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Thu, Jun 18, 2009

'KillerBees' Get Ground Control Upgrade

System Allows One Station To Control Multiple UAS's

Raytheon Company has tested a proven, open-software architecture unmanned ground system that enables one ground station to control multiple KillerBee Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

"We have taken a ground system, which is a variant of the U.S. Navy's Tactical Control System, and adapted it to a Linux operating system to make it hardware independent and fully scalable," said Mark Bigham, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems business development director. "Our Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS) ground station solution is aligned with the Office of the Secretary of Defense's path for a common ground system capability, reducing training costs and controlling multiple air vehicles."

In a recent demonstration, Raytheon controlled the KillerBee aircraft while simultaneously providing a manned, anti-tank guided weapon target information from the aircraft. This significantly shortens the kill chain by leveraging the bird's-eye view from the KillerBee to pass target-marking information to the shooter on the ground, such as a soldier equipped with a Javelin anti-tank guided weapon. Cross-cueing provides the soldier a machine-to-machine data transfer to mark the direction to a potential target for possible use in a busy urban terrain.

The Raytheon team has developed and tested a number of new capabilities, including adapting full control of three electro-optical infrared laser sensors, full control of all phases of flight, including landing and takeoff, plus several other significant new features, applications and integrations. System features include running the flight system on a laptop control and the ability to run the hardware on a platform-agnostic Linux-based operating system. 

"The ground system can be flown using either a joystick or a game pad controller used by many gaming enthusiasts today," Bigham added. "Furthermore, it provides the Navy and Marine Corps with the first open Universal Control System, capable of flying KillerBee, MQ-8 Fire Scout and other UASs simultaneously."

The TCS variant ground system will be compatible with the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Operations Center, as well as being common to both a shipboard- and land-based systems.

KillerBee is designed to provide the Navy and Marine Corps with a UAS for their respective STUAS and Tier II missions, which require UAS launch and recovery aboard a ship.

FMI: www.raytheon.com

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