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UK holds landmark MUM-T flight

22nd July 2020 - 00:01 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


QinetiQ has completed the UK’s first manned/unmanned aircraft team (MUM-T) demonstration, featuring a manned H125 helicopter and semi-autonomous UAV.

The event took place on 19 June over Salisbury Plain.

The two aircraft worked together ‘to identify potential targets in a designated area’, according to a statement from QinetiQ. 

An operator on board the helicopter switched between monitoring the images sent back by the UAV’s cameras and allowing it to operate independently. The operator was only alerted when a decision was required.

The MUM-T project is funded by Army HQ Research and Experimentation using the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition framework.

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will demonstrate the manned/unmanned team to the British Army in September during Army Warfighting Experiment 2019 (AWE19).

While other countries have demonstrated manned/unmanned teams, QinetiQ claims the UK MUM-T flight is notable for three reasons.

First,  the entire process was controlled through a point and click interface on a portable tablet on board a standard H125. ‘This indicates that very little modification is required to a host aircraft to make an airborne manned/unmanned team work effectively,’ QinetiQ argued.

Second, QinetiQ’s demonstration used equipment and machines that were not designed specifically to work with each other, showing a more open and technology agnostic approach to MUM-T is possible.

Third, the demonstration involved the successful passing of control between different human operators. ‘Not only does this ensure an unmanned drone can always be controlled by the person best placed to make decisions, [but] it also paves the way for a more collaborative approach to using defence assets,’ QinetiQ stated.

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The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

As part of our promise to deliver comprehensive coverage to Premium News and Defence Insight …

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