Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Northrop Grumman Demonstrates UAV Control System
Northrop Grumman demonstrated an autonomous control system, which it described as a low-cost way to manage U.S. Army reconnaissance aircraft and deliver real-time information about enemy positions to troops on the ground. The Heterogeneous Unmanned Reconnaissance Team — known as the HURT system — can control combinations of manned and unmanned aircraft already in the service inventory to send essential tactical data in real time to soldiers equipped with handheld computers. The latest exercise — the third demonstration of the HURT system — was conducted in April at Fort Hunter Liggett, an Army training installation near King City, Calif. The exercise showed HURT's ability to simultaneously control three "tiers" of reconnaissance aircraft. Aircraft in Tier I flew as high as 6,000 feet and scanned areas as far away as 100 miles from the combat area; those in Tier II flew at 2,000 feet and covered areas about 50 miles away; those in Tier III flew as low as 100 feet over the immediate combat zone. Using a software interface, HURT links a variety of different aerial platforms to build a unified picture of the combat area. Aircraft used in the demonstration were a manned C-12 aircraft in Tier I; ScanEagle and Hunter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Tier II, and Pointer, Raven and Wasp UAVs in Tier III.