Raytheon has joined Lockheed Martin's Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR) team, and will play a "significant role" in sensor development. The company had been part of the losing UCAR team led by Sikorsky, which subsequently joined the rival Northrop Grumman-led team for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency programme.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman last July received Phase 2 preliminary-design contracts to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of an unmanned rotorcraft capable of autonomous collaboration with manned and unmanned air and ground vehicles.

"Advanced sensor technology is critical to a system of vehicles that will be required to respond to battlefield conditions and operate autonomously," says Jeff Bantle, vice-president, multi-mission solutions for Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego. One team will be selected later this year to build two UCAR demonstrators, with a first flight set for late 2006. Lockheed Martin is teamed with Bell on a compound-helicopter design, and Northrop Grumman with Kaman and Sikorsky on an intermeshing-rotor design.

Separately, Lockheed Martin has won a $7.8 million USArmy contract to develop the survivability planner associate rerouter (SPAR)- decision-aiding software to predict the lethality of threats and provide manned and unmanned aircraft with real-time response plans. The system is planned for UCAR and as part of the army's Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow Block 3 upgrade.

According to Lockheed Martin programme manager Chris Bodenhorn, SPAR is a follow-on to the Rotorcraft Pilot's Associate cockpit/mission-management system flight tested in the AH-64D, and the Airborne Manned-Unmanned System Technology demonstration in which an AH-64D controlled a Northrop Grumman/Israel Aircraft Industries RQ-5 Hunter unmanned air vehicle.


Source: Flight International