LOCKHEED MARTIN VUIT-2 ENTERS SERVICE
By Julian Nettlefold
Alan Chinoda of Lockheed Martin gave an update with regard to the successful fielding of the Lockheed Martin VUIT-2 streaming video networking system mounted on the Apache helicopter.
The Apache VUIT-2 is a kit-based system that enables Apache aircrews to view streaming video from the Shadow, Raven, Hunter, Predator, warrior A, Reaper and other UAVs.
“Apache VUIT-2 provides the Army Aviation with a manned-unmanned teaming capability that significantly improves battlefield Intelligence.” Alan Chinoda told BATTLESPACE
Currently, manned-unmanned teaming in Apaches relies on radio transmissions from the UAS operator to describe a target of interest. With the advent of VUIT-2, the Apache pilot can quickly visualize, assess the situation, and prepare for target engagements before he is even in weapons or Modernized-Target Acquisition Designator System range. UAS video is displayed in the cockpit on the Apache Longbow’s Multi-Purpose Display, and Apache Longbow sensor video can be transmitted to Soldiers on the ground.
This gives the Apache helicopter a huge advantage and the ability to work well within the enemy’s decision and reaction time. Before the enemy even hears the Longbow, the crew has utilized VUIT-2 to gain situational awareness and identify the target. The crew then obtains clearance for fires and manoeuvres to attack the target, all the while maintaining eyes on it using VUIT-2, and then launches a lethal barrage of weapons that will eliminate the target.
The system can be installed in the field, using a tri-band Omni-directional Mast Mounted Assembly (TOMMA) mast-mounted sensor, Right EFAB Chassis Video Receiver (RCVR) and a VUIT Mini-TCDL tactical data link for simultaneous display by soldiers equipped with a One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) or other ground terminal/stations. An Apache with only Ku-band downlink capability can send the aircraft sensor data (M-TADS/TADS) to the ground terminals/stations. The spiral capability to share video between aircraft and to share two-way video with ground terminals/stations will be added in the near future.
VUIT-2 will increase the survivability and lethality of the Apache Longbow aircraft by providing aircrews and ground commanders increased situational awareness, decreased sensor to shooter timelines and increased reaction time.
To ensure interoperability, the Apache PM has teamed with the UAS project manager and developed this capability using the One System Remote Video Terminal. With the OSRVT as the baseline interface, VUIT-2 is able to receive video from nearly all unmanned aircraft systems operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also provides joint interoperability by giving Apache Longbows the ability to receive Air Force and Navy video from platforms such as the F-15, F-16, F-18 using Sniper or Lightning Pods.
“In a typical operational scenario, an independently-acting UAS seeks targets of interest to reduce the risk and workload of Apache aircrews. The Apache co-pilot/gunner selects UAS video using the VUIT Interface Panel keypad in the cockpit. The Apache aircrew completes the mission using Hellfire missiles or other on-board weapon systems. By bringing streaming video and target location data from UAVs into the Apache cockpit, VUIT-2 enables aircrews to see potential targets sooner, engage time critical targets faster, and maintain visual contact until the target is destroyed. UAS video is displayed in the cockpit on the Apache Longbow’s Multi-Purpose Display, and Apache Longbow sensor video can be transmitted to Soldiers on the ground.” Chinooda said
VUIT-2 is being fielded on one battalion of Apache A AH-64D models, 24 aircraft, this year, and is approved for nine Longbow Apache battalions during fiscal years 2008 and ’09. From concept to fielding, VUIT-2 has been developed in less than a year. In addition to the Apache and UAS project offices, the Aviation Applied T