The American subsidiary of MBDA has bought the Viper Strike weapons business and production line from Northrop Grumman. The Huntsville, Ala.-based activity was Northrop Grumman’s only business unit to offer a direct-fires weapon. This is MBDA’s first acquisition in the U.S., where the pan-European company wants to expand “through a combination of acquisitions, organic growth and partnerships with other prime contractors.”
Unmanned aerial vehicle
Iran claimed December 4 to have shot down a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel UAV along the country’s eastern border. Five days later, an almost intact airframe closely resembling the secret airframe was shown on Iranian television. The NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul admitted that operators of “a US unarmed reconnaissance UAV” had lost control of it during “a mission over western Afghanistan late last week”.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) of California belatedly revealed that its Lynx multimode radar had been flown successfully on an aerostat during a U.S. Air Force exercise last July.
Cassidian, the global security solutions and systems giant and subsidiary of EADS, is focusing on its unmanned air systems capability, as well as highlighting its security and communications activities in the Gulf region.
Swiss company Unmanned Systems is showing a model of its Orca rotary-wing unmanned air vehicle for the first time here at Dubai. The Orca employs a revolutionary tip-jet propulsion method that not only improves performance in many key areas, but also overcomes many of the operational problems encountered with conventional propulsion methods.
Arguably the most impressive new design on display at Dubai is Adcom Systems’ latest unmanned air vehicle, the United 40. Based in Abu Dhabi, the company has forged a reputation for taking innovative approaches to UAV and aerial target design, and the United 40 does not disappoint due to its tandem-wing layout and dramatic S-shaped fuselage.
Leading Italian exhibitors at the Dubai show are demonstrating the company’s increasing capability in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The targeting by American Predator and Reaper UAVs of terrorists along the Afghan-Pakistan border is being aided by GPS tracking devices placed covertly in the suspects’ vehicles, according to media reports.
British, French and U.S. aircraft began the action in mid-March, in a “coalition of the willing” named Operation Odyssey Dawn that was led by U.S. Africa Command. On March 31, NATO took command. Eleven other nations sent aircraft to join the campaign.
A new version of the General Atomics Predator/Reaper UAV series with multiple sensor control is ready for deployment to Afghanistan after successful trials. A U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle was fitted with two additional EO/IR sensors under each wing.