Northrop Launches CUTLASS, Next Generation Unmanned Ground Vehicle

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Northrop Grumman Corporation has launched CUTLASS, its latest generation unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), expanding its range of industry-leading capabilities in unmanned systems for the remote handling and surveillance of hazardous threats.

CUTLASS has been designed, developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman in the U.K., and includes significant advances in technology and performance and a range of features that provides state-of-the-art capabilities for national security and resilience applications.

“Our CUTLASS vehicle is setting new standards in the UGV market and significantly enhancing the ability of users to handle hazardous threats safely. It is more dexterous, cost effective and, as a package, four times faster than any other UGV,” said Greg Roberts, managing director, defence and security, Northrop Grumman Information Systems Europe. “The vehicle is already in service across the U.K. and has proven itself to be robust and capable in the most demanding environments. We look forward to exploiting the potential opportunities for exporting this capability into international markets.”

CUTLASS will be on display in Northrop Grumman’s exhibit at the Counter Terror Expo, where it will also show its range of capabilities in daily live scenario-based demonstrations. The international exhibition and conference Counter Terror Expo takes place at the National Hall, Olympia, London, April 24-25.

CUTLASS offers the latest technology in a modular design, enabling the user to deal safely with the full range of hazardous threats from a distance, including the detection and disposal of explosive ordnance. Its highly versatile design means that it is capable of accommodating a wide range of payloads, sensors and tools. It carries all of the tools and sensors it needs to perform the full range of operations required for explosive ordnance disposal and other applications, avoiding the need to deploy two standard UGVs. CUTLASS saves up to 50 percent on the through-life costs when compared to owning and operating two standard UGVs.

The manipulator arm is equipped with a three-fingered, state-of-the-art gripper and has nine degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces. With a specialised sensing system it provides a high level of control and dexterity to minimize damage to property and preserve forensic evidence.

Using CUTLASS, a hazardous situation can be restored to normal up to four times more quickly than with any other UGV. The combination of the speed of the wheeled platform, which can reach speeds of up to 12 kph, and the ability of CUTLASS to carry multiple tools and sensors negates the need to return to the incident control point, thus saving considerable time. The robot is able to creep along at deliberately slow speeds for delicate operations and may accelerate to high speeds to enable rapid travel. The six-wheeled design offers mobility on all types of hard and soft terrain and in all weather conditions.

Northrop Grumman’s unmanned ground vehicle business has been established in Coventry, U.K., for more than 20 years. Today, the company designs, develops and manufactures in the U.K. some of the most capable and reliable unmanned ground vehicles available, from the Wheelbarrow bomb disposal robot to the latest vehicle, CUTLASS.

Northrop Grumman has more than 2,000 unmanned ground vehicle systems in operation around the world.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cybersecurity, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Pentagon chief heads to Israel after US arms deal unveiled

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US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel headed to Israel on Sunday in a weeklong trip to the Middle East that will be dominated by worries over Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s raging civil war.

In his first trip to the region since taking over as Pentagon chief nearly two months ago, Hagel planned to discuss with his counterparts the final details of an elaborate $10 billion arms deal that will provide US military aircraft and missiles to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In a two-day visit to Israel, Hagel will seek to counter criticism from some US lawmakers and pro-Israel groups that he is too soft on Iran and too hostile to the Jewish state — a charge he has vehemently rejected.

Hagel will likely tout the arms deal as a demonstration of Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security and as a way of countering Iran’s military power and nuclear ambitions.

The United States and Israel have disagreed over the urgency of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, with Washington maintaining there is still time to see if tough sanctions and diplomacy persuade Tehran to change course.

Hagel is due to tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and meet Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, officials said.

His trip to Israel comes a month after President Barack Obama visited Jerusalem and reaffirmed US backing of Israel while promoting fresh attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

After Israel, Hagel will travel on to Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Under the unusual US arms package announced Friday, which was negotiated simultaneously with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the United States plans to sell advanced missiles to the Saudis and more than two dozen F-16 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.

With the Gulf states anxious over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, the Pentagon has agreed to billions of dollars of arms sales designed to bolster the Arab nations’ air power and missile defenses.

Hagel’s visit coincides with growing suspicions that Syria may have used chemical weapons in its fight against opposition forces. Both Britain and France have submitted evidence to the United Nations alleging the regime fired chemical agents.

US intelligence agencies are taking the reports seriously but have to verify if the Syrian government employed some its deadly chemical arsenal, officials say.

The US administration, reluctant to provide arms to the Syrian rebels, has made clear its skeptical view of military intervention. Obama however has warned the Damascus regime that resorting to chemical weapons would constitute a “red line.”

Hagel announced last week that he had ordered more US troops to Jordan to help prepare for a range of scenarios in Syria, including securing chemical weapons or handling a spillover of violence from the conflict.

The deployment of a US Army headquarters element brought the American military’s presence in Jordan to more than 200.

Ladakh: China troops intrude into Indian territory

In a deep incursion,Chinese troops have entered the Indian territory in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post, setting the stage for a face-off with Indian troops.

A Platoon-strength contingent of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside the Indian territory in Burthe in DBO sector, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of April 15 and established a tented post there, according to highly placed sources, which said that a Chinese Army Platoon usually consists of around 50 men.

Troops from Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have also established a camp approximately 300 metres opposite the location, the sources said.

ITBP has asked for a Flag meeting with the Chinese side but there has been no response as of now, sources said.

When contacted, the spokesman of Udhampur-based Northern Command Col Rajesh Kalia said,” due to differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control(LAC) a few face-offs take place in the eastern Ladakh side. These are resolved amicably through existing mechanism.” He refused to elaborate.

The Ladakh Scouts, an Infantry regiment of the Indian Army and specializing in mountain warfare, has also moved towards the area where the situation was described as tense.

The place has not been known to have any permanent civilian population.

DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is an historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China.

It lies at the easternmost point of the Karakoram Range in a cold desert region in the far north of India, just 8 km south of the Chinese border and 9 km northwest of the Aksai Chin LAC between China and India. Temperature plummets as low as minus 30 degree Celsius in the winters.

Other than Siachen Glacier military base, it is India’s northernmost built-up area. The nearest inhabited town is Murgo to the south, which has a small population of Baltis who primarily depend on apricot farming and yak rearing.

Video: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/Exclusive-Proof-of-Chinese-intrusion-in-Indian-territory/videoshow/10067448.cms

Syria: Rebels capture military airport of Daba in the city of Homs

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Syrian opposition captured a military airport in the city of Homs, Al Jazeera TV channel reported on Thursday.

According to the TV channel, after fighting between the Syrian army and the opposition military airport Daba is completely under the control of the opposition.

It is reported that at least 150 people were killed during the fighting.

Syria: Heavy clashes between soldiers and rebels around the town of Qusair near Lebanon border

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Syrian troops backed by pro-government gunmen fought fierce battles with rebels on Saturday in a strategic area in Homs province near the Lebanese border, activists and state media in Damascus reported.

The latest fighting came as U.S. officials said the Obama administration was poised to send millions more in non-lethal military aid to rebels trying to oust President Bashar Assad.

The clashes around the contested town of Qusair, close to the Syria-Lebanon boundary, had intensified over the past two weeks amid a fresh offensive by the Syrian army and a pro-government militia known as Popular Committees, backed by the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group.

F-35A operating costs to exceed F-16, official says

Operating costs for the conventional take-off and landing version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are expected to be roughly 10% greater than those of the Lockheed F-16.

According to the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan, who leads the tri-service effort, provided some preliminary numbers to the Dutch parliament comparing costs per flying hour between the two aircraft on 18 April.

“In his statement, Bogdan indicated that the cost per flying hour of an F-35A is estimated to be $24,000 per hour; roughly 10% higher than F-16 cost per flying hour,” the JPO says. “This data was derived in co-operation with the US Air Force and the Department of Defense Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation Office. Comparable baseline assumptions were used to evaluate relative operational costs between F-35 and legacy aircraft.”

 

 

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The final cost figures are due to be released in the Pentagon’s 2012 selected acquisitions report for the F-35, which is set to be published during May.

Earlier this year, USAF chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told reporters that the JPO was attempting to reconcile two different sets of cost estimates: one from the USAF and another from Lockheed. The cost numbers diverged because of differing underlying assumptions from which each side based its estimates.

USA to approve V-22 sale to Israel

The USA is about to approve the sale of Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor transport aircraft and Boeing KC-135 tankers to Israel, according to industry sources, who indicate that the proposed deals are part of a larger package of agreements which also concern the planned sale of advanced weapon systems to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The wide-ranging deals are designed “not just to boost Israel’s capabilities, but also to boost the capabilities of our Persian Gulf partners so they, too, would be able to address the Iranian threat,” says one US source. New equipment will “also provide a greater network of coordinated assets around the region to handle a range of contingencies,” the official adds.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will visit Israel and Middle East region next week, when sources suggest the deals are due to be finalised.

 

 

Israeli air force magazine

The Israeli air force has evaluated the V-22 through numerous test flights performed in the USA, with the service having recommended purchasing an undisclosed number of the type for use during special operations.

Also expected to be contained within a deal are KC-135 tankers, which sources expect to replace the converted Boeing 707s currently used by the Israeli air force for inflight refuelling.