The Watchkeeper UAV will provide the UK Armed Forces with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on the Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 UAV, and will be a key component of the UK’s Network Enabled Capability. This Program will deliver equipment, training and facilities, and is intended to enter service starting in 2010.
Details have now emerged regarding the sharing arrangements between Thales UK and the rest of the Watchkeeper consortium, and Elbit Systems who designed the base UAVs.
BBN’s Boomerang is a vehicle-mounted anti-sniper system that uses sound localization to quickly target enemy snipers and direct return fire. It was deployed in Iraq last year, and over 100 have been built. Now a small Alabama firm called Radiance Technologies introduces WeaponWatch, which uses infrared detection to instantly tell you both the location of the shooter and the weapon used. At the same time, Israeli firm Elbit Systems is introducing something called the Sharpshooter Control System, and RAFAEL has introduced the Boomerang-like SADS.
Put these innovations together, and life may be about to get a lot harder for enemy snipers. Sniping has always been the most personal kind of war – but new technologies are starting to extend the “information position” capabilities of Western snipers and squads in ways that tip the balance sharply against their opposition – and make 21st century sniping much more of a team endeavor.
The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH has issued Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, CA received a $22 million time and material contract modification to the C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership. A separate $16.4 million contract adds combat lighting to 28 aircraft.
What is the C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership, you ask?
General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, MI received a $13.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for spare parts for the continuous electronics evolution program for the M1A2 Abrams tank. The M1A2 Systems Enhancement Package (SEP) platform is the latest, most technologically advanced Abrams tank. It has the latest command and control system, second-generation thermal FLIR sights that enhances detection ranges, a Thermal Management System (TMS) to reduce infrared signature, and an improved armor package that includes third generation steel-encased depleted uranium armor.
Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, WI received a $7.1 firm-fixed price contract to provide for turbo converted AC-47T Fantasma (aka. “Spooky,” or “Puff the Magic Dragon”) gunship aircraft for Colombia’s Air Force. While aircraft numbers were not given, an $11 million 2003 contract to ARINC Engineering Services converted six C-47 Dakotas to AC-47T status, and installed night vision and optical sensors on the Dakotas and six A-37 Dragonfly counterinsurgency aircraft.
This work will be complete in July 2006. Total funds have been obligated. Negotiations were complete in October 2005. Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8223-05-C-0004).