Navmar to develop persistent-surveillance UAV and sensor payload for potential use in Afghanistan

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JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, 31 July 2011. A defense technology company in Warminster, Pa., called Navmar Applied Sciences Corp. received $148.8 million in U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracts over the past week for advanced research in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and persistent-surveillance UAV sensor payloads for military use in Afghanistan and other areas. Awarding both contracts were officials of the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Navmar won a $74 million contract Wednesday to develop and operate a UAV called Helios with advanced sensors for persistent surveillance. Navmar previously has developed small UAVs called Mako II and TigerShark for military reconnaissance and surveillance applications.

Later on Friday, Navmar won a $74.9 million contract to develop and operate the Persistent Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Systems, according to DOD contract announcements. Both of last week's contracts to Navmar were phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects as part of Navy research topics 92-170 and N94-178 as well as Air Force research project AF083-006.

Navy research project 92-170 refers to a laser detection and ranging (LADAR) identification demonstration, while Navy research project N94-178 refers to an air deployable expendable multi-parameter environmental probe. Air Force research project AF083-006 refers to low-cost intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) UAV. On both contracts, Navmar will do the work in Afghanistan; Yuma, Ariz.; Patuxent River, Md.; Warminster, Pa.; and Johnstown, Pa.; and should be finished by July 2013.

Although it is not entirely clear from the contract announcements, it would appear that Navmar is developing a new persistent-surveillance and reconnaissance UAV with a LADAR payload.

LADAR sensors are notable for their ability essentially to see through camouflage, trees, and urban clutter by producing many different 2-D images from many different angles and collating these 2-D images into one 3-D picture. LADAR produces images of objects through holes and gaps in camouflage, trees, and urban clutter and then can put those images together in a composite picture to reveal what would be hidden in just one 2-D image.

For more information contact Navmar online at www.nasc.com, or the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad.

Related stories

-- Persistent surveillance on a non-satellite budget is goal of U.S. military airship development;

-- Persistent surveillance with UAV-mounted infrared sensors is goal of DARPA ARGUS-IR program; and

-- Navy eyes LADAR technology to detect and identify hostile aircraft for fleet defense.

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