UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
08 Sep 29. Engineers at BAE Systems have developed and demonstrated a new mission control system that enables commanders to integrate next generation autonomous systems into manned operations on the frontline. The ability of unmanned autonomous systems to undertake dangerous reconnaissance duties without exposing soldiers to harm has long been recognised to have enormous potential for battlefield commanders. However, the challenge to date has been how to ensure that tasks performed by unmanned platforms don’t interfere with manned operations. Evolving out of its unmanned air capabilities, a new suite of technologies from BAE Systems, will enable commanders to plan and re-plan missions for both air and ground based unmanned systems in real time as the situation develops. It gives the commander the ability to allocate and hand-over control of payloads or platforms to fellow commanders, while maintaining mission and situational awareness at all times. This ensures that autonomous assets are put to best possible use across every phase of an operation and uses both human and autonomous resources to maximum effect. Andy Wright, Programme Director at BAE Systems, said: “To develop an effective solution, we had to look beyond the relationship between an individual soldier and an unmanned system and consider the challenge from a systems approach looking at how the overall operation fits together. We’ve brought together engineers from across our global business to combine mature and developing technologies in order to create this truly integrated system that will bring significant benefits to frontline operations.”As various threats are identified during a mission, control of the various unmanned assets is passed between the battlefield commander, the convoy commander and the manned reconnaissance vehicles. Real time imagery showing threats is streamed back to the battlefield and convoy commanders, allowing them to alter the route of the convoy and redeploy the unmanned vehicles to make sure it is safe. The new mission control system has been developed by BAE Systems’ engineers from the UK, US and Australia and has been successfully demonstrated in both synthetic and real-world trials. During the trials, it was used to command a convoy, using a mixture of assets, including unmanned aircraft systems, manned reconnaissance vehicles and an unmanned ground vehicle, to survey and plan its route. The ease of mission handover and the ability for dynamic replanning as new threats or mission goals emerge in a fast moving mission situation ensure the unmanned platforms are fully integrated into the overall battlespace, removing concerns about mission deconfliction.
09 Sep 09. SELEX Galileo’s Falco Unmanned Aerial Vehicle confirms its multiple payload operational capability by flying the PicoSAR AESA radar combined with an EO system. SELEX Galileo successfully completed an intensive flight campaign for its Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) Falco to expand its ISR capabilities through the integration of multiple sensors and additional functionality. The flight campaign included flights at SELEX Galileo’s dedicated UAS facility at Parc Aberporth in Wales and at the UAV Arctic Flight Test Centre in Finnish Lapland, owned by Robonic, the Finnish catapult producer. SELEX Galileo also validated the latest version of its High Mobility Ground Control Station (HM-GCS) which further enhances the system’s ISR credentials. The HM-GCS is self-contained and offers a full training simulation environment and mission rehearsal capability. Exploiting a new and more powerful datalink, the system performed “hand–over” missions which combined a number of Ground Control Stations (GCS). This in-flight hand–over, increases the overall operational capability of the system by overcoming the inherent Line of Sight (LOS) data link limits of a single ground station. During the campaign, SELEX Galileo integrated and tested different payloads: