Lockheed, USAF demo manned/unmanned teaming
Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), US Air Force (USAF) Test Pilot School and Calspan Corporation have carried out a successful manned/unmanned teaming exercise as part of work to enhance combat efficiency and effectiveness.
During the Have Raider II demonstration, an experimental F-16 aircraft was deployed as a surrogate unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) to automatically react to a dynamic threat environment during an air-to-ground strike mission.
The three key objectives for the demonstration were the ability to automatically plan and execute air-to-ground strike missions based on mission priorities and available assets; the ability to react to a changing threat environment during an air-to-ground strike mission while automatically managing contingencies for capability failures, route deviations, and loss of communications; and use of a fully compliant USAF open mission systems software integration environment, allowing for rapid integration of software components developed by multiple providers.
The two-week demonstration at the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, was the second in a series of manned/unmanned teaming exercises designed to evaluate enabling technologies.
The first demonstration, Have Raider I, emphasised advanced vehicle control. During this demonstration, the F-16 autonomously flew in formation with a lead aircraft and conducted a ground-attack mission. The F-16 then automatically re-joined the lead aircraft once the mission was over. These capabilities were linked with Lockheed Martin's automatic collision avoidance systems to ensure safe, coordinated teaming between the F-16 and surrogate UCAV.
Manned/unmanned teaming is being investigated as a means of reducing cognitive workloads and allowing the warfighter to focus on creative and complex planning and management. Autonomous systems also have the ability to access hazardous mission environments, react more quickly, and provide persistent capabilities without fatigue.
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
Royal Navy selects Animal Dynamics parafoil UAV for second phase of Heavy Lift challenge
With a payload capacity of 135kg, the Stork STM can fly up to 400km using a parafoil wing to generate lift.
IDEX 2023: Autel Robotics showcases DJI challenger drone
Autel Robotics presented its Dragonfish series and EVO Max 4T at IDEX 2023, hoping to challenge DJI's market dominance with the latter.
BAE and Innovaero debut Strix, Australia’s first domestic armed VTOL UAS
At the Avalon Airshow, BAE Systems Australia debuted Australia’s first domestically designed, built and armed VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) uncrewed air system (UAS), the Strix.
Enhanced autopilots pave way to autonomy for US multi-engine jets
The USAF has commissioned a year-long autonomy study by Reliable Robotics for large jet aircraft.
IDEX 2023: Black Eagle UAV gets miniature airborne radar
Integrating the radar into the Steadicopter UAS allows the rotorcraft to spot potential maritime threats.