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  • Boeing's Unmanned Little Bird Heads to Sea in 2012
    Posted by Robert Wall 5:05 PM on Oct 27, 2011

    The Unmanned Little Bird will undertake at-sea landing trials next year as part of a French development activity.

    DCNS and Thales say they have secured a follow-on contract from the French armaments agency (DGA) to continue working on the automatic deck landing system they are validating using the Boeing UAV.

    The at-sea trials will use a French frigate. They will be conducted in low-visibility — something that shouldn't be too much of an issue for an unmanned  system — and in high sea states.

    blog post photo
    (Photo: Thales/DCNS)

    The work follows trials in the U.S. during the summer.

    DCNS is modifying its helicopter landing technology for the unmanned system. It also is working on the deck-motion prediction system and the harpoon that will secure the aircraft. Thales' work includes the positioning system.

    France is still assessing how to meet its future tactical unmanned aircraft needs. At one point it explored whether the navy's SDAM program and the army's SDT could be combined into one system.

    Tags: ar99, unmanned, DCNS, Thales

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