11.6.2020

Control over a UAS from a C-130J

Cooperating to launch fresh ideas – link

Source: Australian DoD News

Article Headlines

  • A first-of-its kind trial to remotely pilot a small UAS from the back of a C-130J Hercules has taken air-land integration to new heights
  • The collaboration between Plan Jericho, No. 3 Security Forces Squadron (3SECFOR), No. 37 Squadron (37SQN) and Army has the potential to open up a range of capability options for the joint force
  • The recent trial at RAAF Edinburgh tested the viability of operating a UAS via the aircraft’s onboard Satellite Communications (SATCOM) link, opening up future potential to operate UAS or other networked capabilities from anywhere in the world and vice versa, demonstrating an ability to upload live imagery from offboard sensor systems
  • Squadron Leader Peter Cunningham highlighted that “this trial is the first time that airborne control UAS has been attempted from a C-130J Hercules. We used our wide-band satellite communication systems to provide a link to the UAS controller on the C-130J beyond the line of sight, and received video from the UAS throughout the flight”
  • During the airborne operation, the team were also able to capture overarching video of the trial, using the Litening sensor pod, which was recently been mounted on a pylon underneath the wing of the C130J demonstrator.
  • This proof of concept further extends the connected sensor network, showing the potential to share greater amounts of information and improving decision making in the air and on the ground

Overview & Comments

  • With this sort of technology, a manned platform can see much further ahead from a distance with regards to its area of interest, whether targets or a landing zone, while receiving a comprehensive understanding of the ground in front of it through a streamlined information feed
  • In the US manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) between AH-64s with Shadow & Grey Eagle UAS is a proven concept of operations
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