Britain has a surprising number of firms that cater to the defense industry, organizing conferences and publishing books that are essentially porn for aircraft fetishists.Jane's is the most famous, of course -- but don't forget the Shephard Group, which is hosted its Unmanned Vehicle conference this past few days.The big news out of Shephard's UV/North America is that that Missle Defense Agency Director Henry "Trey" Obering (right) is considering UAVs for a variety of missile defense missions.Shephard's summary of Obering's remarks focused on Obering's continued support for the High Altitude Airship despite "technical problems" that Obering claimed were slowing the project. Of course, the Shephard's intern also rendered Obering as Oberlin, which is a nice college in Ohio. So, grain of salt and whatnot.Aerospace Daily picked it up something different and more interesting. Apparently, Obering also "said the agency is looking at equipping Global Hawk with a sensor package similar to the one being used on MDA's High Altitude Observatory (HALO)-II, a modified Gulfstream IIB business jet that collects data on anti-missile tests."Alas, MDA does not regularly publish General Obering's remarks (nothing since June!) and I suspect Shephard's won't be making a transcript available for free -- registration was $1,240 for U.S. participants.So, we'll just keep an eye out for future developments.--Jeffrey Lewis
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