DENVER, 25 Aug. 2010. British Army leaders needed hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for persistent surveillance in the global war on terror. They found their solution from the Lockheed Martin Corp. MS2 Tactical Systems segment in Eagan, Minn. The announcement was made this week at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America trade show in Denver.
The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) in London awarded Lockheed Martin a $5.1 million contract for Desert Hawk III hand-launched UAV and control units. Desert Hawk III is designed for portability, quick mission planning, hand launched and skid recovery, multi-mission versatility, enhanced day/night target detection, recognition, identification, wide operational range, endurance, and covert operations.
The UAV has a gyro-stabilized 360-degree sensor turret, color and low light electro-optical plug-and-play payloads, and roll-stabilized infrared sensor payloads. Its portable ground station provides operator training, autonomous pre-flight planning, in-flight control of plug-and-play optical and infrared sensors, terrain avoidance measures, and real time dynamic in-flight mission and flight profile retasking.
Awarded by the MOD Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organization, the latest contract calls for Lockheed Martin to deliver the Desert Hawk III UAVs by this fall. "Desert Hawk's latest enhancements allow it to operate more effectively in difficult conditions and provide our soldiers with greater situational awareness in a very timely manner," says Duncan Robbins, program manager for mini-UAV systems at the MOD DE&S.
"The battle-proven Desert Hawk III can operate in high winds, extended altitude and extreme temperatures, making it very effective in areas such as Afghanistan," says Mark Swymeler, a vice president for Lockheed Martin's Ship and Aviation Systems line of business. "Unlike some other UAVs, it is extremely quiet and virtually undetectable beyond 150 meters."
Equipped with steerable, plug-and-play imaging payloads, the Desert Hawk has provided the British Army with situational awareness capabilities in Afghanistan since 2006. For more information contact Lockheed Martin online at www.lockheedmartin.com.