August 30, 2010 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

AUVSI Conference

More than 5,000 attendees and 400 exhibitors were at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center for the annual convention of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) last week.

4GWAR was there, too.


(U.S. Army photo)

The four-day gathering saw speeches, briefings, product demonstrations and panel discussions about robotically-operated aircraft, ground vehicles and surface and underwater vessels.

There were numerous products that touched on counter insurgency and homeland security including high altitude airships, micro unmanned aircraft and equipment-carrying ground vehicles.

Your 4GWAR editor was blogging on the ARES on Defense Blog at Aviation Week’s new unmanned systems Website. There you can see pieces we did on miniature unmanned aerial attack vehicles (UAVs), the new robot under development by the Defense Acquisitions Research Agency (also known as DARPA) and the challenges of trying to fly a UAV near the South Pole. You can also see what the chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead had to say about unmanned air and maritime vehicles.

After their visit to Denver, defense and homeland security company analysts at Morgan Keegan, a Memphis financial firm, say they expect the unmanned systems segment will be one of the fastest growing in the defense industry – especially ground vehicles. With defense spending expected to contract, unmanned airplanes and submarines will also be a lot cheaper – and more attractive to budget planners – than ones carrying people.

In addition to the drones firing hellfire missiles at al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the bomb disposal robots seen in the Oscar-winning film about Iraq The Hurt Locker, unmanned vehicles assist in detecting and removing underwater mines, providing intelligence and surveillance for ground troops and checking out buildings and vehicles that might be hiding explosive booby traps.

Full disclosure: We sometimes write for the AUVSI magazine: Unmanned Systems.

The Other Air War in Pakistan

Heeding an earlier appeal from the United Nations to send more helicopters to rescue and resupply Pakistani communities isolated by floodwaters, the U.S. Is dispatching more helicopters to Pakistan. However, the 18 additional helos are not expected to begin flood relief until mid-September.

The incoming aircraft include 10 CH-47 Chinook and eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The unit will operate alongside the Pakistani military throughout flood-affected areas, the Pentagon says.

There are already some 15 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps helicopters and three Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft supporting flood-relief efforts in Pakistan. They have transported more than 2 million pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies and rescued more than 7,000 people. To date, the helicopters and cargo planes have delivered 2.7 million lbs. of relief supplies.

(U.S. Navy photo by Capt. Paul Duncan)

We’ve noticed that in many of the Defense Department photos of the evacuations from flooded areas, the helicopters seem to be filled with men and boys only

4GWAR contacted U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Jim Hoeft, a spokesman in the Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan, just to make sure women and small children were being given equal access to evacuation flights. He says the Pakistani Army is making the decisions on who goes on which helicopter and that the separation of the sexes is a cultural thing. He also says U.S. personnel have seen family units traveling together and not separated by gender.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says its 12th relief flight landed on August 30 in Islamabad, delivering 37,625 blankets, 81,550 ten-liter water containers, and 500 saw blades to replace used blades from the 96 saw kits previously delivered. On August 30, USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) committed nearly $2 million to a non-governmental organization (NGO) to support logistics and relief commodities, health, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene activities for flood- affected people in Sindh Province.

(U.S. Army photo)

The organization plans to conduct activities in Thatta District where international media sources report that thousands of displaced people are returning as floods recede. The $2 million is part of the $70 million already planned for USAID/OFDA-supported flood response activities.

Speaking of Big Numbers

This Blog was started – almost on the spur of the moment – in November 2009. Since March 2010, it has consistently gotten over 4,000 hits or visits a month. And this month – with one day to go in August – we hit over 6,440 hits. Just thought you might like to know that. Also wanted to toot our horn a little bit and thank you all for checking in with us.

(Defense Dept. photo)


Entry filed under: Aircraft, International Relief, National Security and Defense, Pakistan, Special Operations, Unmanned Aircraft, Unmanned Systems, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (August 27, 2010) PAKISTAN: The (Air) Cavalry is Coming (UPDATE 9/2/10)

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