US spends $1.7bn on robots

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 30 Aug 2007

US spends $1.7bn on robots

The US military will spend about $1.7 billion on ground-based robots in the next five years, according to figures reported by a defence analyst quoted by UPI.

The figures, covering the 2006-12 period, come from the National Centre for Defence Robotics, a congressionally-funded consortium of 160 companies, and were reported by analyst David Isenberg in the Asia Times.

Isenberg writes that the US military has already deployed thousands of robot systems in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the 40-pound PackBot, a miniature tank equipped with a video camera.

Warfighting analysed

Boeing and the US Joint Forces Command have signed a three-year co-operative research and development agreement (CRADA). This will see the analysis of current, emerging and future joint warfighting concepts and capabilities in concert with USJFCOM's joint innovation and experimentation directorate.

Using constructive modelling, simulation and analysis, Boeing and USJFCOM will augment virtual and live experiments to examine the US Department of Defence's family of joint concepts and their enabling capabilities.

CRADAs are agreements between a federal government entity and industry to partner on specific research and development activities.

Warship completes sea trials

The world's most advanced warship, HMS Daring, has completed her stage one sea trials and received glowing reports after performing above expectations, says her builder, BAE Systems.

The first of the new Type 45 Daring Class destroyers has been put through her paces off the west coast of Scotland by BAE Systems engineers and the Royal Navy personnel who will form her permanent crew once she enters service in 2009.

Trials began on 18 July and focused on testing the 'ship' part of 'warship' - the platform itself; propulsion systems, controls, key weapons engineering systems, navigation, radars and gyros, as well as the habitability of the ship including the galley, cabins, sewage treatment plant, ventilation and lighting.

Saab leads project under water

Saab is leading an international project that has the objective of improving covert communication under water. A communications system is being tested in the sea off Bornholm (Sweden) and off Bergen (Norway).

Seven European countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland and Italy) and 12 companies and organisations in those countries are collaborating in a three-year project, called UCAC (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, Covert, Acoustic, Communication), concerning underwater communication.

The new communications system, which is under development, will consist of a coded modem that can communicate at as long a distance as possible without being eavesdropped. It is chiefly aimed at communication between submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles.