MUSIC 2011 highlights manned-unmanned teaming
The US Army has continued to refine the teaming between helicopters and UAS platforms in its inaugural Manned Unmanned Systems Integration Capability (MUSIC) 2011 event.
The demonstration, recently held at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, featured participation by AH-64D Apache Block II and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, both equipped with ‘Level 2’ interoperability.
‘That essentially brought UAS video into the cockpit with an appliqué to display on one of the internal cockpit displays,’ explained Col Shane Openshaw, project manager for the Apache attack helicopter programme.
‘The next step is to take that prototype capability and integrate it with weapon systems and sensors and encrypt the video signal and that capability is being installed on aircraft today - and will deploy shortly.’
He added that the Apache Block III aircraft, slated to start army deliveries in October, will increase interoperability to ‘Level 4’, allowing both control of UAS sensor payloads and control the UAS waypoints to support the mission.
Lt Col Mathew ‘Kirk’ McCauley, US Army project director for armed scout fielded systems, added that ‘Level 2’ manned-unmanned teaming capability is currently being fielded to three squadrons of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, allowing receipt of video from UAS systems that are equipped to transmit in Ku, S, C or L-bands.
‘It does have encryption capability. We are also working concurrently on a product improvement plan to continue to move that system forward and add the capability for DDL [digital data link], so we can receive transmissions as the Raven and Puma go to the DDL capability; and also Gray Eagle, which is going to have DDL as well,’ McCauley said.
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