To make this website work, we log user data. By using Shephard's online services, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.

Open menu Search

AUVSI: Unmanned market must not repeat satellite catastrophe

17th August 2011 - 17:24 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The unmanned systems industry must not repeat the lost export opportunities suffered two decades ago by satellite communications, according to Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman.

Addressing delegates at the Unmanned Systems North America symposium on 17 August, Bush warned that export restrictions in the US were currently 'hurting' the industry.

'We saw this play out in the satellite industry just a couple of decades ago. Essentially [it] made it impossible for US companies to sell communications satellites to our allies,' he urged.

'Somehow we thought we had a corner on that market but we were badly mistaken and this encouraged others to develop their own [unmanned systems], marketing them as ITAR free. This lost export opportunities and we are not safer as a result. We need to learn from this lesson,' Bush stressed.

Describing how US allies must also have the best equipment in the area of unmanned systems, Bush referred to his own company's cooperation in Germany for the Euro Hawk programme and described 'potential for similar collaboration' with NATO.

'There are positive signs that perhaps we will not repeat the mistake we made with satellites,' he stated.

In addition, Bush described how insurgency and military contingency operations in every corner of the world had replaced conventional threats: 'With those changes, situation awareness continues to displace boots on the ground as today's essential national security commodity.'

He also warned that problems including air-to-air refuelling and autonomous landing on 'pitching' aircraft carriers were the result of computing power and systems engineering. However, Bush was positive that they would be solved in the short term.

Finally, Bush described potential for non-military operations. 'No longer are these systems confined to military uses and today, they are already truly indispensable in the conduct of so many vital missions,' he continued while referring to counter-drug smuggling and environmental operations. 'Non-military opportunities are tremendous but are not fully exploited yet,' Bush concluded.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

As part of our promise to deliver comprehensive coverage to Premium News and Defence Insight …

Read full bio

Share to