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Honeywell and Thales Sign Teaming Agreement for Unmanned Micro Air Vehicle Marketing


FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW.- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and Thales announced today that they are teaming together to market the Honeywell unmanned Micro Air Vehicle to military organizations in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The agreement covers payload and system integration that will be tailored for military customers.

The unmanned Micro Air Vehicle enhances soldier safety on the battlefield and in urban combat settings by providing highly accurate situation awareness, threat detection, alerts and over-the-horizon images in hostile environments. The small size and weight of the Micro Air Vehicle allows rapid deployment and recovery for mobile military soldiers.

Thales will offer the Micro Air Vehicle as a stand-alone unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or as part of larger military programs, such as the Future Rapid Effect System, Future Infantry Soldier Technology and SCORPION, France’s military program encompassing tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and battlefield management systems.

“Honeywell’s Micro Air Vehicle has demonstrated versatility in the field and the value of the real-time surveillance data it provides,’ said Mike Cuff, Vice President, Helicopters & Surface Systems. “Now we are teaming with Thales to bring this combat-proven experience to the end-users, to help meet their requirements and customization needs. This includes military organizations in France, German and the U.K. that require a valuable surveillance asset.”

“We are very happy to team with Honeywell on such a project,” said Millar Crawford, Vice President Land Systems, Thales Land & Joint. “Protection of forces – soldiers, vehicles, military camps – is a key concern for most armies. Thales is very involved in this domain and proposes various solutions depending on the situation. The use of such a micro UAV will bring interesting new capabilities. Our approach is to provide solutions that help our customers maximize their operational capabilities and increase survivability on the field.”

The Micro Air Vehicle is small enough to carry in a backpack and is equipped with video cameras that relay information back to foot soldiers using a portable handheld terminal. The circular vehicle, just 16 (7.25 kilogrammes) pounds and 13 inches (33.02 centimeters) in diameter, operates like a small remote-controlled helicopter and can easily fly down to inspect hazardous areas for threats without exposing soldiers to enemy fire.

“The Micro Air Vehicle provides the unique ability to take off and land vertically in all weather, including desert and urban terrains without runways or helipads,” Cuff said.

The air vehicle offers 50 minutes of flight endurance and more than 40 knots of airspeed, and operates at altitudes of more than 10,000 feet. Precise controls allow it to operate in all weather conditions at high altitudes or just inches from the ground, providing hover and stare capabilities to identify improvised explosive device (IED) detection and other critical missions in war zones.

The Micro Air Vehicle requires minimal operator training and the military configuration includes two airborne vehicles, a ground data terminal and operator control unit to guide the aircraft and receive images from the cameras. The operator control unit can be used to program a flight path or control the air vehicle manually. The Micro Air Vehicle features a gimballed payload with electro-optical cameras for daylight operations or infrared cameras for night missions.

Honeywell’s Micro Air Vehicle has been field-tested in Iraq and has flown more than 3,500 test flights over the past three years. In 2007 it was demonstrated during flight tests in France and the United Kingdom.

The Micro Air Vehicle is available to military, civilian law enforcement and security organizations. The Miami-Dade County, Fla., police department is currently reviewing its use for surveillance in urban environments.

Honeywell has two contracts from the U.S. Navy totaling $7.5 million for the manufacture of more than a dozen Micro Air Vehicle systems. In 2003, the Defense Advanced Release Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Honeywell a $40 million technology demonstration contract to develop the system. A subsequent $61 million contract was awarded last summer as part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems program.


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