BAMs

AUVSI: The Navy has halted work on what had seemed the Pentagon’s most promising system to help drones sense and avoid other aircraft. The system, built by ITT Exelis, is “behind schedule” and the Navy has “made a decision to pause on the capability right now,” Navy Capt. Jim Hoke, program manager for the Triton… Keep reading →

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May’s been a good month for Navy drones and Northrop Grumman. First Northrop’s X-47B, forerunner for a future generation of unmanned reconnaissance and strike planes, made its first launch and first touch-and-go landing on an aircraft carrier. Today, Northrop’s land-based MQ-4C Triton drone made its first flight, out of the company’s facility in Palmdale, California:… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Steve Grundman

After three years of the “age of austerity” in Western military spending, investors’ imperatives and corporate strategies show one indication of how the defense-industrial base will evolve over the next decade. Investors want public companies that demonstrate an attractive risk-adjusted total return, not just M&A-fueled arbitrage plays. In response, companies are husbanding or harvesting their financial… Keep reading →

LAS VEGAS: As US defense spending ramps down, both the military and the aerospace industry want to sell more drones to friends and allies overseas. Right now, however, export controls and arms control treaties make that awfully hard.

“The foreign sales aspect of these RPAs [remotely piloted aircraft] is potentially huge,” Maj. Gen. James Poss, who heads policy making on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for the Air Force staff, said Wednesday at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference (click here for full coverage). A less restrictive export policy for unmanned aircraft is “in the national interest of the United States,” Poss continued. “It’s something we’re aggressively working with both the OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] policy folks and the State Department.” Keep reading →


UPDATED: BAMS-D Crashes, Burns. No Injuries.

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION: One of the Navy’s Global Hawks crashed and burned during testing about 22 miles from here Monday. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Despite the tremendous impact unmanned systems are having on the battlefield, military leaders still struggle to get intelligence gathered from these systems into the hands of those who need it.

The systems designed to stream raw data collected by the diverse fleet of unmanned systems in the field continued to hamstring combatant commanders and Pentagon leaders alike, Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, the Navy’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said today. These systems are designed to handle the back-end of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Keep reading →