Sky Warrior UAS Completes First Successful Automatic Takeoffs and Landings From ER/MP One System Ground Control Station
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and tactical reconnaissance radars, along with its “Team Sky Warrior” partners AAI Corporation and L-3 Communication Systems-West, today announced the successful first-attempted automatic takeoffs and landings of a Sky Warrior UAS controlled from the AAI-developed Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS). Three automatic landings were successfully executed at GA-ASI’s El Mirage Flight Operations Center in Adelanto, Calif., on August 29, followed by three successful automatic takeoffs on September 26.
GA-ASI’s Sky Warrior aircraft was under full line-of-sight command and control through the L-3 Communication Systems-West Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). Automatic takeoff and landing utilizing TCDL represents a significant technical advancement in ER/MP UAS Program development and an important step in the maturation of diverse technologies prior to fielding the system, which is expected in July 2009.
“Control of Sky Warrior from the ER/MP One System GCS marks another successful milestone in the fielding of the aircraft system and in meeting the Army’s requirement for increased autonomous operation,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “GA-ASI’s prior ATLS [automatic takeoff and landing system] testing on our own Predator aircraft and GCS paved the way for these first successful takeoffs and landings using the OSGCS and TCDL.”
In related news, the Team Sky Warrior partners also announced the first successful flight of Sky Warrior from the OSGCS via over-the-horizon Ku-Band satellite communications (SATCOM). The flight was completed on July 24 at El Mirage and is a major move forward in providing the Army with multiple data link options.
Team Sky Warrior continues to make progress towards successful implementation of the Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of a multi-year contract for the ER/MP UAS Program, which calls for 17 Sky Warrior aircraft and seven OSGCS. The total program, including potential follow-on production, is estimated to be worth over $2 billion. Team member contributions to the program are as follows: GA-ASI, Sky Warrior UAS; AAI Corporation, OSGCS; L-3 Communication Systems-West, TCDL and SATCOM communications; and SPARTA, Inc., logistics support services.
High-resolution photos of the Sky Warrior Block aircraft and OSGCS are available from the GA-ASI media contact listed below.
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