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UAV NEWS
U.K. defense minister calls for autonomous supply vehicles
by Ryan Maass
Washington (UPI) Apr 10, 2017


U.S. Army tests dune buggy-like Hunter, Killer vehicles
(UPI) Apr 14, 2017 - A developing U.S. Army platform comprising two dune buggy-like vehicles completed a round of testing at Fort Sill, Okla., on Thursday.

The eight-wheeled vehicles, known as Hunter and Killer, were tested between April 3 and April 13 during the 2017 Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment, or MFIX. They are designed to travel through various types of terrain and provide operators with aircraft detection and tracking capabilities.

Army officials note the program is aimed at reducing the workload for ground forces.

"We want to see how we can automate the software to reduce the task-saturation of the soldier," program strategist Scott Patton said in a press release. "We want to reduce their workload. We want [Soldiers] just to be forward observers. If they have to get into these other domains, they can do it for a minute or two, let the software do the thinking for them, and then they go back to their domain."

The Hunter and Killer vehicles, still in their early development phases, are designed to perform cross-domain functions. In addition to tracking aircraft activity throughout the battlespace, they can also call precision fires in an automated fashion, and allow operators to communicate with friendly planes for support.

The vehicle also has maritime applications, and can contact nearby ships to attack a target.

"This is just the first stage of the experiment and it's also the first stage of the counter-UAV," Patton added. "We also want to give the Soldier options based on [rules of engagement]."

Britain's defense ministry is asking security contractors to design new autonomous systems that can be used to deliver supplies to ground forces.

In a statement released Friday, Defense Minister Harriet Baldwin said her country's government seeks to develop new unmanned platforms to resupply troops in combat. The ministry's stated goal is providing its armed forces with more safety.

"Making sure we use the latest technology to keep our personnel safe and have the kit they need is a key part of our [$1 billion] innovation fund," she said in a press release. "We're challenging industry and academia to work with us to design ground-breaking autonomous systems that will get supplies to the front line."

The request supports the British government's Innovation Initiative, an effort to develop modernized battlefield solutions.

"Our investment in innovative solutions demonstrates how the government's [$223 billion] equipment plan, supported by a rising defense budget, will ensure that the U.K. maintains its military advantage in an increasingly dangerous world," Baldwin added.

The challenge will be led by the British Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, a government organization which performs a similar role as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the United States.

"We are particularly keen to reach out and encourage organizations that might not have worked with the defense and security sector before, such as those developing commercial driverless vehicles, drone delivery services and robotic agriculture, to get involved with the challenge and help us rapidly advance the way we deliver tactical military logistics," added Peter Stockel, a program leader in the agency.

UAV NEWS
MS-177 sensor completes test on Global Hawk
Washington (UPI) Apr 12, 2017
MS-177, a sensor developed by UTC Aerospace Systems, has completed a round of testing with the Northrop Grumman-made RA-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft. The sensor is a high-resolution imaging device designed to improve capabilities for the Global Hawk in addition to several other surveillance platforms operated by the U.S. Air Force. UTC leaders say the sensor will provide the most adv ... read more

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