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Jane's: ECA Group examines unmanned teaming, RC mine clearance

ECA Group demonstrated of its teaming concepts of operation composed of Unmanned Aerial & Land Vehicles for stand-off mine clearance.

Published on Jane's, May 2017

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Written by Huw Williams

ECA Group is working on teaming concepts of operation (CONOPS) for its UAV IT180 as well as its IGUANA E unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). Meanwhile the group is also developing a remote-control (RC) system to enable stand-off mine clearance.

This teaming concept aims to provide a better situational awareness and overwatch for engineering teams conducting explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive device (IED) tasks. The feed from the UAV's electro-optical/infrared payload displayed to the operators of the UGV will provide them with visibility of the movement of the ground platform when it is out from the operator's view.

ECA Group declared the development of the Iguana E is complete, currently undergoing final qualification work before trials and demonstrations with potential customers take place.

Iguana E has been designed specifically for operations in confined spaces. The vehicle also has enhanced mobility, with four independently articulated tracks that enable it to traverse larger steps and inclines. It comes with a full set of payloads and can optionally be configured with wheels to support higher-speed movement.

An improved operator unit was developed for IGUANA E, which includes a touchscreen interface with multiple controller options, including joysticks and a gamepad-style device. The control elements is compatible with existing ECA Group's UGVs.

While the UGV and UAV are currently operated via separate control units, the company has begun to develop a single unit that will be able to control both in order to simplify the operation of the different platforms.

For the Systeme De Pollution Zone (SDZ) solution, ECA Group is working with UK-based Armtrac as the platform supplier and is leveraging its RC technology to provide the ability to operate a mine clearance vehicle at distances of up to 300 m.

The SDZ has been under development for about 18 months and should be complete in the second quarter of 2018 at the latest.

ECA Group Iguana E UGV & IT180 UAV in Collaborative Demonstration for Counter-IED Missions 

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