Boeing has demonstrated the simultaneous command and control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) by a single operator. This was achieved using autonomous control software, three ScanEagle aircraft and an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) console.
According to Boeing, this next-generation capability will enhance interoperability with current and future command and control systems through an open, standards-based system and significantly reduce the workload of unmanned vehicle operators.
‘Lessening the workload allows a single operator to manage a group of UAVs as a cooperative, coordinated system,’ said Ed Froese, vice president, Boeing Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare and Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems. ‘
During the exercises at Boeing's
While the mission operator used the DI-CD software to control the surveillance activities of three ScanEagles, an "observer" in the field sent the location of a time-critical target via a cell phone to an AWACS Block 40/45 operator console. The AWACS operator successfully requested video of the target through the primary AWACS display.
The DI-CD software automatically generated updated ScanEagle task and mission plans, which were shown to the mission operator using the OMM software and sent to the UAVs using standard protocols. The UAVs beamed video back to the mission operator and the AWACS operator, who coordinated a simulated F/A-18 strike on the target. The same target video was relayed to the observer's cell phone.
In another test, a UAV operator used the Stalker software to order one of the ScanEagles to automatically follow and monitor a simulated terrorist truck. The software continually monitored the truck's movements even as it made several abrupt turns, stops and starts trying to evade detection. The system automatically adjusted the ScanEagle's flight path to stay undetected and in an optimal position to image the vehicle.