UTAP-22 in further testing
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has successfully conducted the third flight demonstration of its Unmanned Tactical Aerial Platform (UTAP-22) on the US Navy test range at China Lake, California, the company announced on 21 December.
The demonstration saw two UTAP-22 aircraft fly in formation in a collaborative operation using a tactical datalink. A number of modes were undertaken including flying with a third simulated UTAP as the lead aircraft, flying in lead-follow autonomous/semi-autonomous mode, lead-follow in manual/autonomous mode, and multiple autonomous joins from several pre-join scenarios.
The UTAP-22 also undertook coordinated semi-autonomous payload deployment, breaking formation to perform independently with a subsequent rejoin. Another scenario saw one UTAP flown as if manned and the second UTAP-22 joining and sustaining autonomous formation.
Throughout the mission the multiple UTAP-22 were controlled by a single operator.
The UTAP-22 is designed as a highly survivable aircraft for tactical missions and tactical payload operations/delivery.
According to the company, the results from this demonstration flight series ‘validated the concept and technical readiness of Kratos' tactical UAVs with fighter like performance operating collaboratively with each other and collaboratively with manned’.
Jerry Beaman, president, Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said: ‘The successful demonstration series is an unprecedented accomplishment and an important step towards our entry in the tactical unmanned aerial systems market. Manned/unmanned teaming of tactical aircraft with a UAV capable of tactical speeds and manoeuvrability will provide the warfighter with an inexpensive force multiplier and unmanned wingman; an unprecedented capability.’
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