September 14, 2011 Beth Stevenson, SHEPARD GROUP
London - Lockheed Martin is moving its Desert Hawk SUAS further into the US marketplace as it prepares to take part in a US Army warfighter experiment.
The Desert Hawk, and its smaller counterpart the Night Hawk, are to take part in the three week Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) ran by the army's manoeuvrability warfighting lab in October, Bill Daly, business development manager of unmanned aircraft systems for Lockheed Martin told Shephard at the DSEi conference in London on 14 September.
As the company waits for the results of the Empire challenge, an experiment ran by the UK MoD earlier this year, it finished training last week in preparation for the AEWE.
The experiment involves US soldiers being trained to use some 80 systems in an effort to test the usability of them by previously untrained users, and each system will be tested by 6-9 infantrymen.
The exercise is to be held at Fort Benning, Georgia, and after receiving 'positive feedback' from the AEWE last year, the company is to now also take the Night Hawk, as well as advanced capabilities on the Desert Hawk, such as advancements on its geo-location.
In last year's experiment, the high winds forced many tested systems to be grounded but, according to Daly, the Desert Hawk's capability to fly in these conditions aided it in completing the testing.
The Desert Hawk is deployed with UK troops, and the company continues to support the MoD through ongoing research and development.
Although it is moving to extend into other markets, Daly clarified the company's intentions: 'We don't necessarily look to replace the workhorse of any armed force', but are instead looking to fill capability gaps.
Lockheed Martin is also looking into the development of a common GCS for all of its UAS, including the Samarai, a hovering system designed for urban missions, introduced a year ago.
Meanwhile, the company said it is 'possible' that it will enter a bid for the MALE UAV Anglo-French bid when an RFI is released by the governments.