Laptop-Based Controller Dramatically Reduces Fight Logistics
SAN DIEGO – 10 March 2021 – On Jan. 28, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) and the U.S. Army conducted the first production Acceptance Test Procedure (ATP) flights of a Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System using Scalable Command & Control (SC2) software developed by GA-ASI and installed on an Army-owned laptop computer. SC2 controlled an Army GE-ER aircraft for 3.8 hours and the system successfully completed all test points.
“SC2 represents a massive reduction in emplacement, mission launch time and overall footprint size,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Strategic Development J.R. Reid. “The SC2 software could be part of the Army’s Ground Modernization plan replacing the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) with rugged laptops and tactical servers enabling more mobile operations in a defined Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) framework.”
SC2 is a collection of standalone software applications that reduce operator workload through automated checklists and optimize steps for pre-flight, taxi, launch and recovery, health and status monitoring, sensor and payload control and maintenance of the GE-ER. SC2 reduces the logistics burden of set-up, transportation and operation of a GE-ER, and enables control of the UAS and its payloads, while allowing aircraft, payloads and sensors to be controlled by disparate users replicating a ground maneuver force or other disadvantaged user. The system gives the Army everything it needs in a quicker and simpler way.
The Army believes SC2’s automation will allow enlisted operators to focus on the more difficult and operationally relevant mission tasks, leaving the more mundane tasks to the SC2 software with minimal man-in-the-loop tasks to meet the Army concept of “supervised autonomy,” while meeting MOSA requirements.
General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than six million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more information, visit www.ga-asi.com.
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