Tag Archives: Navy

Big Things Coming for the UAV Industry?

The Next Generation Insitu Product: Integrator

Wired.com’s Danger Room has a great piece on the future of the Unmanned Systems business.  Needless to say, if you’re somebody in the supply chain already, this makes you look pretty smart:

But based on current tech trends (everything always gets more expensive), anticipated (that is to say, flat) budgets and projected threats (China and terrorists, as usual), the military believes it can make do for the next three decades with air fleets roughly the same size as today’s — with just one big exception. The robot air force will double in just the next nine years.

Not bad if you’re in the business.  If you’re not, well, you might want to reconsider.  Check out the full piece here.

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Insitu Wins Another One

Another Pickup for Insitu (Photo Courtesy of Insitu)

In case you haven’t heard by now, PNDC member Insitu has racked up another win.  This time they won a contract valued at more than $83M to support the currently fielded Scan Eagle systems, which are also built by Insitu.  While this win isn’t necessarily a big surprise to observers, it is certainly a sign of the Navy’s continued confidence in Insitu to deliver high-quality services to the warfighters in the field.  Congrats to everyone on Team Insitu for the win!

 

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EFV Following MRAP Acquisition Strategy?

Will the Marine Corps be able to resurrect the ailing EFV buy?

It sounds like the Marine Corps is making some noises that indicate they’re not giving up on the  former Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program without a fight.  Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos is on record as saying he wants to be driving some kind of Amphibious Combat Vehicle before his tour is up.  From Defense Tech:

“I’m trying to pressurize industry, I’m trying to pressurize the acquisition folks, I want the word to get out. If we followed the standard acquisition timeline, which in some cases got us to where we are today, it’ll be 2024.”

To avoid such a fate, the general said the Department of the Navy will be using a model similar to the one it used to quickly buy and field thousands of MRAPs during the height of the Iraq war.

“Something probably that resembles the sense of urgency that we had for the MRAP but probably a little bit more scheduled, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Read the full article from Defense Tech here.

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Cool New Toy: Northrop’s X-47B

Check out this great video from Northrop Grumman of their new carrier-capable UAV.  Gotta love the smiles on the faces of the engineering team when the drone gets airborne.

 

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Here We Go (or Don’t Go) Again…

Yet Another Delay for STUAS Tier-II (Photo Courtesy of Insitu)

Well, after the Navy had insisted that the STUAS Tier-II decision would be made this summer, we’re back to mysterious delays yet again.  This time, the Navy says they need another nine months.  From Flightglobal:

Capt J R Brown, STUAS programme manager, credits the latest delay to taking extra vigilance with taxpayer dollars.

“Discussions have been, and continue to be, required to understand and clarify industry’s proposed solutions to meet the warfighter’s requirements,” Brown says.

It’s been three years now, and we’re still clarifying.  This is becoming theater of the absurd.

Read the full article by Stephen Trimble on Flightglobal.com

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Friday News Roundup – Memorial Day Edition

I'm going to do some advanced propulsion research this weekend...

It’s the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, which means you are probably reading this on Tuesday, but I don’t mind.  I’m going to the Indy 500 this weekend.  By the time you read this I will have had a fantastic weekend, and I won’t care that you took Friday off.  In the mean time, here’s a snapshot of what’s been going on this week:

Don’t forget to take a second over the weekend and quietly thank those who died so we could blissfully barbecue all around this great big country. They earned it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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STUAS Watch – Smoke or Fire?

Integrator

Pictured is the "Integrator", Insitu's offering in the STUAS competition

If you haven’t heard, the Navy is hosting a little competition known as Small Tactical Unmanned Air Systems (STUAS), Tier II.  At stake are around a billion dollars in business over 10 years, and de facto leadership in the small UAV market segment within DoD.   Insitu (a PNDC member) of Bingen, WA has a lot riding on this competition.  Here in the Northwest, a boatload of Insitu subcontractors have grown up with the company’s Scan Eagle UAV.  Quite a few of them are holding their breath for a long overdue decision from the Navy on the fate of the Integrator, Insitu’s entry in the STUAS Tier II competition.   The Navy originally intended to make a final decision in 2007, but the decision has been slipping to the right for what feels like an eternity, with no hint at when a final call will be made.  Until now?

One of our eagle-eyed members picked up a quote from Insitu CEO Steve Sliwa, buried in an article in The Oregonian dated 17 April.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Sliwa said his attention is focused these days on a Pentagon decision, expected within 30 days, about expanding its use of unmanned robotic aircraft.”

Is the Navy preparing to make a decision?  I, for one, have no idea.  As they say over at Fox News: we report, you decide.

Read the full article from The Oregonian here.

PS:  There are also a couple of interesting nuggets about Insitu’s facilities for those of you who follow the company closely.

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