Northrop Grumman HART system nears deployment
Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully demonstrated that its Heterogeneous Airborne Reconnaissance Team (HART) system increases warfighter situational awareness during a recent Spiral 7 DARPA field exercise conducted March 7-18, 2011, at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah.
The HART system autonomously manages a mix of manned and unmanned aircraft and sensors and distributes streaming video, surveillance and reconnaissance information on-demand to soldiers in the field. The demonstration marks a major step in the transition of this unique technology to field deployment as a quick reaction capability to enhance warfighter awareness.
"The successful demonstration is the culmination of over six years of DARPA development," said Scott Winship, vice president of advanced concepts-air and land systems at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "The goal of this program has been to develop technology that gives a warfighter in the field the ability to request what is needed, when it is needed most. Our recent successes put this advanced technology closer to theater deployment to directly serve the warfighter."
The HART system enables warfighters to use handheld computers to request full-motion geo-registered video of areas of interest such as suspected enemy positions or hostile territory. HART can either dynamically retrieve, in near real-time, the required information from a catalog of geo-registered images or direct unmanned aircraft systems and/or sensors to collect updated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information.
"When transitioned to theater, this technology will provide warfighters with a significantly greater understanding of surrounding threats," said Winship. "HART is designed to provide intelligence information in near real-time, giving warfighters at the tactical edge the ability to make decisions and react quickly."
During the exercise, the HART system software and hardware autonomously managed multiple tactical unmanned aircraft systems, including Shadow, Raven, Hunter and Bat, successfully completing the DARPA Spiral 7 primary test objective.
Since its initial demonstration in 2005, HART has been successfully integrated with a number of both operational and developmental unmanned systems. HART has also been developed to operate with larger unmanned aircraft including Global Hawk, Predator and Fire Scout. Regardless of the platform, HART requires no modification to either the ground station or the aircraft itself and is an example of how the company focuses on the rapid development, testing and fielding of enhanced capabilities to quickly benefit the warfighter.
Source: Northrop Grumman
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