arizona. Air Force officials are determining manpower and
training requirements that will significantly enhance the Predator's
ability to support combatant commander requirements. ANG personnel will
operate the UAVs from their respective states. Additionally, Air Force
officials plan to place a Predator squadron with an ANG unit in New
An initiative involves establishing a distributive
ground station in western New York to process global intelligence
information. Air Force and Air National Guard leaders said establishing
a Predator unit in New York would provide a more immediate impact to
the war on terrorism.
Aside from the planned ANG Predator
units, the USAF currently has three operational, active-duty Predator
squadrons located at Nellis AFB and Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary
Field in Nevada. Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Force
Reserve Command personnel also will operate Predators out of Indian
|Earnings Up for AAI
|By AUVSI Staff
|| United Industrial Income Increases 73% in 2004 on Revenue Growth of 24%
Industrial Corp., parent of UAV maker AAI, recently reported its
financial results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December
Net sales from continuing operations for the
three months ending Dec. 31 increased 14.4% to $95.2 million compared
to $83.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2003. Income
from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2004 decreased
$3.2 million to $3.3 million, compared to $6.5 million for the fourth
quarter of 2003.
Net income in the fourth quarter of 2004
increased to $4.9 million, compared to $4.5 million for the fourth
quarter of 2003. Net sales for the defense businesses in the fourth
quarter of 2004 increased 16.1% to $88.6 million compared to $76.3
million for the fourth quarter of 2003. Pre-tax income from the defense
segment decreased $2.2 million to $8.0 million compared to $10.2
million for the fourth quarter of 2003.
"We were extremely
pleased with the strong performance of our core defense segment and our
results for the full year," said Frederick M. Strader, the company's
president and chief executive. "Our Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (TUAV) program for the U.S. Army continued to lead the
company's performance through the end of 2004. In 2005, we expect to
continue the solid performance of our TUAV program with the U.S. Army."
During the fourth quarter of 2004, the company's UAV
product line received its third consecutive full-rate production
contract for $71.9 million from the U.S. Army for eight Shadow 200 TUAV
systems, including ground control stations, maintenance equipment and
spare components, to be delivered over the next twenty months.
company's UAV business was also awarded $23.4 million of additional
contracts in the fourth quarter of 2004 for ongoing logistical support
of TUAV systems deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Including these
awards, funded backlog for the UAV product line at December 31, 2004
was approximately $233.9 million.
Net sales from continuing
operations for the year ended December 31, 2004 increased 23.8% to
$385.1 million compared to $310.9 million for the year ended December
31, 2003. Income from continuing operations in 2004 increased 72.8% to
$26.1 million compared to $15.1 million for 2003.
for the defense segment increased $72.6 million primarily due to an
increase in production of TUAV systems as well as support for delivered
and deployed TUAV systems. Net income for the year ended December 31,
2004 increased to $26.8 million compared to a net loss of $5.8 million
for the year ended December 31, 2003.
The company received
$152.5 million of new awards during the fourth quarter of 2004, an
increase of $34.5 million, or 29.2%, compared to the corresponding
fourth quarter of 2003, including $71.9 million for AAI's third
consecutive full-rate production contract from the U.S. Army for Shadow
For the year ended December 31, 2004, the
company was awarded $449.8 million of new contracts, which was $117.1
million, or 35.2%, more than in 2003. Funded backlog for the company's
continuing operations was $387.9 million at December 31, 2004, an
increase of $64.7 million, or 20.0%, from December 31, 2003.