[Avionics Today April 23, 2014] Lockheed Martin's announced progress with its Kestrel flight control systems and mobile Ground Control Station (mGCS) software, designed to increase the automation capabilities of its Group 1 family of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The Desert Hawk III, a small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) made by Lockheed, demonstrated increased automation during flight tests early this year. According to Lockheed, the Desert Hawk was able to respond to a new and sophisticated set of operator warnings, cautions and advisories.
During the flight test, Lockheed's engineers were also able to evaluate software upgrades made to its MGCS.
The MGCS was developed with open system architecture and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) technology interoperable with a variety of portable computers, hand controllers, autopilots, data links and sensors, according to Lockheed. A software development kit developed for the ground station allows other UAS manufacturers to add systems and other capabilities as well.
"The mGCS is a derivative of our proven VCS-4586 software that focuses on providing capabilities to the small unit level," said Kevin Westfall, director of unmanned solutions at Lockheed Martin
's Mission Systems and Training business. "mGCS is a single, portable system capable of conducting missions that would typically require multiple controllers and federated software applications in order to manage the many different types of UAS."