AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has completed the U.S. Army's 2011 Manned Unmanned System Integration Capability (MUSIC) exercise. Held on September 16 at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, the MUSIC exercise demonstrated innovation, integration and interoperability across the Army's manned and unmanned assets through handoff and command and control sequences between multiple ground control systems. Several AAI UAS products played key roles during the event.
The AAI UAS Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) served as the centerpiece of the exercise, providing command and control of AAI's Shadow(r) Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS), as well as General Atomics' Gray Eagle(r) and Northrop Grumman's Hunter UAS. Making UAS history, a single UGCS seamlessly handed off control of each UAS from one ground control station to another, demonstrating for the first time revolutionary improvements in battlefield communication and information sharing. The UGCS is NATO Standardization Agreement 4586 compliant and incorporates an all-digital Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) for data transmission, increased bandwidth and data security.
The AAI UAS One System(r) Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) enhanced with bi-directional capability was utilized during several scenarios, demonstrating how dismounted troops can view and control live, full-motion video and receive position information from Army UAS including the Shadow TUAS, Gray Eagle, Hunter and AeroVironment's Raven(r) and Puma unmanned aircraft.
The OSRVT also was central to the Army's demonstration of UAS/helicopter manned/unmanned teaming. AAI UAS is part of the team that created the One System architecture-based cockpit solution that enabled Bell Helicopter's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and Boeing's AH-64 Apache(r) helicopter crew members to view and retransmit UAS video and data while in flight. AAI UAS' commercially available version of this product is called the Tactical Sensor Intelligence Sharing, or Tac-SIS(TM), System.
The Shadow TUAS has amassed nearly 700,000 total flight hours in service with customers including the Army. The multi-mission-capable system serves as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, and also performs communications relay and laser designation missions for Gray Eagle and other weaponized UAS. In addition, the MUSIC exercise is the most recent venue to demonstrate the benefits of the Shadow's TCDL capabilities.
"AAI UAS has been the Army's provider of choice for ground control and remote video terminal technologies for more than a decade," says Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid. "During that time, we've worked closely alongside our customer to promote interoperability among its mission-critical systems. The MUSIC exercise was the fulfillment of that vision. Bringing it to life took ingenuity, dedication and incredibly productive collaboration between the Army and industry members. Working together, we demonstrated the best of today's technology and an exciting preview of what's to come."
Dozens of AAI UAS flight crew members, maintainers and engineers supported the Army before and during the MUSIC exercise, fine-tuning system integration and operating systems throughout the demonstration scenarios.
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