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Author Topic: BAMS Proceeds, Navy UAS Arrives in Centcom  (Read 4747 times)

Offline tigershark

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BAMS Proceeds, Navy UAS Arrives in Centcom
« on: February 07, 2009, 05:23:17 PM »
BAMS Proceeds, Navy UAS Arrives in Centcom
Feb 4, 2009

By Amy Butler

The U.S. Navy has altered - only slightly - its schedule for developing and testing the new Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aerial system (UAS) after an industry protest put the effort on hold temporarily last year.

The first aircraft will begin testing in fiscal 2012, says Capt. Bob Dishman, the Navy’s program manager for maritime UAS. Earlier plans called for flight testing as early as 2011. Low-rate production is now expected to begin in FY ‘13, and initial operational capability is slated to take place by early FY ‘16, he says, a slight slip from earlier hopes in 2015.

Northrop Grumman won the $1.6 billion development contract in April after proposing a Global Hawk-based system carrying a 360-degree mechanically steered active electronically scanned array radar. The company beat an offering from a Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, which pitched a maritime-oriented version of the Predator UAS.

Lockheed’s team protested the decision, but a government audit supported the Navy’s choice and the Navy restarted work on the development in August 2008.

Dishman, speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual program review conference in Washington on Feb. 3, says he now expects the full fleet of BAMS systems to be fielded by FY ‘19. The Navy is buying 68 of the unmanned aircraft. Rear Adm. William Shannon, Navy program executive officer for Navy unmanned systems, says a system requirements review for BAMS that was conducted last week went well, clearing the way for development.

Meantime, the first Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration (GHMD) UAS deployed to the U.S. Central Command has arrived in its Middle East-Central Asian theater of operations. The system is expected to conduct its first flight shortly, Shannon says.

The aircraft, a precursor to the full BAMS design, will support maritime surveillance requirements there. Navy officials demurred on deployment details, but it is likely the UAS would be collocated with Air Force Global Hawks that operate out of Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.



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