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NGC Enhancing Network-Centric Warfighter Capabilities With Fire Scout UAV

RQ-8A Fire Scout tactical unmanned aerial vehicle.
by Staff Writers
Baltimore MD (SPX) Mar 31, 2006
Northrop Grumman, in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research, successfully demonstrated the ability to extend communications range and capability using the RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV).

Testing took place February 13-24 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. This event also marked Fire Scout's 200th flight, another milestone toward development of the Navy's VTUAV, which is intended to support the Littoral Combat Ship program.

Testing for the program, called Beyond Line-of-Sight Tactical UAV Communications Relay (BTCR), successfully demonstrated that a tactical UAV can be used to enable over-the-horizon communications relay, allowing ground troops on the move and battlefield commanders to share uninterrupted voice, data and real-time video.

"During a battlefield engagement, ground troops may move faster or farther than the communications equipment will support, facing a potential loss of communications because of distance or rough terrain," said John Featherston Northrop Grumman's BTCR chief engineer.

"For the first time, we were able to use a UAV to relay voice, data and real-time video via PDAs and laptops. This capability greatly extends the distance and speed that ground troops may travel, while maintaining continuous contact with battlefield commanders."

This test provides an airborne extension to the ground-based Command and control On-the-move Network Digital Over-the-horizon Relay (CONDOR), the U.S. Marine Corps answer to current communication problems faced by troops in the field.

Related Links
Northrop Grumman
Office of Naval Research
US Army Yuma Proving Ground

SatCon Wins Contract For Armys Future Combat System
Boston MA (SPX) Mar 30, 2006
SatCon Technology has announced it has been awarded a contract from BAE Systems to develop a Starter Generator for the Future Combat System (FCS) Multifunction Utility/Logistics Equipment (MULE) unmanned ground vehicle.

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