Unmanned Vehicles

Autonomously-controlled Growlers fly at Patuxent River

5th February 2020 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Autonomously-controlled EA-18G Growlers have been flown at Naval Air Station Patuxent River by Boeing and the US Navy.

The flights, conducted during the Navy Warfare Development Command’s annual fleet experiment (FLEX) exercises, saw the two EA-18G Growlers operated as UAS, with a third Growler operating as a mission controller for the other two. Over the course of four flights, 21 demonstration missions were completed.

According to Boeing, the testing proved the effectiveness of technology designed to allow F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft to perform combat missions with unmanned systems, enabling the navy to extend the reach of sensors while keeping manned aircraft out of harm’s way.

Tom Brandt, Boeing Manned-UnManned Teaming demonstration lead, said: ‘This demonstration allows Boeing and the navy the opportunity to analyse the data collected and decide where to make investments in future technologies. It could provide synergy with other US Navy unmanned systems in development across the spectrum and in other services.

‘It’s a force multiplier that enables a single aircrew to control multiple aircraft without greatly increasing workload. It has the potential to increase survivability as well as situational awareness.’

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