Friday, July 16, 2010

India Expresses Interest In Fire Scout Sale

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
Main lead-front page
July 16, 2010

NEW DELHI — India is planning to issue a letter of request to the U.S. government for a U.S. foreign military sale (FMS) of Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical takeoff unmanned aerial system (VTUAS).

The Indian government is expected to send a request via the U.S. Embassy for FMS clearance, as “the technology is not for release,” an Indian navy official says.

Northrop has made presentations on the system over the past few years to the Indian navy and army.

With homegrown insurgency a big concern in India, interest has emerged for the Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System (Astamids), which has been demonstrated on Fire Scout.

“The insurgents lay mines to be remotely triggered four inches below the roads in the Eastern states of India,”an army official says. “The algorithms to locate IEDs [improvised explosive devices] through processing Astamids imagery will prove a boon to the paramilitary forces having to cope with this problem.”

The sensor’s primary function is to detect minefields in support of mobile ground forces in day and night conditions. It uses quad-prism aperture-splitting technology with the aid of an integrated illuminator and target laser rangefinder and designator.

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